“Disastrous,” is the one word pharmacist Kamran Khan used to describe the effects of the weekend storm on his business. leases a storefront in the on Beekman, which lost power on Saturday through yesterday evening. On Tuesday afternoon, they were back in action, but still without phone service.
“We usually do 100 to 120 prescriptions a day,” Khan said. “Yesterday we did 10.” Without electricity, phone or the internet, the small pharmacy that caters to a loyal and often elderly clientele, tried to open on Monday but closed after a few hours when it got too cold and dark. “There will be no compensation from any companies for this.”
Just across the street, three Verizon trucks were parked with men at work on the underground lines, using a big tube to dry them from water damage. The workers estimated they would be there all day into the night, and that the phones might be back up as of tonight or early Wednesday. When asked if it's better to have the lines running underground, as they are on Beekman, the worker said, “it’s worse.”
Meanwhile, on Hudson Street in Sleepy Hollow, 95-year-old Helen Manca, who relies on her telephone to connect her to the world – she has no cable, internet, or cellular service – was awaiting Verizon technicians to repair an above-ground connection box that went out in the storm. “Now they are going to dig and put it underground,” she said, scanning the road for any sign of a truck.
As DPW crews and Con-Ed were out in abundance yesterday, today perhaps the Verizon and Optimum vehicles outnumbered the others. As most people got their power restored, many still await the other services that make them fully functional. According to the latest Con-Edison outtage numbers (as of 3 p.m. today) there are 241 customers still affected in Tarrytown and 135 in Sleepy Hollow, all expecting restoration by the end of Wednesday, Nov. 2.
Shared workspace on N. Broadway in Tarrytown, opened up its space for free this week for anyone to use their outlets, wireless and phones. Only a few people showed up today, according to owner Jenifer Ross. Any business in town with spare outlets and internet access have served as de facto homes to at least several folks charging their devices and getting online information. The storm affected residents (on tree-lined side streets) more than businesses.
Though services seem to be coming back as efficiently as possible, some citizens cited other related issues that need addressing. Deanna Melillo, who only had her power out for an hour or two said, “On the street next to me the trees are completely butchered to make sure the power lines don't touch them, but the way they cut them makes the trees very, very weak so when something like this happens the trees come down onto the houses, not to mention it just looks like complete tree abuse."
Tarrytown resident Nancy Robasco suggested the creation of some sort of generator-share program for those isolated without power on the same street of others isolated without power. And she also posed the question “to those of us in Tarrytown that lose power EVERY TIME without fail: Can we find out how much these power outages cost us in terms of overtime and double time verses how much it would cost to put the lines underground?”
We posed this very question to Mayor Drew Fixell who said that the cost of the outtages falls almost entirely on the utilities and not the municipalities. As far as burying the lines, he said he's often wondered about this himself and been told it would be prohibitively expensive and complicated.
"Though I can't be certain, my guess is that the utilities have figured out that given their experience and expectations, it's still considerably less expensive to fix what gets destroyed rather than bury large pieces of the infrastructure, " Fixell said. "However, there is an interesting question of if weather is in fact getting worse (as predicted by all global warming models) and whether whatever calculations they made in the past are still valid. Given what's been happening recently, it sure feels like the models need updating."
And remember that young man, , who hightailed it here because of his lifelong love of Halloween? He's been staying, with no special events to attend, in a Crest neighborhood house without power. It's better than sleeping outside on the ground, he said, still happy to be here. "At least the sun is out right now. It feels nice outside."