Pequot Ave. in New London takes a beating

A sailboat came loose off its mooring during Hurricane Sandy and drifted into a dock behind the Harbor Club condominiums on Pequot Avenue.
A sailboat came loose off its mooring during Hurricane Sandy and drifted into a dock behind the Harbor Club condominiums on Pequot Avenue. Julianne Hanckel/The Day

As soon as the sun started to rise, curious onlookers and neighbors came out to see a sandy Pequot Avenue in New London.

Kevin O'Reilly said he stayed at his Parkway South house on Sunday, but he did evacuate and stay at his brother's house in Waterford.

"We were here for Hurricane Gloria, and I don't remember all of this debris washing up on Pequot Avenue," said O'Reilly.

Pequot Avenue was riddled with wood debris, pilings, floatation devices and sand that extended for hundreds of feet into side streets.

When a neighbor pointed out to O'Reilly that Osprey Beach was gone, O'Reilly's mouth opened aghast.

"Oh, my God," he said. "I didn't know that it was gone. The pavilion is gone."

O'Reilly said his house was not damaged and he still had power. He also noted that a fence that separated Guthrie and Pequot beach was gone.

City Councilor Adam Sprecace said the one-mile stretch of Pequot Avenue from Neptune Court to Glennwood Avenue appears to have sustained the worst damage in the city. Along that section are several private beaches with clubhouses.

"Pequot Beach has lost about two feet of sand," Sprecace said, as a bulldozer loaded with pieces of the former Osprey Beach clubhouse passed by on Pequot Avenue. "There are rocks exposed there that you never see."

As he removed plywood from the windows of his home Tuesday morning, Bruce Cummings, president of Lawrence & Memorial Hospital, remarked that he found the randomness of the damage remarkable.

"Apart from our lawn being host to a lot of debris, we didn't even lose power," he said, surveying the impassible street in front of his house, a vast dumping ground for sand and what was left of beachhouses that once dotted Pequot Avenue.

Peggy Schepp, who lives on Lower Boulevard, said she stayed at her home during the storm.

"The winds were rattling the house," said Schepp. "There was such a draft, but you know what my basement usually floods and this time it didn't. Not a drop of water."

Schepp said it's sad to see how much damage the storm had done to the local beaches.

"It's just hard to believe," said Schepp.

A three-car garage at a mansion at 836 Pequot Ave. was damaged. A wrought iron fence, which has the name of home Villa El Casino, was damaged. Garden statutes were destroyed and lawn furniture was overturned.

Vehicles inside the garage appeared to have sustained some water damage.

Homeowner Ed Young said the storm surge went through a breakaway wall, letting water into the garage. He said the water did not damage the rest of the home.

"It will be OK," said Young.

Residents survey the debris scattered on Pequot Ave. in New London Tuesday morning in the area of Guthrie Beach after storm surge smashed beach houses in the area Monday night.
Residents survey the debris scattered on Pequot Ave. in New London Tuesday morning in the area of Guthrie Beach after storm surge smashed beach houses in the area Monday night. Sean D. Elliot/The Day
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