Wednesday’s extreme cold is gripping everyone in the Tri-State and not letting go for the rest of the week, but for thousands of people affected by Superstorm Sandy, the deep freeze is adding a massive insult to their already deep misery.
Tens of thousands of homes are still without heat, and despite the intense cold, some Sandy survivors have had few choices but to stay in their houses, even though those homes are damaged.
“No one has come,” said Danny, an Arverne homeowner, regarding repair workers with the city’s Rapid Repair program. “They haven’t come here yet,” he said, shouting over the sound of his generator.
It was the only thing, in the midst of single-digit wind chills and long nights, providing him with heat and light. The basement of his two family home flooded during Sandy, taking out his electrical system in the process, and he had electric heat before Sandy took it away.
Danny has running water and gas, so he’s been boiling water to keep warm, and sleeping on a mattress in his living room, which opens to the kitchen, where the water steams.
“I’ve got my bed here, and all the other doors closed” to try to keep in the heat, he said. “This is how I cope.”
He said that he still considers himself lucky that he has a generator to power a light and two space heaters. Some people, he pointed out, don’t even have that.
At the Breezy Point Recovery Center, resident after resident walked out carrying a white boxes. Inside each one was a donated ceramic space heater, a very popular item in this week’s bitter cold.
“Everybody’s looking for the heaters and the water,” said Theresa Flanigan, the manager of the relief center. The water she referred to were hundreds of cases of bottled water stacked up in her warehouse.
Breezy Point remains under a boil water order three months after Sandy. Even if there were potable water running in the beachside community, it would not be of much value in this week’s super cold.
Farrell knows a thing or two about freezing. She spent the night in her home earlier this week, before moving in with her son, who only got his heat back a couple of days ago. “[I had my] army cot,” said Farrell, “[my] space heaters and my dog.”
One of her neighbors, the Salica Family, represent another problematic situation related to Sandy damage. Even though they now have all of their utilities, they have few ways to use them. Most of the key service sections of their home, such as their kitchen, are gone.
Worst of those encountered by PIX11 News was Danny, who sounded the challenge for Mayor Bloomberg’s Rapid Repair program.
“Help. That’s the message. We need help,” he said. He chose to spend Wednesday night at a relative’s house. With a wind chill of zero, Wednesday is expected to be the coldest night of the week.
He called Rapid Repair spotty in its administering of help. While his house is dark, the neighbors on either side of him have recently gotten their power restored.
Wednesday night, Danny’s next door neighbor was watching Danny’s home while he’s staying warm with nearby relatives. The neighbor was also keeping an eye on Danny’s generator, since it’s a hot commodity among looters.