Overcast 56° Good Morning
Overcast 56° Good Morning
Long Island

Long Islanders make best of storm with friends, food

Christina Campbell uses a shovel to clear snow

Christina Campbell uses a shovel to clear snow from her driveway on Wellwood Avenue in Lindenhurst on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016. Photo Credit: Barry Sloan

This story was reported by Sarah Armaghan, Deon Hampton, Will James and David Olson. It was written by Darran Simon.

Chris Tsakonis bought $50 worth of sausage, hamburger and steak at a meat market to grill in the middle of Saturday’s storm.

“They have the best steaks in the area,” Tsakonis, 64, said of Mercedes Meat Market in Mastic Beach.

But the backyard barbecue he envisioned was delayed. Tsakonis’ car got stuck in the market parking lot, as nearly 2 feet of snow ultimately fell in some parts of Long Island.

Tsakonis, like many across Long Island, tried to make the best of the monster storm, with restrained frustration. Some ventured outside to plow and shovel roads and driveways. Others just went for a walk — wearing appropriate shoes — on deserted roads. With many businesses closed, some tried to stock up on last-minute essentials such as milk, bread and coffee, as well as sweet things like Easter candy.

Paul Verdi, 46, of Oyster Bay, loaded up his car with treats — soda, beer, penne pasta and Parmesan cheese — for a snowstorm party.

“We invited a few people over,” he said at a local Stop & Shop. “What better way to enjoy a snowy evening than with friends and food.”

Weary plowers found hot food, and refuge, at Verona Uno Pizzeria in Oyster Bay. “I’ve got to feed the plowers,” said owner Tony Senver.

He added: “It’s a community service. They’re thankful.”

Along the South Shore, popular dining and nightlife destinations such as the Nautical Mile in Freeport were virtual ghost towns. Most, if not all, businesses were shuttered — even ones with signs on the facade boasting they were open seven days a week, year-round.

In Oyster Bay, some residents ventured outside for pleasure.

Mehmet Bozkurt, 36, took photos because he said the snow buried “everything that makes a city ugly.”

“That’s why I like the snow,” he said.

Nearby, Marie Carnesi enjoyed the beauty of a desolate snow-covered street as she walked to meet a friend and his dog.

“It’s fun, as long as you’re not in your car and [you] have good shoes,” Carnesi, 38, said.

In Patchogue, Larry Fairley, 54, bundled up and wandered around trying to keep himself busy. He planned to spend the entire day outside.

First he walked to a nearby store for snacks. Then he struck up conversations with people walking by.

Smiling ear to ear, he said: “I can’t get enough of the snow. I love it.”

But Mastic Beach resident Teddy Wilson quickly grew tired of it. By 2 p.m., he had shoveled his driveway twice.

“It’s almost like I didn’t shovel,” he said.

Though Ryan Nash, 24, also of Patchogue, labored for an hour trying to shovel out his driveway, he remained optimistic. “It could be worse. This is New York, this happens every few years.”

In Hempstead, at a 7-Eleven store, retired construction worker John Killard, 67, refused to let a little snow stop him from making his daily trip to the convenience store, a ritual for the past decade.

“I have to have my paper and coffee every day,” said Killard, of East Meadow, who also bought cereal for his grandkids.

His weekend plans included watching television and coloring with three of his six grandchildren — Matthew, 2, Mackenzie 4, and Sarah, 13.

Regina Restivo, 37, a New York City schoolteacher who lives near the 7-Eleven, said she also “just had to have” her favorite dark roast coffee.

She planned to settle in for the night and watch “To Kill a Mockingbird” on Netflix. “I just had cabin fever,” Restivo said.

In Islip, Chris Fanning, 22, and a friend, Brandon Fedison, 21, were hard at work, trying to make a few extra bucks in the storm as contract workers plowing snow.

Fanning, of Islip, said his main focus was making money. “I don’t care about the snow.”

In Oyster Bay, Bernstein’s Paint Center opened at its normal 7 a.m. time hoping customers like Fanning and Fedison would trickle in for shovels and ice melt.

But four hours later, the store had more employees than customers. Only one customer had walked in.

The man first tried to go to a nearby dry cleaners, which was closed, and then stopped by Bernstein’s for a small shovel for his son. The store only carried shovels for adults.

“I don’t think anyone’s coming,” said Dylan Rankin, who had walked the three-quarters of a mile from his home to the store where he works. “I feel it’s getting worse.”

Minutes later, Bernstein’s store phone rang. It was owner Lloyd Bernstein.

“The boss just called. We’re out of here,” Rankin said.

Latest Long Island News

Sorry to interrupt...

Your first 5 are free

Access to Newsday is free for Optimum customers.

Please enjoy 5 complimentary views to articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.