Living in the dark

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Oderwald said that her house was one of the few on her block that lacked power, because a fallen tree had damaged the nearest power lines. “It’s just not a good situation to be in for anybody,” she said. “The increased anxiety for Violet, and the prospect of being displaced during a very trying time in her treatment, is really heartbreaking.”

Waiting for the lights to go on

Benny Diasparra, 26, is the owner of Nina’s Italian Deli, a family-owned business in a small strip mall on Newbridge Road. Its three stores lost power on Oct. 29 and were still dark on Nov. 9.

“A guy like me, a small business owner, I don’t have the state to back me up,” said Diasparra, who was born and raised in East Meadow. “I have a mortgage to pay at home and rent to pay on the building. It really hits home when it’s your livelihood.”

While he talked with the Herald, a vehicle pulled up to the deli, but Diasparra had to send it away. He said that he had called LIPA and National Grid repeatedly, to no avail. “At this pace, I may never be able to open again,” he said of the deli, which has been in business for three years. “I worked so hard and in one storm I’ve lost everything.”

Sara Federbush, 22, is a freelance graphic designer. Her home, a block from McVey Elementary School, had lacked power since Sandy struck. “I haven’t been able to do any work since the power went out,” said the recent SUNY New Paltz graduate.

To stay warm, Federbush said, she had been sleeping in her basement for the past week, and passed the time by playing card and board games and doing a lot of reading. “I think I’m on my sixth book now,” she chuckled, “and I’m not even much of a reader.”

Extended power outages are not rare in East Meadow. Richmond Road, just east of the Meadowbrook Parkway, has had weeklong outages at least four times, according to resident Noel Ratner. “My belief is that we have suffered more than others, and yet we’re always the last to be restored,” he said. “Wouldn’t it be more fair to look at track records and see who has suffered the most, and make sure they’re given quicker restorations?”

Salisbury, the forgotten neighborhood

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