Written by Dave Gil de Rubio Wednesday, 07 November 2012 00:00
Much like many other areas of Long Island, the Village of Garden City had more than its share of work to do in wrestling with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. According to the LIPA website, as of Monday, Nov. 5, 2,286 Garden City residents and 292 Stewart Manor denizens were without power. As of Monday, Nov. 5, LIPA informed the Village of Garden City that the entire village was to have had power restored no later then by the end of the day on Wednesday, Nov. 7. In the meantime, added police patrols were to have been assigned village wide.
The Garden Parks and Recreation Department, which is responsible for maintaining all foliage-related issues found in the village’s common areas has had its hands full given the fact that more than 54 trees have fallen on houses and side streets. The large amount of power lines knocked down resulted in the issuing of a Nassau County public safety announcement that states, “Area conditions remain extremely dangerous. Do not touch downed wires. Do not touch trees entangled in wires. Traffic lights are not working. Travel is hazardous and not recommended.”
It was a message reiterated by the Garden City Police Department, which asked all residents to stay in their home and only drive when they had to. Predictably, the Garden City Fire Department (GCFD) had plenty to deal with. According to its blotter, the GCFD responded to 81 calls from 1:18 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 29 through 6:21 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 2.
The lack of power resulted in numerous closures. As of Monday, Nov. 5, all scheduled recreational programs and Community Park Tennis Center were to have been cancelled until Wednesday, Nov. 7. Other closures included the main field house at St. Paul’s and the Sr. Center on Golf Club Lane, both of which will not reopen until further notice. Garden City public schools, the Waldorf School and St. Joseph School were all not open on Monday, Nov. 5. The Garden City School District (GCSD) cited unsafe conditions at certain bus stops and along certain bus routes. The GCSD was to have welcomed students back on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 5. In addition, teacher conferences for those days were also to have been cancelled.
Certain aspects of the village had gotten back on track relatively quickly with recycling and sanitation collection returning to a normal schedule as of Thursday, Nov. 1. A normal collection schedule was also to have been enforced on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6. Residents were asked to bring household waste to the curb as a means of assisting the collection process. The village also requested that anyone with private landscapers should please have them remove any debris from the yards they’ve worked on as a means of greatly facilitating the cleanup process. The Garden City Public Library is also running on adjusted hours, opening its doors from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Saturday, Nov. 10 and also being available to residents from 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 11.
One of the few areas of the village that was not adversely affected by Hurricane Sandy was Seventh Street and the string of merchants that line that thoroughfare.
“The merchants have collectively weathered the storm and have been supplying all the needed supplies to the local consumers,” explained John Wilton, chairman of the Garden City Merchant Professional Retailers Group. “There really… was no hardship for them except that the bottom line is that they have had to bring in excessive amounts of supplies because people needed things like batteries and ice because Garden City has been hard hit with an electrical failure. All the residents are aware that [the merchants] are up and running and the restaurants have obviously been tremendously busy as well as the supermarkets. All the food purveyors and suppliers have had an unbelievably busy period of time. At the beginning of the week, they obviously had trouble getting stock but that’s been resolved.”
The village has been very proactive in its cleanup approach, having its contractors opening all roads to allow passage of emergency first responders and cutting up village trees that have fallen on private property. As of Monday, Nov. 5, only 30 residences remained that needed village trees removed. In addition, sanitation crews worked over the weekend to remove debris from curb lines.
All of this recovery work comes at a price according to Village Administrator Robert Schoelle.
“Labor costs will be very significant as we have hired outside contractors to work in concert with our forces,” explained Schoelle. “I am very pleased with all that has be accomplished to date. We will apply to FEMA for reimbursement of our expenses and are keeping very detailed records of the damage and recovery costs.”
Phone Number Information:
Police Emergencies: 911
Police Non-Emergencies: 516-465-4100
Fire Emergencies: 516-746-2800
Fire Non-Emergencies: 516-746-1301
To report fallen trees or branches call: 516-465-4072
Long Island Power Authority - to report a power outage call 1-800-490-0075