None of the three villages emerged unscathed from Hurricane Sandy, whose wrath ripped trees from the ground, knocked out power lines and snapped utility poles, and necessitated road closings in more than 43 percent of the communities, and crippled many local businesses.
Most municipalities, including Irvington, Sleepy Hollow and Tarrytown, declared states of emergency before the Hudson River crashed through barriers on Westchester and Rockland coastlines.
President Obama declared Westchester County a disaster area the Friday after Hurricane Sandy, making residents eligible for federal disaster assistance. Residents can register online at www.disasterassistance.gov, by phone at 800-621-3362, or by TTY at 800-462-7585 for the speech- or hearing- impaired.
Small businesses that suffered damage from Hurricane Sandy can apply for up to $25,000 in loans for replacing and repairing facilities or equipment. Owners can also use the loan as working capital if they need to restart their business operations. Those that qualify for the loans — in partnership with Cuomo, the New York Bankers Association (NYBA) and the New York Business Development Corporation (NYBDC) — will receive six-month interest-free and payment-free loans, which then revert to a 1% interest rate for the next two years. For information, visit www.esd.ny.gov or call 1-855-NYS-SANDY.
Below is a partial aftermath of the storm that caused more than 650,000 people in New York City and Westchester County to lose electricity, per Con Edison.
The Irvington Historical Society has been racing the clock to prevent mold damage since its archives were submerged in water.
“We have a ceiling 16 feet high, and the water came four feet up the (retaining) wall,” said Betty Wilson, ex officio trustee. Temporarily relocated on the third floor of another Bridge Street Properties-owned building, the archives, once located at the 1 Bridge Street complex, are looking for a new home.
“We’ve sent out an appeal, and are grateful to Bridge Street Properties for helping us find another nearby location, at least for the time being,” Wilson said. “Conservation is required when moving the archives. We’ve had one professional come in to advise us, and, needless to say, it’s a learning experience.”
Historical Society President Andy Lyons said the archives will be in their interim home for at least one year.
“They’re protected where they are, out of the danger of wetness and mildew, and they have room to dry,” Lyons said. A greater concern is stabilizing items that were damaged, and then restoring and re-cataloging the collection, important to the history of Irvington.
“Consultants will be called in later to help us determine priorities in terms of damaged works, and for help with the preservation portion,” he said. “They (artifacts) have to be cleaned and washed, even the documents, and we’ll need professional help.”
The 20 to 25 separate businesses at Irvington’s Bridge Street Properties, the most condensed business area in the surrounding rivertowns, were hit hard. Owners arranged a meeting with local and state officials and government agencies mid-November to discuss restoration and reconstruction.
“The degree to which there is recovery is the degree to which there is insurance,” Village Administrator Lawrence Schopfer said. “It’s money-driven, and FEMA is a loan, it’s not a grant.”
When the first high tide at 11 a.m. showed water levels rising beyond previous levels, Schopfer said the village worked with Con Edison to cut the power. The majority of storm damage was in the parks and waterfront — due to high winds and the overflowing river, rather than rains — and 20 of Scenic Hudson Park’s 100 bulk heads floated away.
“Besides the damage to Scenic Hudson Park (on the waterfront), the rest of our costs were associated with preparing for the storm, responding to emergencies during and after the storm, and cleaning up and collecting organic storm debris (branches, etc.),” Schopfer said.
Eileen Fisher LAB Store, which also suffered extensive water damage, told customers via the Green Eileen Facebook page on November 1, “Due to extensive storm damage to 2 Bridge Street and the Lab Store, all GREEN EILEEN fall classes and workshops have been cancelled. We are busy rescheduling and adding new workshops for our winter-into-spring calendar.”
Some waterfront restaurants may take months to repair, and many lost food and revenue when their walk-in coolers had no electricity. Waterfront eatery Chutney Masala, at 4 W. Main Street, sustained three feet of water damage on its wooden floor, requiring new equipment, electrical outlets and wall coverings.
Owners Anu and Navjot Arora, who spent about $500,000 to renovate the Indian/Pakistani restaurant they opened nearly five years ago, are without flood insurance. Its home page told visitors it sustained extensive and significant damages to the first floor, and would keep them updated there and via Facebook.
“We’ve been getting supportive emails from friends and customers, telling us they can’t wait for us to re-open,” Chef Navjot said after Thanksgiving, adding they hope to reopen before Christmas, if not sooner.
Renae Cohen Antiques temporarily relocated to the second floor, said a sign directing UPS and Federal Express.
A note posted November 11 on the home page of Red Hat on the River told patrons, “We will be back with a vengeance!” after the hurricane caused significant damage to its entrance and first floor.
Promising to reopen as soon as possible, the Red Hat Team wrote, “Thanks to our incredible staff and skilled workmen, we’ve already made great progress. Thank you all so much for your words of concern and encouragement. It helps tremendously. We are lucky to be part of a wonderful, caring community of patrons, neighbors, friends, police, firefighters and village employees.”
Hudson Harbor Marketing Director Paul Janos said the development suffered nary a windburn from Hurricane Sandy. “There was no damage,” Janos said. “The wires are underground, and it’s on a higher grade, so there was no electrical loss and no flooding.”
Despite the setbacks, power outages, hardships and waterfront flooding, “The storm did bring out the best in a lot of people, and they really did help each other through the lack of power,” Village Administrator Michael Blau said.
“The Community Opportunity Center came to the forefront and provided a shelter, and I have to say the village staff — police, department of public works, fire department — did a wonderful job dealing with the storm. It’s a real positive and shows their commitment to the business community.”
Reports of village property damage — two vehicles, some equipment at the recreation building, the boiler, other equipment — were submitted to its insurance company, with FEMA picking up the gap. “The contract work on the Andre Brook (Restoration Project) got washed away and has to be restored,” Blau said, adding that despite a small delay, it’s still on target for one-year completion.
Building department fees for storm-related damages will ultimately be waived, pending approval of legislation Blau drafted, also allowing the board to waive fees by resolution after other storms. “The Board has to pass a local law allowing it to waive fees,” he explained, and “the language of the law makes it (waiver) retroactive to the storm.”
The item was removed from its November 19 agenda, pending additional work. About one dozen boats at the Washington Irving Boat Club were damaged, yet its Facebook page announced on November 4, “The Boat Club took some damage during Hurricane Sandy, but will be back better than ever!”
No sooner did Sunset Cove Restaurant—which sustained four feet of water and flood damage — reopen than its owners collected donations with the Tarrytown Fire Department, and offered a 10% food bill discount for anyone who donated there.
Offering a reprieve from cabin fever, the restaurant’s November 2 Facebook post said, in part, “Just wanted to inform you all that we are now back in action and open for lunch and dinner! If you need to get out of the house, come down and see the aftermath of Sandy for yourself!!”
The mid-November balmy, crisp Sunday air belied what happened three weeks earlier. Sunset Cove’s A la Carte/Banquet Manager Ryan Decker said the restaurant suffered little damage, and not much water. “We had the restoration team in, and we fared pretty well.”
Dockmaster Ted Tenenzapf reported that the Tarrytown Boat Club’s one lost boat floated off its trailer and was recovered the next day.
“I blocked all of out our boats a little extra high for this storm,” Tenenzapf said, adding, “We did have water damage and lots of wind damage. And all of our chocking materials and dingys, kayaks, jetski port, floated away, and (we) lost some stuff.”
He said electrical buildings were submerged four feet deep; docks and piles suffered wind damage as did the shop, utilities room, gas dock and office equipment.
A sign on its entrance says “Open to the Public,” however Striped Bass restaurant, which sustained five feet of water damage, is closed until March 1, 2013. Holiday parties are being booked at management’s White Plains eatery, The Cabin Restaurant.
“Lots of reorganization effort, lots of clean up,” Tenenzapf said. Good news, though, was the return of the resident kittens — and with a little tiny kitten as well.
“This spring I found six little kittens in a box in the garbage, (and) after the storm, knowing we had five feet of water all around us, they went missing, and we were all very sad,” he said. “Special thanks to all those who helped me get up and running again, and who helped get cat food.”
Weather forced cancellation of Sleepy Hollow Haunted Hayride’s final night for the second straight year. Volunteers dismantled the elaborate thriller in Douglas Park just in time, preserving Animatronics, props and sets. All unused tickets will be honored next October.
Sleepy Hollow Cemetery — through which the Hayride passes — sustained little damage and a few downed trees, according Jim Logan, historian of the 90-acre memorial grounds.
No village property was damaged although there was a fire on County House Road, Village Administrator Anthony Giaccio said. “A portion of the street was burned, and a few houses were damaged, one severely, as well as a few private vehicles.”
While three parks were closed because of branches and downed power lines, Sleepy Hollow’s waterfront came away unscathed. “The village took precautions, and we removed equipment before the storm,” he said.
Historic Hudson Valley cancelled several programs and tours because of storm damage, also refunding ticketholders. The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze continued the first two weekends post-Sandy. Horseman’s Hollow told its Facebook followers emergency measures in area municipalities forced cancellation of its October 28 performances of Horseman’s Hollow and Irving’s Legend, and assured ticketholders they will be automatically refunded. The post ended with, “This is a big bummer for all of us.”
“The sites sustained little physical damage, and we were really lucky,” said HHV Director of Public Relations, Rob Schweitzer. “Sunnyside, Philipsburg, Kykuit and our main office (Pocantico Hills) lost power, and the sites had nothing substantial happen, just a few trees downed.”
Those who missed the final performances of Legend’s storyteller Jonathan Kruk can listen to him share “A Christmas Carol,” with musical accompaniment, at the Old Dutch Church in Sleepy Hollow during the first four Saturdays of this month.