You may recognize the above image as one of the many iconic photos of devastation by Hurricane Sandy. (It was featured on a Newsweek cover.) But Jon Zois, who had lived in the home for the past six months, recently told NBC 4 NewYork that there's hope that the 150-year-old house, known as the Princess Cottage, might be restored.
The waterfront home (pictured below as it looked before the storm), stands in Union Beach, N.J., and overlooks Raritan Bay. Zois and his girlfriend, Meredith Schwarzber, had been living in the home, owned by Zois' father and aunt, and had evacuated the Sunday before Hurricane Sandy struck.
"I thought -- worst case scenario -- we would get a flooded basement and living room, and would have to replace some furniture and the carpets," Zois told Rumson-Fair Haven Patch. But he quickly discovered that things were much worse.
"We just were not prepared for what we saw. As we were driving through the town we saw all the destruction," said Zois. "The whole thing is just hard to believe."
Read more about the immediate aftermath on Rumson-FairHaven Patch.
Soon after they realized the scope of the damage, a friend of Zois set up a hurricane relief fund for the couple. "If there's anybody who wants to make this their cause, they're welcome to come help us out," Zois told NBC 4.
Zois said that engineers told him that the home could actually be saved. But at the moment, the price for Zois is just too high. In the meantime, Zois is living in a nearby apartment, and has a suggestion for tourists who take pictures of his now-iconic home. A neighbor put a sign in front of the home, saying "Drop the camera and help," a message that Zois stands behind.
But Zois says that he knows that, in the big scheme of things, he is lucky. He still has a job, and he survived the deadly storm. "I consider myself fortunate that at least we had somewhere to go. My house has been shown on TV and all around the media because it's such an iconic photo. But there are so many people's stories who are not going to be told, who lost everything," he said.
He told NBC 4 that if people didn't want to donate to him, they should still consider charities like the Red Cross that are helping the thousands of others who became homeless after the storm.