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Hundreds lost power in College Point and Whitestone after trees toppled throughout both neighborhoods, while northeast Queens marinas faced the harsh reality unleashed by Hurricane Sandy, according to Consolidated Edison.
Greg Varitimidis, a Greek immigrant who lives on 130th Street in College Point, said he lost power at 9 p.m. Monday and had not had power restored as of Thursday. He witnessed power lines flashing near his home and shooting sparks toward nearby houses during the early morning hours Tuesday.
A large tree rested on a home at 13-28 141st St. in Whitestone and a neighbor worked Tuesday to clear some of the debris on the street.
“It’s been five years since I put a complaint in about these trees,” said next-door neighbor Steven Nathanial, “and nothing’s been done.”
Nathanial attempted to have the large trees with weak roots removed independently, but tree pruners could not follow through with his plan without a city permit.
“You can’t get (the city) to do it and you can’t do it,” he said. “Then you have thousands of insurance dollars wasted.”
Susan Seinfeld, the Community Board 11 district manager, said her Bayside office lost power for only one day in the aftermath of the storm and was back working by Wednesday. Aside from reports of downed trees in areas from Little Neck and Douglaston to Bayside, Seinfeld said residents have fared well since the storm moved on.
“Everyone here has to really deep down feel very grateful that they weren’t as unfortunate as those in Lower Manhattan, Staten Island, or the Rockaways,” Seinfeld said.
Areas closer to Whitestone and College Point were hit much harder, according to City Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone). In a news briefing Thursday, Halloran said thousands of residents throughout his council district were without power, and the city should have been better prepared.
“Con Ed crews have been hauling, but we need new solutions from management,” Halloran said while acknowledging that areas such as Breezy Point still experienced much more detrimental effects of the storm than the northern part of the borough.
As of Thursday evening, Con Ed reported just under 90,000 customers in Queens without power - hundreds of whom came from the Whitestone and College Point region. But far more were out in southeast Queens.
The College Point Yacht Club, a private members-only club that stores more than 230 vessels, was largely intact with the majority of boats unharmed.
“There’s been worse,” said Rich Shubert, a longtime member who lives in Whitestone. “The nor’easter in the early ‘90s — in that one, the water came so fast you couldn’t do anything.”
Club member Rich Swanson’s boat had been totaled after a nearby sailboat broke loose and smashed against the side of his fishing boat. He hoped his insurance would cover the repairs.
Bayside Marina, however, did not get through the storm as easily, according to co-owner Martin Munch. He said the overall damage has not been completely assessed, but repairs needed for the Bayside Marina dock alone could cost at least $250,000.
“Our docks took a really bad beating,” he said. “We’re not sure if they are going to be salvageable.”
Munch said crews at the marina on Little Neck Bay off the Cross Island Parkway worked hard to take boats of the water in the week leading up to Hurricane Sandy. The marina was able to remove about 60 boats from the water in the past week.
Hurricane Sandy brought about 3 feet of water into the clubhouses, destroying boaters’ lockers, cooking appliances and the concession stand.
“This is the worst that I’ve ever seen,” he said.
©2012 Community Newspaper Group
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