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Coping in the Dark, Long Islanders Learn to Live With Less Power

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Long Islanders are finding ways to do more than less, as a whopping 646,512 customers remain without power island-wide. It’s been tough, but they’re finding ways to cope, as the latest estimates from the Long Island Power Authority are likely to leave them in the dark for seven to ten days.

Melissa Cortez said she’s given up searching for a generator, after traveling far and wide to hunt one down.

"We've been to five different Home Depots and Loew's,” she said, having traveled all the way from Queens Village.  “Not happening.”

Instead, she’s going to drive two hours to her sister’s place in Connecticut where there is power.

For others, traveling to family elsewhere isn’t an option. Joe Piciulo, from Malverne, said he’s run out of gas for his generator, which he bought after a particularly bad storm left him in the dark. His family live on Long Island, too and is in the same predicament he’s in.

"Everyone's pretty much in the same shape. My mom is out east, Riverhead, she's out of power. I have another brother in Franklin Square, he's out of power. So we're all pretty much in the same boat,” he explained.

Piciullo tried several gas stations, but said he they either didn’t have power, or they didn’t have gas.

In the meantime, locations that offer free wi-fi, or outlets to plug in electronics, have become safe havens for many Long Islanders.

Sixteen-year-old Austin Son and his friends have set up a work station with laptops, and a power strip to charge their phones, at a Panera Bread in New Hyde Park that has power.

He said he typically spends four to six hours a day there, watching movies, chatting with friends, and doing homework. Life outside of Panera, he said, has become pretty boring.

“It's really dark.....I usually fall asleep around 11, but since I don't have power, it gets kinda dark around like 8,” he said. “So I just fall asleep, and then just come here as early as I can, and stay here as long as possible, and then go back home, fall asleep. And it goes on like that."

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