Long Island Now

The latest community buzz and updates. | Sign up for community newsletters.

Local updates: Sandy's impact on LI, Oct. 31

The view looking out the back of Lori

The view looking out the back of Lori Chaplin's two-story home in East Massapequa. The first floor was destroyed during the storm and the home's deck floated away. (Oct. 31, 2012) (Credit: Joie Tyrrell)

UPDATED 8:40 P.M.
The Great South Bay, literally, in her backyard

Lori Chaplin, 49, has lived for more than five years on Bayview Place in a two-story waterfront home. The Great South Bay was her backyard.

Wednesday afternoon, she surveyed damage from the deluge that destroyed the first floor. Half of the walls had been ripped apart. The sliding-glass doors were smashed. The back deck had floated away. The fridge in her kitchen had been dislodged, and her washing machine lay on its side in the backyard.

Chaplin and her husband heeded the call to evacuate and are staying with relatives. They returned to find their home no longer is livable.

"This was a beautiful house," Chaplin said.


PHOTOS: LI damage | Then and now | Aerial views
VIDEOS: Recovery still in progress | Desperate for buyout
DATA: Federal aid to victims | Storm damage | Infrastructure proposals | LI storm damage | How LI reps voted on Sandy funding
MORE: Year after Sandy interactive | Complete coverage


"This can't be rebuilt," said her husband, Peter, 51. "We are in a conundrum. It's structurally a total loss, and I don't feel comfortable living here anymore. "

Throughout the waterfront neighborhoods of East Massapequa south of Merrick Road, the terrible sights and smells of disaster were everywhere.

On some homes, walls were completely ripped away and windows shattered. Boats were smashed up against houses and resting on front lawns. The air hung heavy with the aroma of spilled oil. An upright piano sat incongruously outside one home.

Residents picked their way through the debris, salvaging what they could and attempting to begin a clean up. They dragged soggy carpet and warped furniture to the curb. Trucks from the Town of Oyster Bay and other workers were parked en masse along Clocks Boulevard, starting to clear trees and branches.

Carla Smith, 51, the Chaplins' neighbor, fought tears as she looked at her home. She has lived there 10 years. Now, the living room is a sodden shambles, her garage is partially flattened, her refrigerator is on her porch.

She wore her husband's large fireman's boots. A survivor of Sept. 11th, he retired from the city Fire Department. Smith said she just wanted to "save a few things" -- among them, her husband's helmet.

"This was my house," she said. "This was my house, and I loved it."
-- Joie Tyrrell

UPDATED 6 P.M.
Port Jefferson a ghost town thanks to Sandy

Sandbags are still lined up in front of downtown Port Jefferson doorways, and tape still protects store windows.

Signs are still up from earlier in the week that read, “Closed due to Sandy. Be Safe!” like the one at Pindar Wine Store. Every store on Main Street in Port Jefferson was still in complete darkness as of noon Wednesday.

Main Street in Port Jefferson is normally known for its liveliness, usually bustling with customers any time of the year. However, since superstorm Sandy struck the East Coast, Port Jefferson Village has been left with severe flooding and no electricity. Although the flooding has receded and cars can use Route 112 again, the village remains a ghost town.

“It is very eerie,” said David Karp, 20, a Stony Brook University student from Elmont that had come to see that damage with friends.

The only part of Port Jefferson Village that remained busy was the dock, where ferries to Connecticut resumed as of 6 a.m. Wednesday. Although the ferry station still remains without power, the office is running off a generator and the ramps are running off power from the docked boat.

Right up the hill on Main Street is Billie’s, a popular bar in town that had a big sign right out front reading, “We are open, drinks and cash only.” Inside was bartender Steve Williams, a resident of Port Jefferson that was serving his one customer under candlelight. Although the bar had partial power last night, it was shut off this morning for maintenance.
-- Amanda Douville

5:40 P.M.
Gas is golden in Locust Valley

Wednesday afternoon, 25 vehicles snaked in a line on the shoulder of two-lane Forest Avenue in Locust Valley, waiting to buy whatever fuel remained at USA Gas.

"Super only" read one handmade sign, in neon-orange spray paint, that was propped at the pumps. "Cash only" read another. "Super" was going for $4.39 a gallon.

Two employees pumped gas, the station's mechanic directed traffic, and Gurkay Sebat, 19, son of the owner, manned the small convenience store and helped take payments.

Owner Victor Sebat, 52, of New Hyde Park, said he had 500 gallons of "super" left, and expected that to run out in two hours. He had been running the station off generator power since Tuesday, with cash-only payments because credit-card or debit transactions were not possible without power.

He ran out of regular and "plus" -- a regular-super mixture -- Wednesday morning.

Victor Sebat said the gas lines began forming on Monday. "It was like this before the storm, when we still had power," he said.

He noted that many people coming to the station not only were filling their vehicles' tanks, but brought with them multiple fuel canisters to fill for running generators at their homes or small businesses.

Dave Knott, of Oyster Bay, walked quickly into the station's store.

"Do y'all have newspapers?" he asked. Directed to a stand, he bought the last one -- Newsday, which on its cover showed an inundated section of Westhampton with the word "Devastated" in large type.

Knott, who works for an investment firm in Syosset, said his home had no power but was not damaged in the storm.

"I wanted to know what was going on," Knott said of his newspaper purchase.
-- Beth Holland

UPDATED 5:25 p.m.
Oak Beach opened up to residents

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation announced in a Wednesday afternoon news release that residents of the Oak Beach community will be able to access their homes “beginning immediately.”

The release adds, “Residents with proper documentation will be authorized access to their homes past the road blocks. Additionally, residents of West Gilgo will be authorized access as safe measures are placed along Ocean Parkway.”
-- Newsday Staff

UPDATED 5:20 p.m.
Some workers get snowstorm pay for Sandy

Did you get paid?

Many employers on Long Island applied their snowstorm pay policies to time missed from work as superstorm Sandy blew through.

That was the case at People’s Alliance Federal Credit Union in Hauppauge, where both salaried and hourly workers got paid for the full day Monday, even though the credit union closed at 12:30 p.m. in anticipation of the storm, said Patty O’Connell, human resources vice president.

The credit union closed Tuesday and all employees got paid for the day, said O’Connell, co-chair of the Human Resources Committee of the Hauppauge Industrial Association.

Those who did not make it into work Wednesday when the credit union reopened — just 3 out of 99 employees — had to take a vacation or personal day, she said. According to the snowstorm police, anyone without such days remaining would not get paid.

O’Connell said that many members of the committee have similar policies.
-- Patricia Kitchen

UPDATED 5:15 p.m.
Family’s back deck now in front of house

Before superstorm Sandy, Olivera Sagarese’s deck and playground used to be behind her house on Lincoln Drive in Mastic Beach. Now they’re blocking the road in front of it.

Sagarese, 37, lives on the street with her husband Michael, a retired New York City police officer, and three of their children -- they have six, with one on the way.

“We got the brunt of it, everything came here,” she said, standing on what remains of the grass-filled deck. The home’s rear faces the Forge River. A few blocks to its south is Narrow Bay.

Much of nearby Riviera Drive is flooded with at least a foot of water, and residents say they can smell oil and gas fuel.

“There’s oil everywhere,” said Ted Murdock, who stopped on Forest Road East to turn off propane leaking from a tank. His house, at 77 Riviera Dr., no longer has an east side. It was destroyed by wind and flooding as a result of Sandy.

Elsewhere in Mastic Beach, many roads are blocked by downed trees, and much of the area south of Neighborhood Road is blocked to traffic, though a regular stream of people from around the area were passing nearby in trucks to take a look at the devastation. One man driving a Mini Cooper passed under a semi-downed tree on Woodland Drive, only to turn back after he saw flooding farther down the road.

Sagarese, a nursing student who has been staying at her mother-in-law’s house in Manorville, said her mortgage provider is giving her a three-month reprieve while she looks for another place to live. She’s still waiting for her home insurance provider to call back.

"We’ve got nothing, man,” said Michael Sagarese.
--Carl Corry

UPDATED 5:02 p.m.
$50G fix saves Patchogue man’s house

Water splashed at the mouth of Michael Hennessey's driveway as if something disturbed the river that was once Smith Street in Patchogue. But otherwise, the water, which was 4 feet deep or more, was receding.

​"I feel lucky," he said, pointing out the damage suffered by his neighbors, some of whose houses he said were "destroyed."

​Hennessey's house faces Shorefront Park, and just beyond that, the Great South Bay. But during the peak of the storm on Monday night, Hennessey said there was no way to tell what was bay and what was park.

"The waves were crashing on the park," he said. "We thought Irene was bad, but this . . ."

Still, Hennessey, 50, counted his blessings. Three years ago, he basically rebuilt his house so that he could add a second story. that job included rebuilding the foundation.

He built it up 7 feet higher than recommended by FEMA, and it now stands on 32 pilings and 18-inch thick cement foundation.

He suffered no water damage.

"If you're gonna live on the bay," he said, "this is what you have to do."

Hennessey said he spent about $50,000 lifting his house, but surveying the damage in his neighborhood on Wednesday afternoon, it seemed like a small price to pay.

"Everyone else will call FEMA," he said. "I won't."
--Erin Geismar

UPDATED 4:43 P.M.
State parks closed until further notice

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation said in a statement that the following Long Island state parks will remain closed until further notice.

• Bayard Cutting Arboretum
• Belmont Lake State Park
• Bethpage State Park
• Brentwood State Park
• Brookhaven State Park
• Caleb Smith State Park Preserve
• Camp Hero State Park
• Captree State Park
• Caumsett State Historic Park Preserve
• Cold Spring Harbor State Park
• Connetquot River State Park Preserve
• Gilgo State Park
• Sunken Meadow State Park
• Heckscher State Park
• Hempstead Lake State Park
• Hither Hills State Park
• Hither Woods State Park
• Jones Beach State Park
• Montauk Downs State Park
• Napeague State Park
• Nissequogue River State Park
• Orient Beach State Park
• Planting Fields Arboretum State Historic Park
• Robert Moses State Park
• Sag Harbor State Park
• Shadmoor State Park
• Trailview State Park
• Valley Stream State Park
• Walt Whitman Birthplace
• Wildwood State Park

 — Newsday Staff

UPDATED 4:15 P.M.
Sandy takes roof off Kings Park school

The roof of a Kings Park elementary school blew off during superstorm Sandy, causing the school to be closed for weeks, an official said.

Park View Elementary School suffered the damage Monday night, said Marie Goldstein, president of the Kings Park District school board.

"The roof blew off. It's devastating," Goldstein said. "We’re hopeful to get the students back into Park View Elementary School within six weeks.”

Parents of Park View Elementary School students are invited to attend a meeting Thursday at 4 p.m. in the Kings Park High School cafeteria to receive more information about the plan for students, she said.

Though Goldstein said plans are still being fine-tuned, part of what will be discussed tomorrow is "relocating the students within the district during the time that Park View is being worked on," said Goldstein. "We’re hopeful that our students and staff will be settled by Monday as long as we have power in our schools.”

All Kings Park Central School District schools are closed for the rest of the week, she said.

The district has leaped into action in repairing the school, said Goldstein.

“The school administration was there early Tuesday morning. When I got there at 10 a.m. there were already crews working on the building," she said. "They had the roof tarped . . . Right now they’re cleaning out the school. A team will go in to prepare the school to get it back to where they can receive students again.”
-- Lauren R. Harrison

UPDATED 4:11 P.M.
Oyster Bay supervisor: ‘Record’ for fallen trees

Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto said town employees have moved Wednesday from rescuing people trapped by flood water to a "cut, clear and restore operation."

He said about 400 town employees have about 350 vehicles out working on storm cleanup, working from sunrise to sunset because it's too dangerous to work at night due to downed wires and branches. Most of the work is removing more than 1,000 reported fallen trees, he said.

"That's a new record,” Venditto said. “And it's continuing to climb because we haven’t heard from all areas yet."

"This storm was an equal-opportunity destroyer," Venditto continued. "It did not discriminate between North Shore and South Shore."

He suggested that children celebrate Halloween within their homes or if they have to go outside "to keep it very, very local. Trees are still in the process of falling in some areas."
-- Bill Bleyer

UPDATED 4:08 P.M.
Moving cars turned out to be great move

Bob Stock watched as a 40-foot oak tree in his front yard cracked at its base and fell across his yard, blocking his driveway and his street Monday night.

The next morning, he found that the tree took down an electrical wire, and completely blocked Springdale Drive with the tree’s large branches, keeping cars from passing.

“It’s unbelievable. I noticed the tree when it leaned at a 45-degree angle and it was coming out of the ground,” said Stock, 68, who has lived in the house in Ronkonkoma for 40 years. “It’s a cluster of three trees with one base, so I thought it was strong enough not to fall.”

Just in case, Stock moved both his cars before the storm hit, parking one in his garage and the other at Edith L. Slocum Elementary School, down the road on Johnson Avenue.

“If I didn’t move them they would’ve been lost,” he said. “It took three strong gusts of wind to take down that tree and I’m just glad to have my house still. I just need my electricity back.”

Stock said that the electrical wire that lies across Springdale Drive isn’t live, but that he wouldn’t recommend people drive near it or walk on the wire, just in case.

“I was so lucky. I really thought the roof was going to cave in on me,” Stock said. “They need to come and remove the wire before these kids go out and trick-or-treat.”
-- Brittany Wait

UPDATED 4:01 P.M.
Bayville man glad he owns pump

Michael Bishop, who lives on Bayville Avenue in Bayville, started out his day today doing what he and many neighbors have been doing since Monday afternoon: pumping water from Long Island Sound and Oyster Bay out of his basement.

"I had about 3 feet at one point," he said. "The tide in the search came up with the full moon and there was no place for the water to go." He said his utilities and washer and dryer were ruined. But he said, "Yes, of course," when asked he has flood insurance.

He's a lifelong resident of Bayville, so flooding is no surprise. "It's a thing we're used to but this was pretty bad." He said he had water in the basement from Tropical Storm Irene last year "but Irene wasn't as bad."

He was smart: He owns his own 210-gallon-per-minute gasoline-powered pump.
-- Bill Bleyer

UPDATED 3:15 p.m.

Pol marvels at sewage plant’s success

Suffolk County Legis. Wayne Horsley, whose district includes the hard-hit areas of Lindenhurst and Copiague, visited the county’s Bergen Point sewage plant Wednesday, expressing wonderment that the facility somehow exceeded the maximum amount of water it was designed to take without breakdown.

The plant in West Babylon as designed to take on no more than 90 million gallons of water per day, Horsley said. But at the height of Sandy, it received 113 million gallons. It averages a flow of 24 million gallons of water per day.

“It’s a bright spot in a very difficult time,” Horsley said of the plant’s performance.

Two pumping stations that feed to the plant — one in Amityville and the other in Copiague — overflowed, Horsley said, while the Port Jefferson sewage plant also flooded.

But across the county, there were no sewage discharges as a result of the storm, he added. Most of them remain on generators.

“The plants, overall, held up very well,” Horsley said.

Suffolk County oversees 192 wastewater management facilities, including those that are privately operated. The public Southwest Sewer District, which includes Bergen Point, serves nearly 90,000 properties, many in the hardest-hit areas of the South Shore.
--Paul LaRocco

UPDATED 3:10 P.M.
Generating a lot of buys

At the Home Depot on Route 110 in East Farmingdale around 2 p.m., seemingly every shopper was emerging from the store with a UST generator — dozens of blue boxes were crisscrossing the parking lot. Inside, employees were loading them off pallets onto shopping carts and flatbeds for a long line of shoppers. They're selling for $799. One employee said the generators had arrived about a half-hour earlier.
-- Michael Dobie

UPDATED 2:45 P.M.
Island Harvest back in business

Randi Shubin Dresner, president and chief executive of Island Harvest in Mineola, said her agency opened two of its warehouses today for the first time after the storm, and is ready to distribute food. It had already given thousands of pounds of products to the American Red Cross on Monday, and nine more truckloads of water, energy drinks, protein bars and other items are expected arrive on Friday from Feeding America, a nationwide hunger-relief organization.

Dresner said in addition to distributing food to the Red Cross and food pantries, her agency plans to bring trucks to the hardest-hit areas on Long Island and distribute food directly to people there.

Island Harvest is taking donations from the public — especially donations of protein products in cans, personal-care items, and baby items. For more information call 631-873-4775.
-- Jennifer Barrios

UPDATED 2:30 P.M.
Ronkonkoma family gets a big-time scare

Dan Walters and his 14-year-old daughter, Rebecca ran to their backyard on Monday night to secure a trampoline that was thrashed around by strong winds during superstorm Sandy.

“I heard a really loud crack and thought someone got hurt in the house,” said Rebecca, who witnessed an intense spark of light that night after a power line fell right in front of her. “I was freaking out. We were all freaking out.”

On Monday, at 6 p.m., the winds were so strong that a 40-foot oak tree on their property in Ronkonkoma fell on the roof of their home, piercing two holes into the ceiling of her parents’ bedroom.

“I found shingles and a tree branch under my bed,” said her mother, Ursula Walters, 51. “I can’t believe the amount of roofing that came down in my bedroom.”

The night Sandy hit Long Island, Ursula Walters looked out the window at the trees swaying back and forth in the backyard, concerned for her family’s safety when they were tying down the trampoline.

“It just hit in gusts. It was horrendous, watching it from the window,” Ursula Walters said. “That was the last tree I thought would fall. It was a strong, healthy tree.”

The tree also fell on two of their three cars, bending the frame and damaging the hood of a 2008 Hyundai Tucson and denting a 1996 Dodge Caravan.

While the family waits for the insurance company to come, the kids spend hours on Tuesday and Wednesday raking leaves and picking up tree branches in the front yard.

“I can’t believe the amount of damage that was done to the roof, but I’m glad no one was hurt,” Ursula Walters said.
-- Brittany Wait

UPDATED 1:05 P.M.
Riverhead Aquarium open for Halloween

Many Halloween events may be canceled due to the effects of Sandy’s onslaught, but the sharks, penguins, sea lions, sea horses and otters at the Long Island Aquarium and Exhibition Center in Riverhead will be putting in a full day for kids’ sake.

Johanna Zucaro, a spokeswoman with the aquarium on that town’s Main Street, said the exhibits opened today on time for trick-or-treaters.

Children ages 3 to 12 who come dressed in their costumes are welcome to take some candy and will be admitted free to the exhibits if they are accompanied by a paying adult, Zucaro said.

Staff used more than 700 sandbags to protect the property from flooding and stayed through the storm with the animals. The complex was not flooded and the animals were unscathed in the storm.

“A lot of events have been canceled and we know there is road access to our place,” Zucaro said, “so we are looking for a positive recovery for the Island and we wanted kids to have a place to come that is safe and fun for Halloween.”
--Víctor Manuel Ramos

UPDATED 12:54 P.M.
Top cop urges Long Beachers to leave compromised homes

Long Beach Police Commissioner Michael Tangney is urging residents whose living conditions have been compromised by the storm to leave for safer temporary housing.

Tangney said that although there has been some looting, the Long Beach police, the National Guard and State Police will be working to protect people and their possessions in the homes they have been forced to leave.

The city has instituted a curfew — from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. — and it will be enforced for the foreseeable future, Tangney said.

Law enforcement has made several storm-related arrests, he said, including two for burglary, three for violating the curfew and one for drunken driving.

Tangney had no other details on the arrests.

State Police Superintendent Joseph D’Amico said Long Beach will be getting help from troopers from four other outstate barracks — Troops F, K G and D — as the city continues to clean up from the storm and protect its residents.

The troopers are scheduled to arrive on Long Island Wednesday, he said, and 100 are likely to be assigned to aid Suffolk County.

D’Amico also said a couple in a van driving on the Atlantic Beach Bridge has been arrested on charges of looting.

Neither Tangney nor D’Amico had further details on those arrests.
-- James T. Madore

UPDATED 12:48 p.m.
Suffolk Water Authority: Supply safe, except Fire Island

With the exception of those on Fire Island, residents who get their water from the Suffolk Water Authority are advised that the water is safe to drink, the water authority said Wednesday in a release.

“There have been various media reports and statements from public officials noting that water supplies in certain areas may not be safe to drink, but it’s important for people to understand that those reports refer to private water supplies,” said James F. Gaughran, water authority chairman.

The exception is on Fire Island, where power was shut off Sunday.

For more information customers can call 631-698-9500.

Likewise, customers of the Water Authority of Western Nassau County are advised their water is safe to drink, but are asked to limit water use as, with the authority relying on emergency generators, the supply is diminished.

Service appointments for Wednesday are canceled, and the water authority’s office remains closed. Once telephone service is restored, customers can call the emergency answering service at 516-327-4100.
-- Patricia Kitchen

UPDATED 12:43 P.M.
LI Cares: Diapers, baby formula most crucial need

Paule Pachter, executive director of Long Island Cares, said the agency has been delivering thousands of pounds of water, drinks and food to the American Red Cross for the emergency shelters across Long Island. More truckloads of donations, including water, cereal and other essentials, are expected to arrive by Saturday from food banks as far away as Texas and Georgia, Pachter said.

Pachter said his agency is accepting donations from the public, and the most crucial need now is for diapers and baby formula that will be delivered to emergency shelters. The agency has locations in Hauppauge and Freeport, and the public can call 631-582-FOOD or contact the agency via Facebook at www.facebook.com/licares.

The Hauppauge warehouse is operating on generator power, and the agency's regular website is down.
-- Jennifer Barrios

UPDATED 12:30 P.M.
Water company urges Nassau to conserve

A private water company serving large parts of Nassau County asked its customers Wednesday to conserve water to lessen the drain on its emergency generators that are pumping water.

Don’t water the lawn, don’t take long showers or baths, and sweep — don’t hose — debris away from your home, New York American Water said.

If you do have electricity, run dishwashers and washing machines only when full, and use the save-water feature if the machine has it.

The company said the water is safe to drink and it has not issued a boil water advisory, as the City of Long Beach has.

The company serves about 370,000 customers in Atlantic Beach, Baldwin, Bay Park, Cedarhurst, East Rockaway, Hewlett, Hewlett Harbor, Hewlett Neck, Inwood, Island Park, Lakeview, Lawrence, Meadowmere, North Woodmere, Oceanside, Roosevelt, South Hempstead, Valley Stream, West Hempstead, Wantagh, Seaford, Bellmore, Massapequa, Levittown, Sea Cliff and Glen Head.

Some of those customers had been served by Aqua New York Water until May, when New York American Water acquired Aqua.
-- William Murphy

UPDATED 12:20 P.M.
Southampton Town still in state of emergency

A state of emergency continues in effect Wednesday for the Town of Southampton, according to town police.

Residents are advised to refrain from unnecessary driving, as conditions remain hazardous, with reports of downed trees, telephone poles and electrical wires, as well as inoperable traffic lights, according to a release.

Apart from the shelter at Eastport South Manor High School in Manorville, which remains open, other shelters are closed or closing, the release said. Dune Road is open to business owners only.
-- Patricia Kitchen

UPDATED 12:15 P.M.
Long Beach cleanup: ‘We can’t sit around’

In the West End of Long Beach, a series of small and narrow streets mostly lined with one- and two-floor bungalows, a couple of boys tossed a football as their parents dragged debris from their water-soaked home to the curb for garbage pickup.

The garbage crews did show up, just as Roseann Chulbi, 49, of Arizona Street knew they would.

Four sanitation workers were dragging flood-damaged furniture from a huge curbside mound and loading the yellow garbage truck. With the workers making a small dent in the mound, which included loose boards, leather couches and a toilet, some neighbors — about four or five men — joined in, helping load the truck.

“We’re making some progress here,” Chulbi said, watching mound of debris, mostly from her two-story home, get smaller. “I knew the garbage men would show up. They always show up.”

Chulbi said she admired the workers, most of whom live in the city.

“You know, most of them live in Long Beach, and they’re helping us out, even though they got flooded out as well,” she said.

Chulbi’s home has a garage below ground level, and it filled up with water during the storm, she said. She is without power, she said. No lights, no water.

But she has natural gas and bottled water, so she and some other neighbors had hot coffee ready for most of the workers and some other neighbors.

Elsewhere on the block and some adjacent streets, there was the droning of portable gas-powered generators, hooked up to hoses and pumping water from homes.

“We got a lot more cleaning to do,” Chulbi said. She and her neighbors also were taking photographs for insurance purposes and waiting for instructions from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“We gotta keep busy,” she said. “We gotta do what we can do. We can’t sit around.”
-- James T. Madore

UPDATED 12:05 P.M.
30,000 homes without power in Smithtown

Crews in the Town of Smithtown were at it again this morning, clearing roads of tree debris, said the town’s supervisor Patrick Vecchio.

“The first priority is to get most of those trees off the road, which we’ve been doing,” he said.

Vecchio said that all main roads, to his knowledge, were open this morning. “Most of them, there are no traffic signals, so it’s a very difficult situation,” he said. “People have been advised to stay off the roads if they can.”

Glenn Jorgensen — superintendent of highways for the Town of Smithtown, which includes Kings Park, Nesconset, Commack and St. James — said his goal was to have all interior roads open by 6 p. m. tonight. Some minor subdivision roads still have trees down.

The biggest challenge, Jorgensen said, was getting LIPA lines cleared of trees.

"LIPA's doing a fairly good job, but there are so many trees that are still in the wires," he said. "The older subdivisions, where the trees are big and old and have been there for 40 or 50 years . . . are all coming down."

Several trees have fallen and blocked residents' driveways, Jorgensen said. "That's not my priority right now," he said. "My priority is to get the roads open."

Jorgensen said that the highway department would start taking care of "minor essentials . . . like blocked driveways" after all the roads were open.

Making things more difficult is the widespread lack of electricity.

“There are 30,000 homes in Smithtown without power and everyone is waiting for LIPA to put it back on,” said Vecchio “If you see lights in a store, for example, that has a generator.”

A prayer breakfast with Vecchio was canceled this morning. Recycling pickups were also canceled today, but garbage will be picked up tomorrow, he said.

Though Smithtown does not have any town activities scheduled for Halloween, Vecchio was reluctant to make any pronouncements on whether residents should trick-or-treat tonight.

“People have free will,” he said.

Repair efforts, especially to several damaged sidewalks and curbs, would continue long after children had emptied their Halloween buckets, according to Jorgensen.

“In December, you can’t really be pouring concrete," he said. "It's going to take quite a while to straighten out."

-- Lauren R. Harrison

UPDATED 11:45 A.M.
Electrical fires an issue in Freeport

Heavily-damaged Freeport continued to dig out from the storm, which destroyed several houses and sent garbage, personal belongings and boats blocks from where they had been pre-Sandy.

Village officials released a statement asking residents to use caution in seeking power restoration. Electrical fires have been a problem in the village, where at least five structures caught fire.

The statement asked residents to "have a certified Electrician verify that your home or business is safe to have your electrical service restored. If your property is not deemed safe or you cannot have your property verified as safe, please turn off your circuit breaker" before 10 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 3”.

The statement continued: "Beginning Saturday, November 3, 2012 at 10 a.m., Freeport Electric will begin to reactivate the electrical service to South Freeport and hopefully by the end of the day, everyone will have their service restored. It is very important that you ensure your home or business is safe before the service is restored."

In Hempstead, "town work crews will continue clearing trees from blocked roadways," as "over 400 trees have already been cleared from blocking area streets," town officials said in a statement.

The statement continued: "Most communities have lost power, there are over 1,000 downed trees in our neighborhoods, and traffic lights are out at many busy intersections. Train and bus service is still disrupted, and car travel is imperiled by debris in roadways, pooling water and inoperative traffic signals."

Officials repeated a call for residents to consider skipping trick or treating.

"The hazards of downed electric wires and trees are serious and should not be taken lightly," the statement said.

On the other side of Long Island in Center Moriches, normalcy began to return, as the Halloween-themed March of the Goblins was declared a go. It begins at 4:30 p.m. today.
-- Patrick Whittle

UPDATED 10:40 A.M.
Flights resume at MacArthur Airport

It was back to business at Long Island MacArthur Airport in Ronkonkoma this morning.

Southwest Airlines and US Airways resumed flights after suspending them on Tuesday because of superstorm Sandy.

US Airways canceled four arrivals and four departures of flights between Long Island and Philadelphia and Washington.

Jean Goodmok, 73, of Melbourne, Fla., was at MacArthur for Southwest Airlines' first flight to the Sunshine state. She said she was glad that the planes were flying today.

Goodmok said she was fleeing her son's home in Freeport, which was without power, cold and had a basement filled with water.

"I couldn't print my boarding pass or anything because I'm on the South Shore," Goodmok said. "It was so cold. No electric. No gas. You can't get a cup of tea."

Another traveler on the first Florida flight was Megan Kelleher, 24, of Orlando, who said Sandy forced cancellation of two other flights she booked on Sunday and Monday.

"Compared to LaGuardia, which is under water, I'm glad I got a flight out of here," said Kelleher, originally from Centereach and in New York visiting friends.
-- Keith Herbert

UPDATED 10:30 A.M.
Long Beach neighbors become friends thanks to Sandy

Benjamin Schwartz, 39, a doctor at an urgent-care facility, is among the thousands of residents concerned about the damage superstorm Sandy left behind in his Long Beach community.

But as he fretted about not being able to get to work Wednesday, with work crews removing up to a foot of sand from the roadway along his high-rise apartment building on a flood-drenched Broadway, Schwartz was able to see “a silver lining.”

On Tuesday, he and six of his neighbors found the storm damage had tied them together for a unique experience, Schwartz said.

The neighbors in the high rise — who previously only knew each other through greetings in hallways and the lobby — dug out each others’ cars, pushing out vehicles trapped by sand and water.

“It’s bad down here,” Schwartz said. “But there’s a silver lining. I’m really getting to know my neighbors.”

After their work freeing each others’ vehicles, the seven met in one of their apartments and shared a potluck meal of biscotti, bottled water, canned soup and several bottles of wine, he said.

“All day, we banded together . . . I got to know these people,” he said.

All signs Wednesday did point to a slow recovery for most Long Beach residents.

Officials warned residents that city water was not potable — undrinkable — even after boiling, because most people do not have the power source to boil it. Officials also said sewers were not working and that residents should not flush their toilets.

Two building superintendents of high-rise apartment buildings on Broadway, off the boardwalk, spent most of Tuesday trying to dry out furniture, carpets and other accessories from their lobbies. They also dug out sand and pumped water from basement garages.

The job seemed almost impossible, said one super.

“I’ve been here an hour-and-a-half and it doesn’t look like I’ve done anything,” he said.
-- James T. Madore

UPDATED 9:20 A.M.
Partial flooding remains on Bayville streets

Many streets south of Bayville Avenue that lead into Mill Neck Creek or Oyster Bay Harbor remain partially flooded. Pumps are being used to clear those roadways; pumps also are gushing water out of basements in those areas, which includes the flooded firehouse.

Postal officials said mail would be delivered Wednesday, and large pumper trucks are working in the east end of the village, pumping water from flooded roadways

Nassau police still have barricaded traffic to the Bayville Bridge leading to Mill Neck. Only residents who live in Mill Neck on the northern end of West Shore Road, are being allowed to cross.

Village officials also are letting residents know village water is safe to drink.
-- Bill Bleyer

UPDATED 9:03 A.M.
Some town services resume in Brookhaven

Acting Brookhaven Town Supervisor Kathleen Walsh announced Tuesday that garbage pickup will resume today, which is the regular recycling pickup day.

The following Town Recreation Centers will be open today:

* St. Michael's Recreation Center in Gordon Heights
* New Village Recreation Center in Centereach
* Shoreham Recreation Center in Shoreham

In addition, the Brookhaven Aquatic Center in Mastic will be open today.

Residents should call 631-451-TOWN for more information.
-- Josh Stewart

UPDATED 8:42 A.M.
Islip Town announcement on garbage service

According to a Town of Islip news release, there will be no recycling/WRAP pickup today, but normal garbage removal will begin on Thursday.

-- Newsday Staff

Vote

Did you evacuate your home in preparation for Hurricane Sandy?

Yes No

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Vote

Should Congress or President Obama intervene to avert a long-term LIRR strike?

Yes No

Your town

Get the latest news and information about your community, all in one place.

What's this? Send us your feedback

Sign up for community newsletters

Choose a community

advertisement | advertise on newsday