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Letter: Hurricane Acknowledgments

In the wake of one of the most devastating incidents in Long Island’s history, I wanted to pay tribute to some of the local businesses and institutions that helped make two weeks without electricity more bearable.

Jericho Public Library: Reopened its doors literally hours after getting power restored, and offered plug-ins, WiFi, TV, coffee and cookies to the community. Remember to vote an enthusiastic “yes” the next time the library budget comes up to vote.

Celebrity Diner: I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw they were open for business the morning after the hurricane. Yes, it got crowded; yes, they ran out of some items; and yes, the service was not quite up to their usual high standards, but their continuous availability for all meals throughout the storm helped us to feel that we hadn’t quite fallen off a cliff. Honorable mentions also go out to Ben’s Deli in Woodbury and Mario’s Pizza in Syosset.

Lifetime Fitness: What a relief to be able to exercise and take a hot shower, again keeping a sense of normalcy in our lives. We’ll overlook the towel rationing and shortened hours, and express appreciation for proactively waiving dues for the period when they were closed.

Holzapple Plumbing: Sent a plumber to our house to get our long-dormant gas fireplace restarted. Without them, we would have had to leave for a hotel.

Broadway Mall/Panera/Multiplex: In the first few days after the storm, their electric outlets and Wi-Fi were our only contact to the outside world.  Unfortunately, they cut the outlets after Wednesday. Still, until the library reopened, they were one of the few sources of Internet service, and the movies provided a welcome distraction to keep our minds off the tragedy for a few nights.

Now a few razzes to those who were…less helpful.

LIPA: It’s too easy to take pot shots on the utility, which had an immense amount of damage on their hands. I cannot fault them for giving priority to main roads, hospitals and schools. What I do find fault with is their complete lack of communication and setting reasonable expectations. I am also troubled by some reports that non-union workers from out of state were turned away. This was certainly not the time to check ID cards.

Governor Cuomo: Is it just me, or was he just an ineffective populist during the storm, giving misinformation about the extent of the gasoline crisis and taking daily swipes at LIPA without really doing anything? Compare his performance to Christie in New Jersey, who seemed much more out in front and not just looking for political points.

Finally, a sincere thank you goes out to our friends who had power and invited us over for meals, conversation and TV. That’s it…now let get back to life as we used to know it! And our prayers go out to those who suffered serious losses during the storm.

Michael L. Barsky