At the first meeting of the Lindenwood Alliance after Hurricane Sandy, President Joann Ariola and other officials updated the members on the group’s post-hurricane efforts in the community.
Deputy Inspector Thomas Pascale, commanding officer of the 106th Precinct, attended the meeting to discuss the NYPD’s response to the storm. He said that during the hurricane and blackout that followed, officers worked a 12-hour shift which, with additional officers from the Bronx and the overlapping shifts, gave him the ability to assign 50 police officers in addition to the supervisors to the Howard Beach community at night.
The inspector acknowledged a rise in crime during the hurricane. He said a couple of businesses were burglarized as were some residences where people had evacuated.
Pascale said there was no looting in Howard Beach, though there were many 911 calls of suspicious people in the neighborhood with flashlights walking down the street and people in backyards, activity which turned out to be nothing illegal. He thanked the residents for the calls on reporting their suspicions.
Pascale asked residents with uninsured cars destroyed by the hurricane to remove the vehicles from the street.
“We don’t have the assests to take those cars off the road,” Pascale said.
Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Far Rockaway) also attended the meeting.
Goldfeder, who lives in Rockaway, said that his home sustained significant damage and that about 85 percent of his district was damaged by either water or fire.
“Three generations of memories were lost,” Goldfeder said of what he suffered personally. “The trauma is so deep.”
The assemblyman said he had intended to stay in his home during the hurricane but was forced to evacute as 4 feet of water rushed into his basement. He found refuge in the 101st Precinct in Rockaway and spent four days living there.
“Just to see the sheer impact and how people put themselves out there on the line to help other people — for me it’s just so important to say thank you to everybody,” said Goldfeder.
Lindenwood resident Sheila Shale commented that the community was very fortunate that Waldbaum’s and Tuscany Deli and the bank had power. She asked if there was a backup plan in place should power be knocked out on the scale of Hurricane Sandy again.
“That’s perhaps, something that we should think about because without Waldbaum’s and the laundromat and Chase Bank and Tuscany this whole neighborhood would be totally and literally at a standstill,” said Shale.
Joe Trotta, representing the Lindenwood Shopping Center, said management there was looking into a natural gas generator and where it would be placed.
Ariola discussed the Alliance’s charity drive and donation center for hurricane victims and the group’s donation to the River Fund and how the Fund helps the community.
She said a contribution will be made to the Rockwood Park Jewish Center, which suffered over $1 million in damage from the storm and has provided free meeting space to the group.
She also related that the Alliance has received gifts cards from Waldbaum’s and Target which will be distributed to area victims of the hurricane.
Ariola said her organization will be making a donation to the River Fund which has also provided turkeys and other foodstuffs to the community.
“The River Fund was a ‘Storm Angel,’” Ariola said.
The Alliance will also be sponsoring families through Tuscany Deli’s “Adopt-a-Family” program. Marly Gurino, co-owner of the deli, said she had received over $4,000 in cash contributions for the program.
Also, a bit of good news after the hurricane was reported:
“Laura,” the homeless woman on Cross Bay Boulevard, survived the hurricane and is believed to now be living in a shelter.