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Queens Chronicle

Howard Beach struggles to return to normal after Hurricane Sandy

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Posted: Friday, November 2, 2012 4:53 pm | Updated: 7:11 pm, Fri Nov 2, 2012.

Rockaway Boulevard seems to be the dividing line between normalcy and struggle. 

In Woodhaven, Ozone Park and Richmond Hill, traffic lights are working as they normally do and the A and J trains are rolling over Liberty and Jamaica avenues. Stores are open and most streets are clear.

But south of Rockaway Boulevard, it's a different world. Police direct traffic on Cross Bay Boulevard where traffic lights are out south of Liberty Avenue. In residential areas, power outages are scattered with some areas, like 96th Street, in the dark and other blocks, like 149th Avenue, with power. 

NYPD trailers sit on Cross Bay Boulevard in Howard Beach, along with Jamaica Hospital Medical Center's mobile healthcare unit and work trucks from National Grid and Con Edison, which have begun working on the power situation in the area. Con Ed said it could be another week before power is completely restored in the neighborhood, but hopes to make some progress along the commercial strip by early next week. Con Edison estimates the power should be completely restored in the neighborhood by Nov 9. 

The only businesses open are the ones cleaning out after the storm surge inundated Cross Bay Boulevard with as much as 10 feet of water. The Queens County Savings Bank branch at 156th Avenue and Cross Bay Boulevard has begun drying out. 

Cars totaled by the floodwaters remain in the middle of residential streets and on sidewalks as far north as 156th Avenue, where Shellbank Basin rose onto the streets and flooded the area around Waldbaum's with five feet of water. 

Russo's On The Bay said it did not suffer serious damage as a result of the hurricane and would be open this weekend to honor wedding and event reservations. 

Farther south in the Rockaways, the Federal Emergency Management Agency began opening locations at Fort Tilden, Beach 116th Street and at the 100th Precinct on Rockaway Beach Boulevard and Beach 94th Street to hand out food, water and supplies for survivors still on the peninsula.

In Broad Channel, supplies began arriving at the American Legion Hall on Cross Bay Boulevard. Among the donations sent to the neighborhood — a keg of beer.

George Russo, the owner of Villa Russo, a catering hall in Richmond Hill, donated the keg to residents stranded in Broad Channel. Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park), celebrating his second day of fatherhood, brought the keg to the neighborhood while making a run to bring supplies to his constituents in the Rockaways.

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