Blackouts plague northeast Queens

Rich Swanson's boat may have been totalled because of Hurricane Sandy after a sailboat collided with it at the College Point Yacht Club. Photo by Colin DeVries
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Hundreds lost power in College Point and Whitestone after trees toppled throughout both neighborhoods, while northeast Queens marinas faced the harsh reality unleashed by Hurricane Sandy, according to Consolidated Edison.

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 Thursday. 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.”

Susan Seinfeld, the Community Board 11 district manager, said her Bayside office lost power for only one day in the aftermath of the storm and was back working by Wednesday. Aside from reports of downed trees in areas from Little Neck and Douglaston to Bayside, Seinfeld said residents have fared well since the storm moved on.

“Everyone here has to really deep down feel very grateful that they weren’t as unfortunate as those in Lower Manhattan, Staten Island, or the Rockaways,” Seinfeld said.

Areas closer to Whitestone and College Point were hit much harder, according to City Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone). In a news briefing Thursday, Halloran said thousands of residents throughout his council district were without power, and the city should have been better prepared.

“Con Ed crews have been hauling, but we need new solutions from management,” Halloran said while acknowledging that areas such as Breezy Point still experienced much more detrimental effects of the storm than the northern part of the borough.

As of Thursday evening, Con Ed reported just under 90,000 customers in Queens without power - hundreds of whom came from the Whitestone and College Point region. But far more were out in southeast Queens.

The College Point Yacht Club, a private members-only club that stores more than 230 vessels, was largely intact with the majority of boats unharmed.

“There’s been worse,” said Rich Shubert, a longtime member who lives in Whitestone. “The nor’easter in the early ‘90s — in that one, the water came so fast you couldn’t do anything.”

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. He said the overall damage has not been completely assessed, but repairs needed for the Bayside Marina dock alone could cost at least $250,000.

“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.

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.

Reach managing editor Colin DeVries at or by phone at 718-260-4541. Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4573.

Posted 3:45 am, November 2, 2012
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Reader feedback

christina from 10th ave says:
My 90 year old mother is without power
Nov. 3, 2012, 5:39 am
Jerry Iannece from Chair CB 11 says:
Although our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone in the areas where there was massive devastation and loss of life, there are still numerous large pockets throughout our community in northeast Queens where our residents do not have power. Many of these homes are occupied by seniors and residents with special needs. We are being told that it may still be several days before Con Ed gets around to restoring power. Although we understand that in the grand scheme of things we are relatively lucky, the length of time our people have to wait is unacceptable. Furthermore, we have hundreds of downed trees that are blocking literally dozens of streets. The city should have been better prepared and the response is poor. If there is another crisis, how will emergecy vehicles gt through? These conditions are dangerous and unacceptable.
Nov. 3, 2012, 9:07 am
Concerned says:
To All, My name is Stephen Wilson, Im the assistant baseball commissioner at DG. This morning Danelle Brink of Boy Scotts Pack 255 and I delivered a 12x6 enclosed trailer full of clothes which was donated by family and friends of troops of pack 255 in Whitestone. When we were in Broad Channel and the Rockaways, we were asked at every site if we had gloves, paper towels, brooms or other essentials. They do have enough clothes for now to hand out to everyone who has lost everything. So I asked the president and Vice President of DG if we can open up the gym to accept donations of the listed items below. So please stop by DG tomorrow from 7am to 4 pm and donate what you can. Once again, clothes are not needed at the moment. Please see the list below which was posted on Our goal is to deliver all donated items to the firehouse in Breezy Point. PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD TO YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS ABOUT TOMORROW. Thank you DG Boardmembers Toilet paper Paper towels Shopping bags Water Dry food Work gloves Batteries (C and D) Socks Underwear Diapers for all ages Pillows Blankets Contractor garbage bags Shovels Heavy brooms Dust mask Plastic gloves Bleach and other cleaning supplies Mops Buckets Candles Lanterns Flash lights Propane grills Plates Cups Forks, spoons Bowles Traps

Dwarf Giraffe Athletic League, 149-50 15th Rd, Whitestone, Whitestone, NY, 11357,, 718-746-1539
Nov. 3, 2012, 3:07 pm
Lou from Bayside says:
Have all you schmucks had enough of King Bloomberg yet! Our effeminate speaking closeted Mayor has once again failed the citizens. This impish little freak should have spent more time rehearsing emergency scenarios and less time worrying about how much soda I drink. This evil little man is an absolute freak that you idiots voted for 3 times! Great job!
Nov. 4, 2012, 9:03 am
Anonymous from Bayside says:
I am extremely outraged and disgusted by Con Edison for their complete lack of urgency and speed in restoring power to our neighborhood. It took utility companies from other states ie. Wisconsin! to come and restore power to us on Monday, November 5th. On three separate occasions, I witnessed Con Ed workers standing outside their trucks laughing and conversing. Is this what I am paying for every month...for these useless Con Ed workers milking the system with OT payments and taking their sweet time restoring power! COMPLETE AND UTTER SHAME!
Nov. 6, 2012, 8:40 am

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