This story was reported by John Asbury, Vera Chinese, Cecilia Dowd, Chelsea Irizarry, Carl MacGowan, Deborah S. Morris, Keldy Ortiz, Jean-Paul Salamanca, Nicholas Spangler and Dandan Zou. It was written by Antonio Planas.
Long Islanders faced a harsh, and cold — literally — dose of reality Tuesday: cars buried in snow, homes without power, neighborhoods a slushy mess, and the inevitable wait for a plow.
But like the hearty sort they are, Nassau and Suffolk residents did what they always do after a winter blizzard brings the grind of daily life to a halt. They dug out, assessed damage the nor'easter left behind, and in some cases, acknowledged that the occasional blinding snowstorm is part of the bargain of living here.
In Baldwin, Jose Ramos took a break from shoveling out his Honda Civic to catch his breath. He had been at it an hour, but he didn’t seem to mind much.
"It’s the life in New York," Ramos said.
Fellow Baldwin resident Richard Williams was using a shovel to clear heavy snow that had fallen from his solar-paneled roof and blocked his entryway.
"My best friend did most of the work," he said, pointing to a snowblower. There was still work to do, however. His car remained buried by piles of snow.
"I’ll leave that one for Thursday," Williams said.
Michele Libertella stood at her front door on East Seacrest Avenue in Lindenhurst and watched as water from the canals that gave her neighborhood its name, "American Venice," flowed by her home.
"It’s bad down here," said Libertella, estimating that a foot of water was in front of her home Tuesday. "My house is elevated but I’m stuck here until later on when this tide goes down."
A couple of blocks north on Surf Road, Cindy Farley assessed the flooded street and said her home faired relatively well, all things considered.
"My neighbors are in worse shape than I am," she said. "I didn’t think water would get this high."
Per usual after a large winter, heaps of snow and flooding weren't the only challenges facing Long Islanders Tuesday.
On Atlantic Place in Hauppauge, a large tree split near a utility pole in the early morning, leaving some residents without power.
"I heard the crash. I heard the snap of the tree," said David Hubbard. "The tree went down just up the block here and took the power out. … We have a generator that’s working for us, keeping the heat on."
Another resident, Steve Paduano, said he fired up a generator to get his refrigerator and heat running again. The generator provided, "just enough to get by with what we need," Paduano said, "instead of what we want."