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Jones Beach State Park Closed Until Further Notice; Boardwalk May Have To Be Replaced

ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Superstorm Sandy has substantially damaged historic Jones Beach State Park and swamped a beach at nearby Robert Moses State Park deep under roiling seawater.

Sandy wreaked substantial, widespread damage on the Jones Beach park, where the administration building remained flooded Wednesday. Many of the beach boardwalks were heaved upward, and the beach at Field 6 was eroded to the boardwalk, Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office said.

A traffic circle around the landmark tower at Robert Moses State Park was undermined, and the road collapsed. Field 5's beach was completely eroded, and the storm significantly damaged the boardwalk.

Cuomo's office on Wednesday released an aerial view of Robert Moses State Park squeezed on two sides by the Atlantic Ocean as superstorm Sandy threatened it for millions of vacationers. The park, part of a series of state parks on Long Island, has been blocked from street traffic for days.

Cuomo 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.

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

He said that the entire beachfront at Robert Moses State Park in Babylon, about 15 miles east of Jones Beach, eroded to the point that it was washed out.

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

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

A Cuomo administration official initially had mistaken the Robert Moses park beach for Jones Beach, and feared Jones Beach had eroded to the point it that would need substantial rebuilding. Jones Beach, a landmark attraction, was opened in 1929 by then-Gov. Franklin Roosevelt just months after the Wall Street crash that led to the Great Depression.

Jones Beach State Park will be closed until further notice. Gorman told 1010 WINS that the entire Jones Beach boardwalk may have to be replaced, and they are still assessing the damage.

He also added that Orient Beach -- on the eastern end of the North Fork -- is still under water, and that the roadway washed away in certain areas.

Upsetting about historical Jones Beach. Sound off with your thoughts and comments below...

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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