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Superstorm Sandy swamps Jones Beach

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By MICHAEL GORMLEY | AP

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -- The historic beach at New York's Jones Beach State Park was deep under roiling sea water and squeezed on two sides by the Atlantic Ocean on Wednesday as superstorm Sandy threatened it for millions of vacationers.

The administration of Gov. Andrew Cuomo released an aerial view of the state park, which has been blocked from street traffic for days. The image was posted to Twitter by state Director of Operations Howard Glaser with the note: "There is no beach left at Jones Beach."

The landmark Long Island attraction was opened in 1929 by then-Gov. Franklin Roosevelt just months after the Wall Street crash that led to the Great Depression. The playground of sand and surf, in Wantagh, covers more than 2,400 acres.

Cuomo on Wednesday took top officials on an aerial tour of Long Island, New York City and Westchester County. The tour revealed for the first time the extent of damage from the superstorm, which struck the area Monday and killed more than 30 people in New York state and more than 60 in the United States overall.

There was severe erosion and damage along the 2-mile-long boardwalk at Jones Beach, a state Department of Parks and Recreation spokesman said.

"Words like devastated, catastrophic come to mind," said George Gorman, deputy regional director of state parks on Long Island.

He said the entire beachfront at Robert Moses State Park in Babylon, about 15 miles east of Jones Beach, also has eroded to the point that it was washed out. A lifeguard shack was gone, and others were damaged. A boardwalk was destroyed.

Two driving lanes around the water tower in Robert Moses park were washed out, Gorman said.

"They fell into the Atlantic," he said. "They're right there at the bottom."

He reported severe erosion at Montauk area park beachfronts and on Ocean Parkway, which leads to Jones Beach.

"I've been with state parks for more than 30 years," Gorman said. "This is the most damage I've ever seen."

Associated Press writer Frank Eltman contributed to this report from Farmingdale.

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