LI recovers from Sandy: Warm room for a baby
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Lisa Bloom sent out a tweet Saturday to @LIPANews, the utility's account, seeking help for a very good reason: "9m pregnant and no power in OldBethpage. Baby coming tomorrow. Help!"
Given the circumstances, frantic tweeting only made sense. No power, with a baby on the way.
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The original plan called for Bloom to give birth in Manhattan, from where she and her husband, Noah, both teachers there, recently moved. But given gas shortages, they decided not to chance it, instead opting for North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset -- much closer to home.
The hospital was comfortable, Bloom said, but they faced the prospects of bringing their newborn to a dark and cold home.
"I just felt very desperate for the first time in my life," she recalled yesterday. "Never in our wildest dreams did we think 12 days later we wouldn't be able to come home."
Bloom never got the answer she wanted from the utility company.
But those troubles faded as she gave birth to a girl, Emerson Molly, born at 12:36 p.m. Sunday and weighing 8 pounds, 2 ounces.
The family scrambled to find a room -- with some help from tweeting and Fox 5 host Rosanna Scotto, who spoke of their plight on TV. Bloom moved with Emerson to a Holiday Inn in Plainview, where her husband, and daughter Dylan, 4, waited.
Bloom, 35, recalled feeling helpless and sorry for others going through worse times in flooded areas, but ended with a hopeful assessment of the ordeal after finding a warm place. "At least she'll get to wear her take home outfit twice." -- Scott Eidler
After superstorm Sandy brought more than 8 feet of water into the below-sea-level Island Park village, wrecking homes and businesses, some residents like Kevin Finn decided to cut their losses and run.
Finn, who has rented a second-floor apartment in the village for three years, had been living with no power, no heat and no transportation.
His two cars were damaged beyond repair in the flood, he said. He was preparing to move to Huntington.
"I think they are going to condemn the house I am living in," said Finn, 47, who is temporarily staying in Oceanside with his girlfriend, two children and two stepchildren.
The snow left behind by the nor'easter made living without electricity or heat even harder for Michelle Amoruso, who went to a makeshift recovery center at the Long Island Rail Road's Island Park station parking lot on Thursday.
Amoruso said her basement was destroyed.
"We need help. We have no heat. We are devastated," Amoruso, 46, said tearfully.
Mayor James Ruzicka was worried that much of the village's businesses had been "wiped out."
"Whether they come back, I don't know," he said. "I am afraid it will turn into a ghost town after this. It is really scary."
A tree felled by Sandy had snapped a power line going into the home that Cemmie Walker rents on Nesconset's Gaynor Avenue.
She and her family tried to go on without power, using a wood-burning stove for heat and playing board games with other tenants to kill time.
But after several days, her son Brian, 24, became bored and she sought a temporary fix to their power problem.
"There's only so long he can go without the Internet," said Walker, 52.
When LIPA workers explained that it was the homeowner's responsibility to fix power equipment damaged by trees, she paid $700 to a private electrician.
"It's that or I don't have power to my house," Walker said, adding that her landlord agreed to reimburse her.
She has tried calling LIPA about securing the power line to her house, to no avail. "I was literally sleeping on the couch" while on hold for the utility, she said. "The phone fell out of my hand."
Electrical line workers have been shipped into Long Island from all over the country and beyond, and several fire departments have taken them in during their stays.
John McKenna, Northport Fire Department's former chief, said there are 39 electrical workers from as far as South Dakota and Canada staying in the village -- split between the firehouse and the American Legion hall.
McKenna said he was told the workers had been staying in large, heated tents in parks in Nassau and Suffolk counties before they found more comfortable quarters with the firefighters.
Others were staying at firehouses from the Greenlawn, East Northport, Huntington Manor and Melville departments, said Town of Huntington spokesman A.J. Carter.
The meeting room at the Northport fire house has been turned into a temporary shelter with blowup mattresses and cots scattered throughout the hall. McKenna said FEMA donated the cots and bedding.
He said the station has only one shower, so they have been taking the workers to Gold's Gym in East Northport to bathe.
Bruce Barnes, emergency manager and coordinator for NV Energy, said the Nevada crew never had to stay in the tents, but heard horror stories about it, like being "packed like sardines" in the encampments -- which is quite the opposite of what they have experienced in Northport.
He said Maroni Cuisine catered a dinner for the crew on Thursday night and that people have been dropping off donations, like candy, chips and other snacks.
"The treatment we received was above and beyond," Barnes said.
-- Reported by Aisha Al-Muslim, Scott Eidler, Mackenzie Issler and Carl MacGowan