Heavy machinery has begun tearing into Sandy-damaged homes in the Jersey shore town that was hit hardest by Sandy.
All of Mantoloking's 528 homes were either damaged or destroyed by the storm, which cut a new channel from the ocean to the Barnegat Bay. Officials say 53 must be demolished.
The teardowns that began Monday mark an important milestone in Mantoloking's recovery, borough spokesman Chris Nelson said.
"We have 50 homes that will be coming down in the next 45 days," he said. "We hope that will provide a sense of closure for a lot of families, as well as a chance for them to move forward with recovery."
Mantoloking officials have said that once many of the storm-wrecked homes are torn down and the remains carted away, residents might feel less stressed and more hopeful about the borough's future.
Ten building permits have already been issued for new homes, which is more than have been built in the the last three years, officials said.
The borough will be one of the Jersey shore spots that Prince Harry will visit this week during his tour of America. He is scheduled to take a brief walking tour of Barnegat Lane, the street that runs along the borough's bay front, where many storm-wrecked homes remain.