Tragically, Hurricane Sandy brought massive destruction to many areas of New York City (see: the Rockaways, Coney Island, Staten Island, Gerritsen Beach and Red Hook) but one hard-hit area we can't help but keep turning back to is poor Breezy Point, the tight-knit blue collar beach community on the western end of the Rockaway peninsula. From the sky and the ground, the utter devastation there—helped by a massive 6-alarm fire that burned during the hurricane—is hard to comprehend.

Gothamist reader Colin Ryan was at Breezy Point on Saturday to help family members clean up and took these pictures on his phone while he was helping. According to him the mood amongst those he spoke to was "pretty much 'we're alive, and that's good.'" The people there, which includes many a firefighter, has apparently been greatly helped by the fact that it is "an amazingly tight community and they're working together to keep rebuilding." Just walk around "and you can see how tightly threaded the fabric is there. It's great."

Still, the biggest takeaway Ryan had from his trip was "it's bad, it's going to happen again, and we need to help these people now." How bad? Just look at this panorama and you'll understand why Mayor Bloomberg compared it to Europe after World War II. You'll also understand why some residents left homeless after the storm call what is left "so sickening."