Sandy damages pier in downtown Ocean City

OCEAN CITY — Hurricane Sandy did significant damage to a fishing pier in Ocean City, with heavy surf pounding at the pilings and ripping away part of a longtime structure familiar to residents and visitors.

Boardwalk PierGov. Martin O’Malley said Monday that the pier was “half-gone” as a result of the storm.

The pier was for years frequented by fishermen in town but also attracted visitors who’d stray from the boardwalk to take advantage of the views and close ocean access.

“You and your family, or your significant other, you’d walk out and you’d get to see the oceanfront — the coastal vista, the lights, the laughter and all that,” said former Ocean City Mayor Jim Mathias, who is now a state senator. As a child, he said he and his family would camp out beneath the pier during visits to get shelter from the hot sun.

“Probably 99.99 percent, if not 100 percent of the people that have ever come to Ocean City, have made it to the pier,” he said.

The pier, which extends from the southern end of the Boardwalk, is located in an area that had been under a mandatory evacuation order. It a bait and tackle shop on it. After that point, about 100 to 150 feet of the pier is gone.

“It’s pretty sad. We’ve had hurricanes or tropical storms before. I always that it would withstand everything,” said Tracy Lind, a front desk worker at the nearby Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites.

The boardwalk itself, well-known for rides and games, was deserted Monday as rain fell and waves crashed on the beach. Shops that normally sell hot dogs and lemonade, T-shirts and souveniers were closed. An amusement park at the end of the boardwalk was locked.

The only thing moving was the Ferris wheel, which had been stripped of its cars and was slowly turning in the wind. Other rides were motionless, including one called the “Crazy Dance” and another called the “Hurricane.”

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