Rather than relying on her neighbor, O’Shea went out and bought a generator so she could partially return power to her home. On Nov. 8, residents were outside on Fendale Street, discussing when they might get their power back. The group spotted lights and a crew working on the north side of Hempstead Turnpike. Running to the corner of Fendale and the turnpike, they shouted at the electric crew to help them.
The crew had driven up from Georgia and was on call for LIPA. The workers told the Fendale Street residents that they had not been assigned to their block, but they came over to take a look. Fendale had not lost any trees or wires to Sandy, so one of the crew members climbed a ladder and hoisted one of the wires free from some tree branches. After a few shakes of the wire, the lights came on.
O’Shea said that she and her husband, Billy, plan to hold on to the generator she bought. She isn’t willing to risk going powerless for 11 days again should another storm take out power in the months to come. Things are slowly returning to normal, but neighborhood residents aren’t yet ready to take their electricity for granted.
Many are hesitant to fully restock their food supplies, just in case power goes out again. O’Shea said that for the next few weeks, she plans to keep staples like eggs and milk on hand, but not much else. Being without power for so long has made it easy to simply forget to turn on lights in the morning, she said with a laugh.
Neighbors who knew each other only in passing now share a common bond, and know a little bit more about one another, O’Shea said. “Everyone has gotten much closer, if there’s a silver lining,” she said.
Many believe that losing power will continue to be a problem as Long Island faces future storms. Few blamed the crews on the streets working 20-hour days, but most said they hope LIPA officials would have better communication should something like this occur again.
“I don’t blame them at all — if they’re not being told where to go, it’s no their fault,” O’Shea said of the crews. “It was not getting any information that was tough. It felt like nobody was in control.”