Nearly all of Five Towns to have power Monday


Updated Aug. 9 at  8:30 p.m.

Five days after Tropical Stom Isaias whipped through the Five Towns and PSEG-Long Island customers remain without power.  Nearly all Five Towns customers should have power on Monday, according to PSEG. 

In Hewlett, 60 customers are in the dark. Woodmere 36,  Inwood 21,  Lawrence 20 and Atlantic Beach and Cedarhurst are less than 5. Far Rockaway remains an outlier with 140 customers with no power and restoration not until Tuesday.

At least four Hewlett businesses that were without power -- Ambiance Salon, Eyes on Broadway, Hewlett Jewelers and The Pizza Place --  had their power restored on Aug. 8, said Hewlett-Woodmere Business Association President David Friedman.

After being closed for nearly three months and then reopening when pemitted,  Ali Artz, owner of Ambiance Salon in Hewlett,  said a power outage did not stop her from serving her customers. 

When the lights  were off, Artz  kept her doors open and offered hair coloring, hair cuts and nail appointments all being done with the requisite while social distancing. Ambiance was without power since Aug. 4 because of Tropical Storm Iasias. Her staff, which Artz calls "her team" is used natutal light in the salon. The staff was also making house calls. "My team has been amazing," she said. "Everyone pitched  in and did what they could to accommodate the clients."

Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency  for Long Island, Queens, the Bronx and State Island as well as Westchester and a few other counties north on Aug. 5. "We're taking an all-hands -on-deck approach and activating every resource at our disposal to epedite communities' recovery from the impacts of Tropical Storm Isaias, Cuomo said in a statement.  

For Five Towners the primary issue was  PSEG's storm response. 

Hewlett resident Andrew Liebowitz sent a photo through  Facebook Messenger at 2:43 p.m. on Aug. 7 that showed the power to his home was restored. "Finaly," he posted. "Im very upset that PSEG did not learn from Hurricane Sandy," Hewlett resident Andrew Liebowitz wrote in a previous Facebook message to the Herald. "Why weren't branches cut down on a regular basis or rotted, potentially troublesome trees for that matter? I'm livid! I'm now extended until Saturday night at 10 p.m. This is awful."

“PSEG-Long Island’s entire communications system broke down,” said Friedman, another Hewlett resident,  in response to a Herald Facebook post. “You could not get through on the phone, their app, the web page or texting. My power went out at 2:30 p.m. and came back on at 9:30 p.m., after I called Senator Todd Kaminsky’s aide who called in a repair order to a contact he has at PSEG-LI.”

Barbara Thompson said her experience with PSEG was identical. “Was very disappointed about the lack of communication and as of today at this very moment my neighbors and I on Roger Avenue inn, Inwood still are without power,” she posted on Facebook. “I did not reach out to the Senator’s contact because I know that many are without power and wanted to wait and give PSEG at least 24 hours to see if power on Roger Avenue would be restored. I pray that this will happen before nightfall. There are many in need of electricity for medical equipment, life vest,  nebulizer, oxygen, etc.”

Another Inwood resident, Miguel Martinez, write on Facebook: “Waiting for the electricity to come back on. Everyone has power, but me. When PSEG put a new electric poll, up earlier this year they switched the location of my power line, instead of in front of tree, they put it through the branches of the tree, I don't know why? That led to the failure. But what bothers me the most, is that PSEG, doesn’t even care to know what’s going on. They do not respond to anything (phone, internet, text, instant messaging, etc). Had to call 911 to let them know that I have a downed power line, which is still active. I’m waiting for the tree to catch on fire.”

On Wahl Avenue in Inwood, Frank Manzo was relatively unscathed by the storm. “We were fortunate,” he said, “we only lost power for about 15 minutes, but that’s it. Just some small trees and limbs down by me.”

Warren Rosenbloom who lives on Columbia Avenue in Cedarhurst rcounted his close call. “A tree came down near my apartment building,” he said. “My car was parked about three spots from the tree as it fell on a dumpster.”

Hewlett resident Mark Philip posted this response to storm issues on Facebook: "Many of the downed trees and branches that caused fires and damage should have been trimmed back by PSEG months ago," he said.

A delegation of six Long Island State Senators: John Brook, James Gaughran, Todd Kaminsky, Anna Kaplan, Monica Martinez and Kevin Thomas sent a letter to the New York State Attornry General asking for an investigation.

"While a powerful storm is beyond anyone's control, the breakdown of these entities' communications systems prohibiting Long Islanders from contacting customer service and reporting power outages is a deeply troubling failure that must be probed," Kaminsky said in a statement. "This communications collapse is unacceptable to hardworking PSEG-LI ratepayers, many of whom were seeking to report dangerous situations created by downed power lines and live wires. Long Islanders are understandably frustrated, not only from having lost power, but also as a result of PSEG-LI's inability to effectively receive and disseminate information during the storm and to respond appropriately to outages across the island."

There was a silverlining to the power going out on Aug. 5. "Rock and Wrap It Up! received a call at 5 p.m. from Trader Joe's that their power went out," Syd Mandebaum posted on Facebook. "We jumped into action and by 7 p.m. 7 ,000 pounds of food was given out at the Five Towns Community Center by Gammy's  Pantry to over 250 familes . Diane Mandelbaum , Cheryl Mirkin and I moved all the food ourselves. Sasha Young arrannged for a team to come in and organized the donation."

Young said it was like manna for heaven. "I  have to say the storm was nothing short of a miracle for the hundreds of families in Gammy's Pantry that were able to benefit at the FTCC," she write on Facebook. "Hundreds lined the property around the building til well after dark.  So many grateful faces ! Our volunteers have heart! Thank you Rock  and Wrap It Up ! We appreciate you!!"