Irish Americans prepare for onslaught of Hurricane Irene
Bars and other businesses prepare for incoming storm
New York City residents are bracing themselves for one of the worst storms in decades, as hurricane Irene approaches the coastal city.
One block from the ocean in Belle Harbor, Queens, customers in the Irish Harbor Lights Pub are not sure what to expect but have been told they must evacuate.
Living in the area for three decades, bartender Harvey Pedersen said he has never experienced a storm of this magnitude.
Pedersen says his customers are preparing for the worst, but many think the media frenzy is over-exaggerated.
“A lot of people think the storm is being over publicized,” he told IrishCentral.
“People with houses are worried about leaving,” he said, adding “Hurricane Katrina scared everybody.”
Bronx resident Orla Ryan’s vacation plans hang in the balance, as she doubts her flight to California on Sunday will go ahead.
“I am supposed to fly Sunday morning with Continental but they said for now the flight isn’t cancelled,” the Tipperary woman told Irish Central. “It’s the only week off I have had all summer,” she reflected.
Even if her flight does go ahead, she remains unsure about how she would get to the airport. “To be honest I am a bit worried about power outages and getting around, one of my concerns was even getting to the airport as there will probably be no subways.
” After living in New York for almost ten years, Fermanagh man, Gavin Doherty admits he has never witnessed weather warnings like this. The owner of the Dark Horse bar in the financial district admits they are just taking it day by day.
“I am worried, I don’t want a hurricane to ruin the business, but you don’t really know what to expect,” he admitted. “A lot of people are even getting out of town, if it gets really bad we will end up closing but for now we are going to wait it out and assess the damage,” he told Irish Central. In Astoria, Queens,
Cork man Ruairi Curtin was making preparations for the incoming storm when he spoke to IrishCentral.
The proprietor of Sweet Afton bar said safety is the number one priority .
“We may decide to close early to ensure our customers and staff get home safely if the weather starts to get out of hand.
“The last thing we want is a bunch of customers stuck in the bars at 4am with no way home.”
At O’Neill’s Bar in midtown bartender Robbie Hogan from Meath was hoping for the best.
“It is quite scary what they are predicting.’ he said. “I hope it doesn’t come to that, we’d be happy to get a major Irish rainstorm but hopefully nothing worse."
In response to the storm all Gaelic Park fixtures have been cancelled this Sunday.
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