When Hurricane Sandy hit, Nicole Pagliaro’s wedding dress was at a dry cleaners in the South Beach area of Staten Island. She was married in the summer of 2012, and just before the storm, she’d dropped the dress off to be cleaned and boxed. The neighborhood was ravaged by Sandy, and when Nicole’s husband Michael checked out the damage to the area, he saw that the cleaners had been flooded and closed. There was no phone number or sign on the store, and it was easy to assume that all the clothes inside had been destroyed. What the couple didn’t know was that Nicole’s dress was actually the one thing that did survive the five feet of water that overtook the building — it was secure in a box and floating on top of the floodwater.
The dry cleaner’s owner didn’t open a new shop until February of this year, in a different area that the Pagliaros rarely pass through. Two weeks ago, Michael was driving Nicole to a subway stop when she happened to spot her dress in the window of the new establishment. As crazy as it seemed at the time, she just knew the dress was hers. Nicole still had the dry cleaning ticket from when she dropped off the dress nearly two years ago, and when she went into the store and saw the owner, he recognized her from all those months ago. He greeted her with a hug and returned the dress that she was once sure she’d never see again. Nicole told “Staten Island Live,” “I want my daughter to wear the dress at her wedding.” Her husband said that finding the dress “is another symbol of our relationship surviving everything.” It’s so refreshing to hear a sweet story come out of all the horrors of Sandy. [Image via Staten Island Live]