Fallen trees plague north Queens, marinas suffer Sandy’s wrath

Debris collected in the corner of the College Point Yacht Club's shipyard after Hurricane Sandy brought high water to the area. Photo by Colin DeVries
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Scores lost power in the College Point and Whitestone areas after trees fell throughout both neighborhoods Monday and Tuesday, while northern Queens marinas faced the harsh reality unleashed by Hurricane Sandy.

Greg Varitimidis, a Greek immigrant who lives on 130th Street in College Point, said he lost power at 9 p.m. Monday and had not had power restored as of 1 p.m. Tuesday. He witnessed power lines flashing near his home and shooting sparks toward nearby houses during the early morning hours Tuesday.

A large tree rested on a home at 13-28 141st St. in Whitestone and a neighbor worked Tuesday to clear some of the debris on the street.

“It’s been five years since I put a complaint in about these trees,” said next-door neighbor Steven Nathanial, “and nothing’s been done.”

Nathanial attempted to have the large trees with weak roots removed independently, but tree pruners could not follow through with his plan without a city permit.

“You can’t get (the city) to do it and you can’t do it,” he said. “Then you have thousands of insurance dollars wasted.”

Northern Queens marinas were hit hard by the superstorm, but some fared better than others.

The College Point Yacht Club, a private members-only club storing more than 230 vessels, was largely intact with the majority of boats unharmed. Debris throughout the shipyard was moved by rising waters, but a turtle and Koi fish were evacuated from their habitat on the grounds and are doing well.

“There’s been worse,” said Rich Shubert, a longtime member who lives in Whitestone. “The Noreaster in the early ‘90s — in that one, the water came so fast you couldn’t do anything.”

Artie McCrossen, vice commodore of the club, said he had visions of much more damage.

“I was leery about coming down here because I didn’t want to see the mess,” he said.

Club member Rich Swanson’s boat had been totaled after a nearby sailboat broke loose and smashed against the side of his fishing boat. He hoped his insurance would cover the repairs.

Bayside Marina, however, did not get through the storm as easily, according to co-owner Martin Munch.

“Our docks took a really bad beating,” he said. “We’re not sure if they are going to be salvageable.”

Munch said crews at the marina on Little Neck Bay off the Cross Island Parkway worked hard to take boats of the water in the week leading up to Hurricane Sandy.

The marina was able to remove about 60 boats from the water in the past week, although the marina’s season officially ended Oct. 31.

The damage, Munch said, was much greater than that caused by Tropical Storm Irene, which made landfall in the area last year.

Hurricane Sandy brought about 3 feet of water into the clubhouses, destroying boaters’ lockers, cooking appliances and the concession stand.

“This is the worst that I’ve ever seen,” he said.

Updated 12:30 pm, November 3, 2012
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