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Three Years After Sandy, Returning Staten Island to Nature

Underneath the yellow patio umbrella in Lois Kelly's backyard, a lawn chair sits on the manicured grass, a cool bottle of peach iced tea nearby, providing a comfortable front row seat to the struggle between human civilization and climate change. From this garden oasis, Kelly has seen 30 years of brushfires, storms, floods, and invasive species threaten her neighborhood's existence. The Nor'easter of '92 flooded the basement and engulfed her friends' homes. The Easter Sunday fire of 2009 burned the marsh across the street to the ground. But it was Hurricane Sandy that finally caused the residents of Oakwood Beach, Staten Island, to pack up and leave. "I had 16 and a half feet of water," said Kelly, looking out to the expansive wetlands ten feet from her driveway. "Sandy was just like the straw that broke the camel's back, forever."

The full photo essay at Curbed New York >>