Downtown Rockville Centre a bastion of light for thousands
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Larry Siegel, president of the Rockville Centre Chamber of Commerce, expressed his approval of the way the downtown businesses handled the increase in customers after the hurricane. “Unfortunately, due to the loss of power of the surrounding areas, Rockville Centre has become a destination for food,” Siegel said. We’re thankful that Rockville Centre is able to serve the residents of the surrounding towns after this tragedy.”
The Sky Athletic fitness club, at 310 Merrick Road, also opened its doors to the community, offering showers and charging stations. The club also offered its facilities and showers to members of the National Guard and firemen working in the area.
“These wonderful men and women have been giving their all to aid our community, but have nowhere to go themselves,” read an email the club sent out to members. “Additionally, because many of these people have nowhere to go, no clean clothes, etc., we are seeking members that would be willing to open their homes in one way or another.”
The restaurants, bars and clubs may be obvious sanctuaries, but they were not the only businesses in the village doing their best to help victims of the storm. Kerry Punzi, the owner of Giftology, at 37 S. Park Ave., said she didn’t think twice about helping the residents of Oceanside, Island Park and Rockville Centre.
“People were walking around in a daze when we opened on [Oct. 31],” Punzi said. When she noticed a man waiting for his wife outside the store next to hers, she invited him in. According to Punzi, the man, a resident of Oceanside, had lost two cars and the first floor of his house to flooding, and was trying to contact Enterprise Rent-a-Car through available Wi-Fi downtown.
“I drove them to Enterprise in Oceanside,” Punzi said. “They couldn’t get a car, but they got food for their children waiting at the house, and after about an hour and a half I drove them back home.”