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Flooded streets kept firefighters away when a blaze tore through homes in NewYork’s Rockaway area on Tuesday. Photo by: KEITH BEDFORD/REUTERS

Hurricane Sandy hit Irish neighborhoods in New York and New Jersey hardest

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Flooded streets kept firefighters away when a blaze tore through homes in NewYork’s Rockaway area on Tuesday. Photo by: KEITH BEDFORD/REUTERS

PHOTOS - Hurricane Sandy hits New York - Super storm causes destruction and flooding - slideshow

Like at 9/11, Irish Americans were hit disproportionately hard by Hurricane Sandy with three of the most Irish neighborhoods in America on the front line.

Breezy Point, the furthest point of Queens, where 111 houses burnt down and hundreds were left homeless, is the most Irish area in America.

It is heavily populated by Irish firefighters and cops and was also devastated after 9/11 when the neighborhood lost 32 of their own sons.

City Council President Christine Quinn paid tribute to the Irish firefighters and cops she met on a tour of the devastated area. “All they wanted to say was they need help with their rebuilding permit” she said, “That shows their Irish spirit and heart and determination to rebuild.”

PHOTOS - Hurricane Sandy hits New York - Super storm causes destruction and flooding - slideshow

Senator Chuck Schumer stated that the great sense of family in the Irish enclave meant that those left homeless had relatives more than ready to take them in. ”You have to understand these are very close-knit families,” he said.

Mayor Bloomberg, who toured the wreckage at Breezy Point, stated, “To describe it as looking like pictures we have seen at the end of World War II is not overstating it.”

According to the 2010 Census, Breezy Point has the highest numbers of Irish in America at 60.3 per cent.

While it is not a proper incorporated town it is actually a massive co-operative combining  three smaller areas.

In 1962, the mainly Irish American residents purchased 500 acres of land from the government at below value cost and  the community became a co-operative.

Rockaway Beach, which was the second town blitzed by Sandy, was known for decades as the “Irish Riviera” because of the numbers of Irish who vacationed there.

The 2000 census showed the population at 25.4 per cent of Irish heritage.

Meanwhile in New Jersey, also Ground Zero for Sandy, Spring Lake, one of the most Irish neighborhoods in America was badly hit.

Spring Lake has an Irish population of 40 per cent according to the 2010 Census.

PHOTOS - Hurricane Sandy hits New York - Super storm causes destruction and flooding - slideshow

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