Sandy’s Bronx Tales

Nights spent in darkness – and cold, roof shingles blown off – and worse – to homes along the borough’s coastline, nervous eyes on car gas gauges, the borough was still picking itself up and drying out this week.

And as folks got on their feet, the tales from Hurricane Sandy were being told, with acts of kindness by many to less fortunate, surveys of damage, and working back to normalcy, if even to making sure the Bronx Zoo was open for visitors to take their minds off things, if even for an afternoon.

As tales from the Superstorm Sandy pile up, many in the borough – whether individuals or organizations – want their story told.

Survivor of storms past

Out on City Island, one of the coastal areas hardest hit by Superstorm Sandy, 66-year resident Ann McGuire of Schofield Street said that for those hardest hit by Sandy, it will be considered a terrible storm.

However, she pointed out that in 1938 the house her husband grew up in on Hunter Avenue flooded with six feet of water, and from what she understands from its current owner, it flooded with four feet of water during Sandy. She pointed on that many on the quaint, tight little island were fortunate to have electricity during the storm.

McGuire had lived in the house her husband grew up in on Hunter Avenue until about 15 years ago, and said she believed that the worst storm in terms of its effect on City Island in that time was Hurricane Gloria in 1985.

“We have survived so many storms on this island, you never know how it is going to effect everybody,” said McGuire. “But I don’t think it was the worst.”

Floating Pier

Senator Jeff Klein, who was making the rounds of his district, helping out by bringing Sanitation trucks in and information on where to file for help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, recalled during one stop in hard hit Locust Point seeing an entire dock, still intact but dislodged from its pillings, floating past a neighbor’s house after the storm.

Storm Bound

As Con Edison was giving away dry ice at an event organized by Assemblyman Carl Heastie at the Eastwood Manor in Baychester on Monday, Nov. 5. Sybil Daley of 3340 Gunther Avenue still did not have power for lights and refrigeration, and got dry ice at the event to keep her food cold.

“[I have] been calling everyone trying to get some help because I have to sleep with a sleep apnea machine and I have sarcadosis in my lungs, and so I have to stay in the warm, not in the cold,” said Daley. “The cold effects my lungs.”

Con Edison visted her home and told her that work needed to be done on a transformer, and that power may be out until Friday, Nov. 9, she said.

“We have to dress in layers, and we have two small children,” said Daley. “It’s been very hard and they have been out of school the whole last week.”

Lighting The Way

Catherine Diab of Woodlawn lost power in her building on Tuesday, Oct. 30 as the worst of Sandy blew through. Three days later, she was still without power and concerned about the cold.

She was still able to heat up water since the gas was still working.

She was walking around the apartment with a coat on and mostly worried about her 14-year-old dog Peanut, who was sleeping with a flannel blanket.

She said if temperatures dip, she will take up her friend’s offer to stay at the house for a while.

Merchants along Katonah Avenue have been helpful, she said, letting her charge her cell phone, while her landlord was able to bring battery-powered flashlights for her building while it was still in the dark. But she had to throw away a lot of food.

Senator Jeff Klein brough laterns donated by Home Depot to her building on Friday, Nov. 2.

To Be Rescheduled

Hurricane Sandy forced a number of cancellations and postponements across the Bronx, with some events still in need of rescheduling.

The Bronx Chamber of Commerce postponed it’s Tenth Annual Banquet set for Thursday, Nov. 1, with a future date to be planned.

Borough President Diaz also moved his Bronx Annual Pumpkinfest Halloween Spooktacular at the Justice Sonia Sotomayor Community Center on Rosedale Avenue forward a day, from Wednesday, Oct. 31 to Thursday, Nov. 1.

Cardinal Hayes High School had to postpone its Hall of Fame Dinner Dance, set for Saturday at the Marina del Rey in Throggs Neck, saying it will notify “the Hayes family” once it’s rescheduled. “We pray that you are all safe and wish everyone a speedy clean-up and recovery.”

The City Island Theater Group, faced with no power on the island, cancelled its Halloween Haunted House at the local community center. But in the tradition of the show must go on, it’s production of the “The Man Who Came To Dinner” opened a six-performance run Friday, Nov. 9. Profits from its highest grossing night will to to the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City to support hurricane aid needs. Email

Animals And Trees

The borough’s biggest tourist attractions were open for business, with the Bronx Zoo pretty much all right, but its sister attraction across Fordham Road in need of some cleanup.

The zoo reopened Saturday, Nov. 3 in fine shape. That was unlike the Wildlife Conservation Society’s sister attraction in Brooklyn, the Coney Island Aquarium, which suffered major damage, including extensive flooding, said Jim Breheny, Bronx Zoo director and executive vice president of WCS Zoos and Aquarium.

Meanwhile, at the New York Botanical Gardens, the living collections at the garden sustained some damages, including trees, fences, small structures, signs, and one building at the 250-acre bucolic borough attraction.

“While we are still assessing the damage, initial surveys reveal that over 100 native trees in the Forest and throughout the landscape, including some of our ancient and most magnificent oaks, were destroyed,” said garden spokesman Nick Leshi.

“Hundreds of mature pines, spruces, and firs in the Ross Conifer Arboretum and Benenson Ornamental Conifers and other irreplaceable collections of trees across the Garden were damaged,” he said. “Over the next few days, curators and arborists will carefully inspect trees across the landscape for broken and damaged limbs and other substantial damage not immediately apparent after the storm.”

Clean up efforts began even before Superstorm Sandy moved inland, he said.

Many sections of the garden, including the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, re-opened to the public on Thursday, Nov. 1.

Up in Riverdale over at Wave Hill, with its majestic views of the Hudson River and the Jersey Palisades,Jundtjajethe In riverAt Wave Hill in Riverdale, power finally came back on Sun. Nov. 4 .

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