Surviving Sandy Through Play

Residents Rally To Restore and Rebuild

Hurricane Sandy struck Seaside Park, N.J. more than one year ago, leaving an inconceivable path of destruction in its wake. Like many who experienced the wrath of Sandy, Seaside Park residents lost everything, with entire neighborhoods literally being washed away.

While it’s impossible to grasp the depth of what Seaside Park and other Sandy-affected areas are continuing to experience, one thing is obvious: residents are rallying to restore their sense of normalcy and working hard to rebuild the communities that they love.

In an effort to help get the Jersey Shore back on its feet, Anthony Melchiorri, host of Travel Channel’s “Hotel Impossible”, recently made his way to Seaside Park to aid several properties that were damaged by the superstorm. But before meeting up with the hotel owners, Melchiorri visited a closed beach where just one year ago, families had flocked for some good old-fashioned fun in the sun.

After speaking with an on-site lifeguard who frequently cleaned debris from the ocean and sand, Melchiorri learned that in addition to the person loses each resident suffered, the community as a whole lost one of the few places for neighborhood children to play. As playground manufacturers, this realization truly hit home; we understand the importance of play, and in the aftermath of such a staggering natural disaster, it’s imperative for children to have an outlet to maintain their sense of well-being, in addition to providing normalcy throughout the chaos.

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As the episode continued, we learned that the beach’s entire playground had been submerged throughout the storm. As the cameras panned from the Tripod Swings to the custom play structure, we thought, “Those look familiar”. And then we saw it—a PDPlay sign.  The playground we designed for Seaside Park had withstood wind speeds of 115 mph, incessant pummeling from flying debris, and spent days covered in saltwater. And although rust had consumed most of the swing’s chains, the remaining PDPlay structure stood unscathed.

Seeing this beacon of happier times standing along the beach, we couldn’t help but feel proud that our efforts will offer some solace to the children of Seaside Park. And although there are still thousands of children in Sandy-affected areas who’s playgrounds have been destroyed, efforts to help survivors of the storm recover through play are currently underway thanks to volunteer efforts across the country and beyond. In fact, KaBOOM! recently wrapped an 11-playground project in Long Beach, N.Y. that will serve thousands of children in the area for years to come.

Since our company’s inception, we’ve worked hard to create safe, durable play structures and recreation site furnishings that won’t delaminate, chip, or absorb water like traditional materials. We craft each structure to withstand anomalous wear-and-tear, vandalism, and varying weather conditions while taking a proactive approach to safety compliance. And although Hurricane Sandy’s fury was far from our standard safety stress test, it’s encouraging to see our assiduous efforts proving worthy.

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