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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Businesses struggle after Sandy
By Mary Malloy and Brian Croce
Brian Croce/Herald
Although Lynbrook businesses were affected by the storm, said Chamber President Bill Gaylor, they are reaching out to neighboring communities that have suffered much worse due to Hurricane Sandy.

Many East Rockaway businesses took a direct hit from Hurricane Sandy — both physically and financially.

“I had to throw out amps worth hundreds of dollars,” said Paul Lanzetta, the longtime owner of East Rockaway Music, on Main Street, whose storage basement was inundated by almost three feet of water during the storm. “Not only did it ruin all the merchandise, but the condensation came up to the main floor and the walls were soaked. We got it from every angle.”

But the store is now open for business, and Lanzetta’s students are once again taking voice, guitar and drum lessons. “We have to carry on, don’t we?” he said.

Debbie Hirschberg, president of the Chamber of Commerce and a manager at Capital One Bank farther west on Main Street, said that she left her car in the bank’s parking lot during the storm, thinking it would be safer there than near her home in Bay Park. “I was worried about flooding and falling trees near my house … but the car was totaled,” she said. “There was water in it up to the dashboard.” Hirschberg added that the water and wind from the storm blew out wall panels inside the bank.

A few businesses were left unscathed — the East Rockaway Paint and Hardware store, across from the music store, never even lost electricity — but others have yet to reopen, and some never will.

“Colori Bella won’t be coming back,” Hirschberg said of the hair salon on west Main Street. “They moved to Oceanside. And Bagels and a Hole Lot More, across from them, haven’t reopened either. It’s just awful.”

The post office has been closed since the storm, and all of its mail is being rerouted through the Lynbrook post office, on Broadway. “The building is under construction,” Officer in Charge Rachel Philip said of the East Rockaway facility. “There was a lot of flooding, but no mail was lost. It may take months, but we will reopen.” Philip said that all of the East Rockaway postal employees have moved over to Lynbrook, and that the Island Park post office is working out of the Lynbrook facility as well.

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