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City Hopes Staten Island's 'Beach Fest' Can Make Beaches a Summer Destination

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TWC News: City Hopes Staten Island's 'Beach Fest' Can Make Beaches a Summer Destination
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Following the long-term Hurricane Sandy recovery, Staten Island is encouraging residents to get out and hit the beach through Staten Island Beach Fest. NY1's Bree Driscoll filed the following report.

Fahmi Khwaire owns the the Amazing Deli right across from Midland Beach on Staten Island. He said his business has dropped by 50 percent since Hurricane Sandy.

"The whole neighborhood is changing," Khwaire said. "There's nobody around. A lot of people just without no house right now. A lot people are still waiting for the buyout."

The city's Economic Development Corporation is hoping to change that by holding a series of family-friendly events this summer called Staten Island Beach Fest.

"Music, food," said Sarah Berman, president of The Berman Group. "We've got next weekend, Zumba, fitness, exercise, yoga."

One of Saturday's events was a sand sculpture. Sculptor Matt Long has traveled the world for his art, but he said working in his hometown has special meaning.

"When Sandy came, this place was just underwater. It was very sad. It was a hard thing to recover from. It strikes me as amazing that we're still trying to recover from it," Long said. "Sp whatever little bit I can add to the interest, generating a little activity and stuff down here, is fabulous."

The goal is to bring more people to Staten Island's beaches.

"What it means is the continued resiliency building of this community," said Kate Blumm of the New York City Economic Development Corporation. "Meaning that we're promoting local businesses, we're attracting new investment to the area and really trying to put these communities on the map in a way they were not before."

It's something Khwaire is hopeful happens sooner rather than later

"Some people doesn't know because they think it is the damages," Khwaire said. "They think there's nobody around. There's a couple of people around, and we're still here."

Staten Island Beach Fest events are being held now through Labor Day. For a full list, visit statenislandbeachfest.com.

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