Hurricane Sandy also smashed into the Irish Community in Woodlawn
Irish neighborhood struggles to restore order after historic superstorm
Woodlawn, an Irish neighborhood situated at the Bronx and Yonkers border, struggles to restore order in the face of power outages, fuel shortages and widespread panic after Hurricane Sandy.
Along its main thoroughfares – Katonah and McLean Avenues, heavily-damaged transformers and ensnared power lines now mark an otherwise unblemished landscape. Fallen trees – along Van Cortlandt Park East, Parkway North, Cox and Old Jerome Avenues – have damaged property, prompted traffic detours and interrupted power services.
“We were without power on Monday night, around 9 p.m.,” says Colleen Murray, an Irish-American mother of a 15-month-old daughter. “We have a generator, but it only runs a small construction light and a fridge. We have to bundle up at night because it gets very cold. And now, Con Edison tells us that we might not get power back until November 10.”
Similarly, Co. Galwaynative Colm O’Neill has “been without power for a few days. There’s no electricity at the house, or at work, so all you can do is hang out in the pub until everything sorts itself.”
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Carmel Redican, a bartender at J.P. Clarke’s Saloon in Yonkers, says, “It was very busy all week. The bars definitely got a boost from it, all straight through . . . busy all through. A lot of people were out of lights, so when you have no power, you come to where there is power.”
In fact, many local businesses have thrived in the aftermath of the hurricane.
“We were one of the fortunate ones,” says Manny Raniolo, co-owner of the McLean Avenue Bagel Café in Yonkers. “We didn’t lose any power, and for our business it had a positive effect. People need food, and some warm place to go, and a place to charge their phone.”
Oliver Charles – owner of The Butcher’s Fancy in Yonkers – experienced “a busy couple of days. People need to eat, and since the A & P [Supermarket] lost power, we definitely saw a lot of new faces in the area.”
Other businesses suffer from a lack of fuel or electricity, however.
“We didn’t have any gas,” says Harpal Arora, owner of a Sunoco gasoline station in Yonkers. “The day before yesterday – Tuesday – we closed around 5 or 6 p.m. We just had super, we didn’t even have regular on Tuesday – zero regular. I’ve never seen anything like that in the last 25 years.”
Co. Tyrone native Sinéad Brogan, co-owner of Katie’s Cottage in Yonkers, says, “We lost power on Monday morning. We have a generator running since Monday. So, our kitchen, we’re just working minimum. We’re open for business, but it’s mostly bar and some food. It’s getting gas to keep the generator going. The gas station up by us is closed because they have no electricity along Central [Ave.] on that side.”
R.J. Puma, owner of Anna Artuso’s Pastry Shop and chairman of the McLean Avenue Merchants Association (M.A.M.A.), says, “We were actually very lucky. The rain seemed to bypass McLean Ave. altogether, which was actually a very lucky thing, but we do have the block where Merk Chemist and Palmer Hardware – that whole block and even by the school – are out of power.”
Saint Barnabas Elementary School in Yonkers, like most academic institutions throughout the area, closed for the week.
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