Hundreds of people turned out to watch Long Island's Long Beach formally launch the reconstruction of its 2-mile-long boardwalk.
The groundbreaking Saturday under sunny skies was marked by optimistic speeches from officials, including Sen. Charles Schumer, who promised a sturdier boardwalk with better wood and the latest construction methods.
"This boardwalk is a symbol, it's a symbol of Long Beach, it's a symbol of Long Island, it's a symbol of New York," Schumer said. "Nature can throw whatever they want at us, the next boardwalk is gonna resist it."
In October, Hurricane Sandy drenched Long Beach, drowning cars, flooding homes and contaminating its water for days. The boardwalk -- one of the longest and widest in the Northeast -- was so badly damaged that chunks of it floated blocks away.
The reconstruction is supposed to take until November, though officials hope some parts will be finished sooner.