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Odd power outage in Garden City

Rob O’Kane, working for Garden City Village, on

Rob O’Kane, working for Garden City Village, on Monday tackles an enormous tree that fell on Wyatt Road during Tropical Storm Irene. As one tree service owner said, “It’s a mess out there.” (Aug. 29, 2011) Photo Credit: Newsday / Audrey C. Tiernan

On a small stretch of Sackville Road in Garden City, the lucky live across from the unlucky. The even-numbered houses have power. The odd do not.

A tree fell into Ray Finnerty’s house about 4 a.m. Sunday, splitting a utility pole in half, blowing a transformer and coming to rest inside a second-story bedroom, plunging the odd-numbered houses of Sackville Road into darkness.

But the neighbors came together regardless of odd or even numbers.

Finnerty is using a neighbor’s house to shower, charge his cellphone and even keep his food from spoiling.

Michael Ventre, who lives on the corner of Sackville and Newmarket roads, is using a neighbor’s power to keep his fridge — and occasionally his daughter’s hair dryer — running.

Claude and Maria Steblai offered their outside outlet to Ventre, who plugged in, ran it across the road (secured with heavy-duty tape) and then looped it around the upturned roots of a 50-foot oak tree lost during the storm. From there it winds into the house, keeping the food cool.

“I’m sure they would do the same for me,” Maria Steblai said.

Neighbors are thanking neighbors for any help they can offer, from a pot of coffee to extension cords.

“Everybody is helping everybody else,” said Jennifer Gisolfi, who was providing a dinner last night of lasagna, salad and dessert for her neighbors living in the dark.

“I just want to help people. It could be any one of us.”

Above, Rob O’Kane, working for Garden City Village, tackles an enormous tree Monday that fell during Tropical Storm Irene.


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