Superstorm Sandy made landfall on Long Island on Oct.29, 2012. According to the Preliminary Response & Recovery Report released by the New York State Senate in February 2013, $32 billion was the estimated total cost to New York of response and recovery for Superstorm Sandy at the time. There were 146 deaths nationwide attributed to the storm, 60 of them in New York. Sandy destroyed or damaged 305,000 homes, and caused severe damage to utility and transportation networks. The wind and flooding caused power outages and 2.19 million households were out of power for days, weeks or even months. According to the report, downed lines caused outages in Nassau and Suffolk.
As part of a project from Anton Media Group, the Glen Cove Oyster Bay Record Pilot and the Syosset Jericho Tribune are observing the impact of Superstorm Sandy on Nassau County’s North Shore and surrounding areas. A method used in this reporting was looking back at the archives.
The Glen Cove Record Pilot ran an article titled “Sandy: A Hurricane Of Historic Proportion,” by Gabriella Iannetta in its Nov. 9, 2012 edition.
“The natural disaster has taken a toll on local families who are still living with no power and relief teams have been working non-stop to bring the city back to normalcy,” the article read. “The Red Cross contributed to its help to Glen Cove by providing a disaster relief center at the Glen Cove High School immediately, while school was out—a place to charge electronic devices and rest. East Island was one of the most blighted areas by the storm, with waves higher than 20 feet coming in from the Long Island Sound and flooding most homes and streets on the island. Enormous trees were completely uprooted and sprawled over front lawns.”
The article also reported that after the storm, then Mayor Ralph Suozzi announced that it would take seven to 10 days until power was restored in most places. But incredibly, mail was delivered on time on Nov. 6, “…which demonstrates how determined and hardworking the Glen Cove employees are,” the article read.
The article also touched on the four-hour plus lines at the Mobile and Hess stations. Gas had actually been rationed to $50 per customer or car.
The Glen Cove Oyster Bay Record Pilot reached out to Glen Cove Police Department Chief William Whitton, who was shocked that it had already been 10 years, to see what he remembered about the storm. He lost power for 27 days. Whitton remembered the situations around the local gas stations.
“The supply would last basically less than 12 hours before they were exhausted for fuel,” Whitton recalled. “We were very fortunate in the sense that we didn’t have any disturbances at those gas stations. People behaved themselves, patiently waited and understood when they were standing there for a couple of hours and couldn’t get gas because the station ran out. We coordinated with the local gas stations to ration gas.”
Whitton also remembered that stores and shopping centers began to run out of supplies after the storm.
“We pulled together,” Whitton said. “Neighbors took care of one another.”
Former Oyster Bay Enterprise editor Dagmar Fors Karppi wrote an article titled “Hurricane Sandy Blows Out Power” in the Nov.9, 2012 edition of the Oyster Bay Enterprise-Pilot.
“The Oyster Bay-East Norwich area is recovering from Hurricane Sandy, feeling for the most part grateful,” the article read. “Once again neighbors helped neighbors and made everyone appreciate living here even more. Trees suffered the most in the devastating winds of Sandy. Power outages all over Nassau County kept people challenged in how they would cope with the lack of electricity. For those with gas service, there was warmth and good food. Communicating was a problem for a community that is used to being well connected.”
The article reported that the Oyster Bay-East Norwich Public Library was open for residents to use their electricity and internet and that the Life Enrichment Center was serving their members by Nov.1.
The Glen Cove Oyster Bay Record Pilot reached out to Karppi to see what she remembered about the storm.
She mentioned a photographer who had contributed to the paper named Gregory Druhak. He had taken photos along of the boats that were crashed.
Of her own experience, she remembers that her house was cold from a loss of utilities, so she had to bundle up.
“My neighbor across the street, who was a policeman, hooked us up to a compressor,” Karppi said. “He would let us have an hour of heat each day to make the house get warm again.”
She had another neighbor with a gas stove that invited fellow residents in to feed them.
The Syosset Jericho Tribune reported in the Nov.9, 2012 edition that the Syosset Public Library was a safe haven for many Syosset residents.
“By Wednesday morning, Oct. 31, the library was open and people began streaming in, grateful for heat, light, and electricity,” the article read. “Besides the need for power, the library brought together hundreds of people who were reeling from the destruction of the hurricane. By 10 a.m., most of the hundreds of outlets in the library were being used to charge electronic devices and even used for emergency medical equipment such as nebulizers.”
Christine Belling, the library director, was the system’s manager at the time of the storm.
“I remember when the doors opened at 9 a.m., people rushing into the building to get a seat near an outlet,” Belling told the Syosset Jericho Tribune on Oct.18. “Then, later on, people sitting anywhere and everywhere in the building to get some light, heat, power and Internet service. I was asked to find every available power strip in the building so that members of the community could plug in and charge their phones and devices. There were so many people in the building. On the one hand the situation was so overwhelming, but on the other, it felt good that we could help so many people at a time when they really needed it. It was a memorable and crazy experience.”