Two weeks after Hurricane Sandy battered Long Beach, leaving thousands of residents without power and water, the Long Island Power Authority, the object of unrelenting public pressure, announced that it had restored power to 97 percent of the homes that are safe to energize in the city, though many residents in the Canals, the West End and other areas remained in the dark.
City officials said that while they would not be satisfied until power was restored to every home, significant progress had been made on the recovery effort.
The water and sewer systems, which were damaged in the storm, were operating once again, and residents were told that they could flush toilets. Water was deemed safe to use and drink by the Nassau County Health Department.
Schools reopened (story, page 8), the post office began delivering mail to 28 of the city’s 31 postal routes, and a number of businesses were back in operation. Power was restored to City Hall, and city spokesman Gordon Tepper said that the Nov. 20 City Council meeting would go on as scheduled, while Long Beach City Court was expected to reopen on Thursday.
“City Hall has reopened for everyday business, so residents who have to pay bills or obtain licenses are welcome to come in and do that,” Tepper said. “The city certainly looks a lot different today than it did two weeks ago.”
The ice arena, the focal point of the local relief effort, stopped accepting donations. “We’ve received so many that we had to shut it down,” Tepper said.
A sense of normalcy was slowly returning, but the city remained under a 6 p.m.-to-6 a.m. curfew. When that would be lifted had yet to be determined, according to city officials, though the mandatory evacuation order was rescinded on Wednesday.
“There is going to be an adjustment period — there is going to be a new normal,” Schnirman said. “And we’re all going to have to work together to make that new normal as best as possible and to expedite the amount of time to get back to where we were.”
According to the city, LIPA was restoring more power each day, and representatives of National Grid were going door to door, providing gas restoration information.