23 Aug 2014
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1938 Hurricane Survivor Says Sandy Was No Match

Long-time President Streets resident Victor Ponga compares the two storms.

1938 Hurricane Survivor Says Sandy Was No Match

Victor Ponga is among a rare breed of storm-tested Long Beach residents. 

The 88-year-old has lived in the city for 75 years and survived the famous hurricane that devastated Long Island in 1938. While last week he was outside cleaning around his home on Belmont Street, just a couple of blocks from the beach, he told Patch that Hurricane Sandy was no match for that earlier storm.

“It was nothing compared to 1938,” Ponga said about the flooding in the Presidents Streets neighborhood from Sandy. “There was no buildings then.”

Ponga referred to the row of high-rise buildings built on East Broadway and Shore Road after World War II, known to some as “the Chinese Wall,” which obstruct the force of the ocean during strong storms. Compared to many Long Beach homes, though, Sandy was lenient on his house, just ripping off some shingles on the roof and wiping out a vent.

“I didn’t get any flooding,” said Ponga, who built his home on Belmont in 1969.  

During the Oct. 29 storm, Ponga stayed home with his 81-year-old wife. Last Friday, eleven days after the storm, he said he was tempted to evacuate because his house was without power and heat and become unbearably cold. But that morning the electricity was restored. 

“The power came on at 5 a.m., and then it went out again,” he said. “Then it came back on for good at 7 a.m.”

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