Avella wants downed trees cleared, power restored in Queens

A broken tree branch dangles over a home's front steps in Flushing. Photo by Christina Santucci
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As New York City tries to rebuild and move forward in the aftermath of the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy, one northeast Queens lawmaker said the borough deserves better.

In a statement issued Thursday, state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) said he has asked Gov. Andrew Cuomo for help in addressing what he called a lack of resources being provided to Queens.

“It is absolutely disgraceful that there are still trees blocking city streets,” Avella said, referring to the more than 5,000 downed, split or uprooted trees Mayor Michael Bloomberg reported in the borough. “There are many trees on people’s homes who have not been contacted by the city and there are thousands upon thousands of people in Queens without power.”

Avella said he planned on asking the state Public Service Commission to investigate Consolidated Edison’s response after the effects of Hurricane Sandy are addressed.

As of Thursday afternoon, Queens posted the second-highest number of customers without power in New York City with 103,000, according to Con Ed’s latest news update. Manhattan had the most customers without power at 227,000.

“You have not been forgotten,” Con Ed said Thursday to one of its Queens customers via Twitter. “Over 100,000 Con Ed customers in Queens and Brooklyn have been restored.”

The utility said Thursday that crews have restored electricity to more than 225,000 customers since the storm’s departure.

“The outage numbers that Con Ed is reporting are completely understated,” Avella said. “The actual numbers are probably three to four times as many customers without power. Con Ed is clearly ignoring the dire situation that exists for many residents without power, including seniors who have health care needs and equipment that depends upon electrical power.”

Con Ed announced that crews restored two underground electrical networks overcome by the storm servicing 2,000 customers in Manhattan and about 28,200 in Brooklyn.

According to Avella, the utility has been telling its customers that priority was being given to Manhattan and Brooklyn. The senator sent a letter to Bloomberg Tuesday, one day after Hurricane Sandy battered the Northeast, saying Con Ed had failed to adequately respond in Queens.

Cuomo announced the National Guard would join with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to deliver 1 million meals and bottled water to parts of Lower Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens, including the battered Rockaways region. The governor said he would visit one distribution site in Manhattan Thursday afternoon.

“The first plane into [John F. Kennedy International Airport] this morning was from FEMA, carrying supplies and personnel we requested,” Cuomo said. “New York state will continue to deploy all our resources in response to Hurricane Sandy and adjust to the needs and concerns of New Yorkers so that we can ensure a safe and speedy recovery.”

Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4573.

Updated 12:30 pm, November 3, 2012
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Reader feedback

lisa from jamaica estates says:
Trees down all over.. power n phone lines blocking in a hospital there and every day another street is blocked denying access...
Nov. 1, 2012, 1:52 pm
Manny from South Ozone Park says:
Con Ed is saying power is out for at least 10 days and people should go to a shelter. With weather like this and Con Edison focusing on the rich folk expect more casualties.
Nov. 1, 2012, 8:01 pm
Brandon from Flushing says:
Obviously preferential treatment is being given to Manhattan. I totally get that this is a huge undertaking for Con Ed, but I have been without power since Monday and not only have I not seen any new lights around here turning back on, I haven't seen a SINGLE Con Edison truck, van or car around ANYWHERE. If I saw just one truck pass by I would be placated, but they are not even assessing our situation yet. We are clearly at the lower end of the queue. The website continues to say that they are "aware" of my area's power less and that there is no "timetable" for restoration, which in reality means, as I said, that they haven't even been by to look at the damage. Sorry I'm not a hipster in lower Manhattan with Mommy and Daddy threatening to leave the city and ruin its oh so great economy. Foo!
Nov. 1, 2012, 8:12 pm
Bock from Hillcrest says:
Two trees toppled onto the road by the side of my house. Road totally blocked. Several schools a block or two away. Its been 4 days. Not a sign of a work crew.

Of course, no power for 4 days and counting ... . Manhattan Bloomberg can't seek a fourth term so he doesn't give a hoot about Queens.

Con Ed is of course a disappearing act. You would think that in addition to doing critical repairs in Manhattan, Con Ed could simultaneously be fixing areas in Queens that aren't flooded that can have power more quickly restored. And yet ... but never mind.
Nov. 1, 2012, 8:54 pm
FROI from Floral park Queens says:
It's totally upsetting that they are giving priorities to Manhattan. The block behind me has power. 2 blocks away, the shopping center has power, 1 block down, they all have power. how come my street does not have power? How do you expect us to live in a 50 degree weather? I have young kids and they are freezing.
Nov. 2, 2012, 1:29 pm
Andy from North Flushing says:
Waste management trucks, check. Verizon FiOS truck, check. Time Warner van, check. MTA buses, check. Con Edison, no show all week. Everyone else seems to be doing their job except Con Edison. I'm not saying don't fix Manhattan quickly but don't take resources away from everyone in the outer boroughs just so businesses, yuppies and college students can have their lights back by tomorrow. The majority of Manhattan's businesses are worked by us that live in the outer boroughs and you're basically saying money and convenience comes before people. The only people upset at Cuomo right now have power or don't know what its like outside of the city.
Nov. 2, 2012, 4:26 pm
Jane from Flushing says:
Con Edison finally showed up on my block this week, but I just saw the workers walk around and do nothing else but talk. They didn't look like they were actually fixing anything. When we drove past and thanked them for their effort in restoring energy they just looked bewildered and had confused smiles. Not a good sign. There's about 20 streets all along the 130s - 150s that have no electricity.

Come on Con Ed, how much longer are you going to force the people of Flushing to endure 30-degree nights? My father just had open heart surgery, he is in no condition to be transported to a local shelter! Get the electricity working NOW!
Nov. 3, 2012, 2:25 am
Jane from Flushing says:
(correction: it's 43-degrees right now but the Weather Channel says it's going down to 36 degrees tomorrow night)

Con Ed: please don't turn this into a humanitarian crisis--get electricity back up ASAP. The elderly, sick, and those that recently had surgery NEED YOUR HELP!
Nov. 3, 2012, 2:29 am
Linda from Flushing, Kissena Park says:
There are so many downed trees that are entangled in electric wires. I just wish I had a chain saw to help the situation. No power since Monday so it's day 6. I have elderly neighbors in their late 80's who have no heat. My house is beginning to feel like an igloo. I live on the north side of the park and feel hopeless. What about the National Guard clearing out some trees. HELP!!!!!!
Nov. 3, 2012, 6:40 am
Micky from Rockaway says:
Barack Obama doesn't care about white people.
Nov. 3, 2012, 3:40 pm
Justin from Queens Village says:
I have not seen one Con Ed truck in this area yet. Ive seen about 6 Verizon trucks but no Con Ed. Where my parents lived in Nassau county LIPA had crews from Virginia removing trees and putting up replacement telephone poles. What has Con Edison done? They have conveniently forgotten about Queens. Thier website shows an outage map and says that everyone from Queens, Brooklyn, and up to upstate power will have restored Nov 9th 11:59 PM! So collectively 300,000 people will all be turned on at the same time.......makes sense. If I have to wait another 6 days I might go insane or freeze to death. Either way I'm not sure Con Ed cares....
Nov. 3, 2012, 5:47 pm
Lou from Bayside says:
Bloomberg is an effeminate speaking closeted freak! You schnooks voted for this elitist snob 3 times! He doesnt give a rats a** about you!
Nov. 3, 2012, 6:39 pm

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