* Storm-weary Long Island residents protest at utility
* New Yorkers face second day of fuel rationing
* Many communities are still isolated
By Edward Krudy
Nov 10 New York City was preparing to stage its
first major event since cancelling its annual marathon as
thousands of victims of Superstorm Sandy continued to struggle
with power outages, gasoline shortages and freezing weather
Sunday's annual Veterans Day Parade is expected to attract
crowds of over 600,000 people to central Manhattan and will be a
test for a city still struggling to clean up after one of the
worst natural disasters in the region's history.
Thousands were in temporary shelters, and in New Jersey a
tent city on the edge of Monmouth Park racetrack was home to
hundreds. Authorities in the region said they did not have
access to enough alternative housing or hotel rooms for all
those who have been displaced.
There were still over a quarter of a million customers
without power nearly two weeks after the storm. As of Saturday,
66,000 of those were on Long Island, where residents hit hard by
the storm protested outside the headquarters of the Long Island
Power Authority in Hicksville.
New Yorkers also faced their second day of gasoline
rationing under a system in which cars with odd- and
even-numbered license plates can fill up only on alternate days.
Electric utilities have drawn withering criticism for their
failure to quickly restore power throughout the region. For
many, no electricity means no heat, hot water or hot meals.
"It's been terrible," said Diane Uhlfelder, a former New
York City police officer at the protest in Hicksville, where a
local police officer estimated about 300 hundred gathered
outside LIPA headquarters.
"The cold is the worst," she said. "It's been hell."
Sandy smashed into the East Coast on Oct. 29, killing at
least 120 people and causing an estimated $50 billion in damages
and economic losses. It destroyed homes along the New Jersey
Shore and around New York City, cut off electricity for millions
of people and knocked out much of the public transportation
Newly re-elected President Barack Obama is to visit hard-hit
areas of New York City on Thursday. Obama put off an earlier
visit at the request of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who feared it
could hinder relief efforts.
Back outside LIPA headquarters in Hicksville, two
13-year-old girls held white cardboard signs decrying LIPA's
slow response. One, in pink magic marker, read: "LIPA Stinks!"
The other read: "Lame, Inept, Pitiful, Awful."
As a LIPA truck drove by, the unsmiling driver gripped the
wheel with his left hand and raised his right hand to give the
girls the finger.
Early on Saturday in Far Rockaway, a coastal area of New
York City devastated by the storm surge, more than 500 people
lined up with empty fuel cans. Word had spread Friday night that
a tanker truck carrying 8,000 gallons of free gasoline was to
arrive around 10 a.m.
The fuel was delivered under the auspices of the Fuel Relief
Fund and funded by an anonymous donor, according to two police
officers on the scene.
More than a quarter of the gas stations in the New York
metropolitan area did not have fuel available for sale on
Friday, the same number as on Thursday, the U.S. Energy
Information Administration said.
At the Inwood refinery in southern Queens, a line of more
than a dozen tanker trucks stretched from the refinery entrance.
Some drivers slept while they waited.
Seven tanker drivers, most of whom serve independent gas
stations throughout Long Island and New York City, said the
average wait in recent days to fill up their tankers was about 3
hours, and then another 90 minutes once they reached the pumps.
"We're now lucky if we can get two runs in a day," said
Parkash Ram, 54, of Queens, who works for a trucking company
that supplies independent gas stations on Long Island.
But there were signs fuel lines were starting to ease up.
There were no gasoline lines reported at most gas stations in
New Jersey as well in some places in Long Island.
Bloomberg announced a day of service on Saturday and
hundreds of volunteers helped stricken areas of the city.
On Staten Island, the New York City borough hit hardest by
the storm, the sense of total material loss has settled in and
residents were preparing their homes for demolition.
On Saturday, Yevgeniya Maltseva, 63, a Staten Island
homeowner and medical office staffer was staying warm burning
all five elements on her stove.
"We don't have any info at all. Con Edison (the electric
utility company) is not even picking up the phone," she said.
On Sunday, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano will
visit Staten Island. Homes along the island's south-eastern
flank took the full brunt of the Atlantic storm surge.
Subway services to coastal areas were slowly being restored.
Service to Coney Island resumed on Friday, but there was still
no service to Far Rockaway. Widespread delays were reported on
New Jersey commuter trains.
Many communities remain isolated. At a supermarket parking
lot on East Park Avenue in Long Beach late Saturday afternoon,
hundreds of weary residents were met with trucks carrying
donated food and water, clean-up supplies and piles of clothes.
"Out here, time doesn't mean anything anymore," said Miles
Rose, 58, an IT consultant from Long Beach. "You live by the
sun, and when it goes down, the day is over and you go to bed.
That's how we live now."
In New York's Broad Channel community, there was a boat in
the middle of a road with a sign that read: "Broad Channel - the
On Saturday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo extended the
deadline to February for New Yorkers who lost their income due
to the storm to apply for federal assistance.
A boat belonging to Staten Island-based actor Clem Caserta
called the "Jimmy Whispers" after a character Caserta played in
Robert de Niro's debut film "A Bronx Tale" was washed up in
Harbortown, 20 miles south of Newark, New Jersey.
Sandy ripped some 300 feet of floating dock off its moorings
on the Staten Island side of the Arthur Kill waterway, and
pushed it about half a mile across the water along with a half
dozen fishing boats.
There were 289,239 customers without power on Saturday in
the states struck by Sandy, a drop of 144,901 from Friday, the
U.S. Energy Department said. At the peak 8.5 million were