| NEW YORK
NEW YORK Nov 2 As electricity returns to Lower
Manhattan in the wake of Sandy, residents in some of the
neighborhoods of New York City hardest hit by the giant storm
are complaining that their plight is being overlooked.
In many outlying areas of the city, thousands of people are
going to have to wait up to nine days, and in some cases even
longer, for electricity to be restored to their homes. Some have
lost their houses altogether to floods or fire and others are
dealing with heavy water damage. The lines at the few gas
stations that have fuel to sell stretch around the block and
security is an increasing concern.
In some neighborhoods the destruction is huge. The community
of Broad Channel, Queens, a narrow island-like neighborhood in
Jamaica Bay, has been hit particularly hard.
One house has been knocked completely off its foundations,
the insides of many others have been gutted and are
uninhabitable. Much of the damage was caused by a powerful surge
of water that brought floods of more than five feet.
Throughout the neighborhood, residents, city workers and
volunteers on Friday hacked at soggy drywall, hauled piles of
broken furniture and waterlogged belongings out of the houses,
and cleared debris from the streets. The main thoroughfare,
Cross Bay Boulevard, was jammed with tow trucks, bulldozers and
other vehicles moving trash from the neighborhood or bound for
nearby Rockaway Beach, another area where many homes have been
But while the images were as grim as any being broadcast
widely from places like the Jersey Shore, some people complained
that they were getting very little attention from the
authorities or the media.
"We have nobody down here with video coverage," said Grace
Lane, a grandmother who defied evacuation orders and rode out
the storm in her second story bedroom as water rushed through
the first floor of her house. She and her family are now
cleaning up. At night, eight people - Lane, her husband, their
two daughters, their husbands and her two grandchildren, have
been lining up to sleep on air mattresses on the floor of the
upstairs bedroom, now the last usable room in the house.
"At least my children are OK," she said.
Volunteers, including local firefighters and members of the
American Legion, were bringing in food and water, but everyone
was running low on gasoline. Ruined cars with fogged-up windows
lined the streets, waiting to be picked up one by one by tow
trucks and hauled away.
Nearby, Timmy Nix, a young man who grew up in the tight-knit
community, hauled soggy insulation out through his front door.
His friend, Nolan Adams, was helping, too. Nix's house not only
flooded; it was swamped with oil when a tank outside collapsed.
The fumes were powerful; the floor inside was slick and muddy.
Adams lives in Brooklyn and takes Nix back to his house each
night to sleep. The interior of Nix's one-story house has been
WORRIED ABOUT SAFETY
In a sign of the security concerns in the neighborhood, one
garage full of debris and ruined furniture stood open with a
sign next to it reading: "LOOTERS WILL BE CRUCIFIED - GOD HELP
Security was also on the minds of residents in Howard Beach,
a Queens neighborhood on the west edge of Jamaica bay that also
flooded. There, water rushed through the streets, toppling huge
trees and swamping basements. It was not in an evacuation zone
so most residents stayed and their cars were ruined. As they
worked to clean up, they swapped rumors of break-ins in the
Monsignor Alfred LoPinto, the pastor at St. Helen's Church
in Howard Beach, said his parishioners, who were also facing a
long wait for electricity to be restored, were fearful. "I'm
just telling them to hang on," he said.
The National Guard could be seen in Howard Beach for a day
or two after the storm, but they had departed. That added to the
sense of isolation among residents.
LoPinto said there was concern that resources had been
diverted by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg to prepare for the
city's marathon on Sunday. He was speaking before the
announcement late on Friday that the race was canceled because
it had become so divisive.
But there were bright spots: Neighbors in Howard Beach were
helping each other arrange to have water pumped from their
basements and trading tips on insurance and emergency aid.
Residents of nearby neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens who
never lost power were venturing into Howard Beach to offer their
And in Broad Channel, volunteers from a Sikh temple in
another part of Queens had set up a table in the center of the
neighborhood and were handing out free food: curried beans and
rice and hot, sweet Indian tea with milk in it.
A man approached them and asked if he could take their
picture. The Sikhs obliged. They stood beside their wooden sign
advertising the free food and smiled. "I'm going to have this
picture," the man said, "so I can show everybody how good you
(Reporting By Emily Flitter; Editing by Martin Howell, Bernard