In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, I revisit this photo essay with tremendous sadness, but also great hope. I took these photos in late August 2012, and I treasure them more now than ever. As a dedicated beach-goer and beginner surfer, I have held a deep love for NY’s beaches since I moved here six years ago.

I headed out to Fort Tilden Beach in Queens on August 27th 2012, as an intense thunderstorm was headed in from New Jersey. As the ominous clouds rolled in over my head, I could not stop shooting. I stood in my usual “spot” at Post 4, where my friends and I normally sun bathe and swim. I felt humbled by the enormity of Mother Nature cracking thunder over my head, and thrilled to be capturing photos of my beloved beach empty of its usual sun-bathers. These photos are the first set of a quarterly series, Post 4 in Four Seasons, I am working on for the next 10 months. I will shoot from the same location on that beach, each season, using Black & White film, until August 2013.  My next visits to this particular spot will take place November 2012, February 2013,  and May 2013.

In the aftermath of Sandy, which hit Manhattan October 29th 2012, many of NYC’s communities were crippled by its ferocious waves, winds and rains, particularly on the coastlines. I feel a strong level of attachment to these beaches, and I volunteered at a donation center on Beach 95 in the Rockaways. I was extremely saddened for the level of destruction and heartache of the Islip’s residents before me. Homes destroyed, many people still without power, electricity and much of their material goods washed away, and the entire boardwalk has been ripped away. My small contribution felt minuscule in light of what lies ahead. But in the midst of the destruction and missing boardwalk, I have no doubt that the Rockaway Beach communities, from all walks of life, will rebuild this beautiful coast line and their homes. I hope to continue to contribute what I can to these efforts.

This is one small token of my love and appreciation for the beaches that have been a second home to me these past few years.

For donations to the Rockaway Communities, please visit: http://rockawayhelp.com

For more photos, please visit: www.ericareadeimages.com

ERICA READE is NYC based photographer.  She has shown her work at Skinny Bar, The Division of Human Works Gallery, Bushwick Open Studios, Art Bar, Tea Lounge Cafe, Panda Bar, Frontrunner Gallery, Sacred Gallery and Klughaus Gallery.