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Staten Island woman finds wedding dress she feared lost after Sandy

It’s not a simple case of unearthing something at home you thought you’d misplaced. In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, a bevy of personal stories emerged from people who had quite literally weathered the storm and rebuilt their homes, businesses, and lives afterwards. Nearly two years later, one woman from Staten Island found a very personal item she thought had been lost forever.

Nicole Pagliaro married her husband Michael in July 2012. For the ceremony she wore her aunt’s heirloom gown but changed into a second dress for the reception, which she later took to a local dry cleaner to have cleaned and boxed after the wedding. Enter Sandy.

After the storm, the dry cleaning shop owned by Hector Pacheco was completely flooded, leaving Pagliaro’s dress as the only undamaged item since it had been put in a secure box by then. Pagliaro was not able to get the dress back at the time, however, since "there was no sign, no phone number" indicating that the shop would reopen. Pacheco, on the other hand, wasn't able to track down Pagliaro since his records were destroyed.

Fast forward to about two weeks ago, when Michael Pagliaro was driving his wife to a train stop early one morning. Turns out Pacheco had reopened the shop at a new location in February of this year and displayed the wedding dress in the front window, prompting Nicole to instantly recognize it as hers. She stopped by the shop the next day and told an employee the dress was hers, adding that she even still had the original claim ticket.

"He remembered me and gave me a big hug," Pagliaro said about being reunited with Pacheco to get her dress back yesterday.

Ever since SILive.com wrote about Pagliaro’s story on Tuesday morning, media attention from as far away as Britain has come flooding in for the family, who will be featured on more than one local newscast tonight. What’s more, Tuesday happens to be the couple’s second wedding anniversary.

Mrs. Pagliaro said she wants her daughter Mia Grace, whom she was pregnant with when she first took the dress to the cleaner, to wear it at her own wedding someday.