Before Superstorm Sandy, A 1998 Warning about Building on Long Island's Fragile Coastline
Back in 1998, this five-part Newsday series warned about the perils of massive building along the Hamptons and Fire Island shorelines - Long Island's fragile environmental jewel. It showed how some owners made millions by speculating on coastline properties. Some were under water but recovered through taxpayer-subsidized sand projects. Then new houses went up again.
The series appeared during the '98 summer and was essentially ignored. (Although New Yorker editor David Remnick left a message saying how much he liked it).
When Superstorm Sandy came along in 2012, the warnings were realized. Some 100,000 Long Island homes were damaged or destroyed. The before and after photos of Fire Island are remarkable.
Not every series has an immediate impact. But I was glad that we did series before the disaster struck -- a real public service. Here's the summary of the series that appeared in the IRE Journal: