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Business gets back to normal in Montauk

Cyril Fitzsimons, owner of Cyril's Fish House in

Cyril Fitzsimons, owner of Cyril's Fish House in Amagansett, holds up an evacuation notice he received in preparation for Hurricane Irene. (Aug. 28, 2011) Photo Credit: Erin Geismar

When predictions for Hurricane Irene were at their worst, there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that the Napeague stretch, a 2-mile-wide strip of land between Napeague Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, would flood, possibly even becoming impassable.

But that didn’t happen. Power didn’t go out, either. In fact, Cyril Fitzsimons, the 68-year-old owner of Cyril’s Fish House, located on the stretch, had just one problem -- no waitstaff on Sunday.

“Where is everyone?” said Fitzsimons, who has owned the bar and restaurant for 22 years. Fitzsimons had 12 customers call Sunday morning to ask whether the restaurant was open, he said. “Where is my staff?”

As the rain stopped Sunday morning and the wind died down, business in the resort town began to resume as usual -- at least for establishments serving breakfast or alcohol.

“Egg sandwiches and beer,” said Scott Wymbs, a fisherman from Montauk, about how he’d spend the day post-storm. He ordered his breakfast from Ronnie’s Grocery and Deli, which opened like it does every day at 6 a.m.

As for fishing, Wymbs and his brother Frank, also a fisherman, said there would be no work Sunday. The boats were out of the water and the rough sea wasn’t conducive to catching many fish.

Across the street at John’s Pancake House, waitresses were bustling around the restaurant serving breakfast to a large crowd.

Jennifer Greenlees and Ross Patten, who live in a low-lying area of Montauk near Hither Hills, said they didn’t have power or water at their houses and were surprised to see so much open in town.

“Everything’s open,” said Patten, who had a 20-foot-tall tree fall in his front yard. “7-Eleven stayed open all night.”

Parts of Montauk south of Montauk Highway flooded, beaches were roped off and water overflowing into the street, and many homes and businesses lost power.

Down the road in East Hampton, Main Street was still boarded up and most businesses were closed. Newtown Lane was shut down by police.

But according to Fitzsimons, it was time to get things back to normal.

“It was a nonevent,” he said, adding that he lost 90 percent of his business on Saturday, one of the last of the summer.

He said he can be found in his usual seat at the restaurant, where he stays from open to close, seven days a week.

“Tell everyone, ‘Cyril expects to see his friends back here next weekend,’” he said.

Photo: Cyril Fitzsimons, owner of Cyril's Fish House in Amagansett, holds up an evacuation notice he received in preparation for Hurricane Irene. (Aug. 28, 2011)

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