Deli owner: turn the power on!

Restoration company says electricity, heat expected to be back soon


“Sorry, we’re closed,” Lindell Deli and Grocery co-owner P.J. Whelan told a potential customer last Friday.

“Everyone is asking us when we’re going to open,” he said, “and I can’t say much.”

Whelan said that the deli, which he runs with his brother, Kevin, and his parents, and the apartments above the business have been without power and heat since Hurricane Sandy’s flood waters caused significant electrical damage.

He said that the storm cost the deli, which his family has owned for 40 years, $80,000 in lost inventory, sales and destroyed equipment.

Whelan said his landlord and the restoration company working on the building, at 577 W. Park Ave., gave him assurances for weeks that power would be restored. He said that crews got rid of the floodwater in the basement and ripped out soggy sheetrock after the storm, but have yet to replace damaged electrical units.

“They’re telling me that the meter banks were flooded and they’re waiting on parts,” Whelan said.

Whelan said that the deli is a popular stop among teachers and students at nearby Lindell School as well as city workers. Each day the business remains closed, Whelan said that the deli is losing about $2,000 in sales. He said that his landlord has stopped taking his calls and that after more than a month in the dark he had had enough. Last week, he placed large signs outside of the business that read “No electric, no heat, no hot water.”

“I don’t care if I get power back tonight — I’ve had 31 days of promises that we were going to get juice here,” he said. “The thing that bothers me is that we’re not getting any answers.”

Whelan said that he reached out to the Long Island Power Authority and was told that temporary power could be run in the building if an electrician installs a single meter. He said that the restoration company told him that temporary power was to be restored last Wednesday.

“I spoke to the people at LIPA and they say that there is power,” Whelan said. “We want to be ready so that when we do have full power, we can open.”

Whelan also said that some tenants who live in the seven apartments upstairs have been staying in their cars when it’s cold. “They have nowhere to go … they don’t have any resources,” he said.

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