No Heat, Power? Come to the Community Center

Anything you need, 24-7: Tarrytown's Community Opportunity Center opens around the clock for the next several days with internet, outlets, food, cots, fun. And you can even bring your dog.

Adrian Noonan, of Tarrytown, is a nurse practioner at the NYU Langone Medical Center in Manhattan that had to evacuate about 260 of its patients to other hospitals when their generators failed on Monday night.

Needless to say she’s been out of work for the week.

In the Quay Complex of South Broadway she and her husband Dennis have been without power and see no sign of light and heat to come any time soon. The whole complex is out, with many elderly residents in it. 

In the Quay, the Noonans said people have been looking after each other, but it’s a challenge to get any outside information when you have no power.

“We were at the library trying to find a seat when we heard about 105 Wildey,” said Dennis, referring to the warming shelter they found themselves visiting on Wednesday evening.

The Noonans wouldn’t be staying the night at Tarrytown’s Community Opportunity Center at 105 Wildey but they were enjoying the abundant and roomy access to outlets and wireless internet (and for those without computers, there are numerous computers in a library upstairs).

“We’re freezing, but we’re going home,” Adrian Noonan said, which is probably the sentiment of most people – no matter how unpleasant it may get, it’s just preferable sometimes to stay in your own home.

Until it’s unbearable.

An elderly couple arrived in the big gymnasium of the center around 6:30 p.m. and seemed grateful to just sit on the side chairs and keep their coats on for a while in the well-heated room. The couple, who didn’t want to leave their names, also live on South Broadway though not in the Quay, and said they’ve been marooned.

They didn’t know how to get their electronic garage door open. “I really didn’t think I could open it,” the woman said.

Finally she did manage to open the garage, get the car out, and go to Chase Bank where they told her about this shelter opening up. She didn’t need any time for deliberation on that. “I got in the car and told my husband, 'let’s go.'”

“We’re all so isolated,” the woman said. “We have no way to get information.”

Luckily they arrived here, with numerous others reportedly about to follow soon. Also coming soon were 100 cots for them to sleep on from the White Plains or New York City American Red Cross chapters, along with complimentary toiletry kits for adults and kid-kits for the young.

The big gymnasium of late had become the classroom for Westchester Circus Arts' instructor Hilary Sweeney, who performed at the Tarrytown Halloween Block Party, and recently started offering classes here. Following Hurricane Sandy, she was here in the big warm room all to herself (she has no power in Nyack) and texted the center’s director Kristin Lanza that she would forgo teaching classes this week and volunteer if they could instead use the space as a shelter.

Quickly Lanza worked out all the details: the Red Cross will supply breakfast, lunch and dinner to the guests, Kohls donated children’s books and art supplies, volunteers will include Girl Scouts and the martial arts instructors about to start offering classes in the basement. More volunteers to lead crafts for the kids and help out in other ways are welcome.

Sweeney cooked two flavors of hearty soup (fish or beef) and her arial arts students brought homemade baked goods.

The expansive room felt cozier as people started to arrive and settled in, more like the beginnings of a strange party. It was Halloween after all and there were lollipops and treats, though no costumes save for Lanza's cat ears.

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kyle227 November 04, 2012 at 03:34 AM
The director and staff @ the COC is soooo awesome and caring. They're always there to lend a helping hand no matter the situation. God bless you guys!
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