Though he has both homeowner's insurance and a flood-insurance policy, McCarty said neither will cover the $20,000 he lost in personal possessions. The foundation of his home may have also been damaged by the chest-high floodwater, he said, and that means the home will likely be demolished.
McCarty's hoping to fill his empty, raw space one last time Nov. 30 with "Ground Zero: a unique Sandy experience/benefit." It's more of a party than a benefit, he insists, a night to laugh with family and friends, or anyone else who wants to see Sandy damage but was too polite to gawk.
"I'll probably make enough money to pay for the beer," he said with a laugh.
McCarty, like most Brigantine residents, rode out the storm in his home, taking photographs of the interesting and surreal along the way. He posted a photo of a shark swimming in his neighbor's driveway on Facebook, and it went viral almost immediately, popping up on websites all over the world. The photo's had nearly 10,000 shares on Facebook, and McCarty still won't say if the photo's real or a skillfully doctored.
"It's only a little sand shark," he said.
When the water finally swept into his home during the worst high tide on Oct. 29, McCarty said it resembled a horror movie.
"I really thought I was safe," he said. "I never thought it would get that high."
Sandy caused extensive damage to Brigantine's north end, where McCarty lives. Boats were scattered all over the neighborhood, and hundreds of homes, like McCarty's, were filled with mud, sand and sea grass. Two days after President Obama and Gov. Chris Christie visited Brigantine together, a 73-year-old man who lived on McCarty's street was found unconscious in his home and later died of hypothermia.
Once his home flooded, McCarty said he donned a wetsuit, slung his Weimaraner, Mu, over his shoulders and waded through the water with a few belongings to a friend's house. He's now splitting time between a recreational vehicle in his driveway and a nearby friend's futon and still works at his marketing job in Atlantic City. His dog is living with his brother, and his SUV is ruined.
"I'm just thankful I'm alive and in good spirits and that my family's OK," he said, surveying the damage in his living room. "I'm hoping we can all just have a good time and laugh about it."
For more information, visit McCarty's Facebook page at facebook.com/kevinpmccarty.