As Cold Snap Hits, Some Sandy Victims Still Lack Heat

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

As temperatures dip many residents of the Rockaways, an area hard hit by Sandy, are among the 8,200 still without power in the aftermath of the powerful storm that tore through the seaside community.

At a bodega on 90th Street in Rockaway Louis DeCarolis, 57, grabbed a coffee to warm his chapped hands on Wednesday during what was shaping up to be the coldest week of the season. His family lives in this dust-swept stretch of Queens and his son and grandkids are living without heat.

DeCarolis said his son Randy is practically living in his kitchen so he can be near the warmth provided by the oven.

“He’s piled everyone into the kitchen," DeCarolis said. "We put a sheet up over the kitchen door and we use the oven. That’s where the three dogs, my ex-wife, my son, my daughter in law and both my grandkids sleep."

“It's pretty rough since Sandy hit us,” he added.

Down the block is a dry cleaners, one of the few in this area. The owner, Xiao Mei Zhang, 37, and her 20-month-old son, Raymond, were bundled in quilted jackets on a recent morning. The thermometer above the door inside was stuck at 20 degrees. She could see her breath.

“It’s so cold,” she said. “Please, help us."

Zhang reopened the store after Christmas. Her husband buys $40 worth of gas from Flushing every morning to run a generator. And every week the landlord says power and heat will be back soon, Zhang said.

There's a CVS in a trailer nearby and a sign shop next door, and her dry cleaners remains open in what residents otherwise consider a ghost town. Many shops are shuttered.

“I don't want to stay, I want to close it, but customers they need clothes,” Zhang said. “Still I need to pay bills. It drives me crazy.”

Follow the white contractor vans down the street, which are fixing one house at a time, and you end up at Alex Ocasio's on 110th Street, another home without heat. Repairs aren't coming fast enough, he said. An agitated neighbor scurries out of Ocasio’s apartment.

“He's coming to see if I have any heat. Nobody has any heat,” Ocasio said.

Ocasio had been boiling pots of water since Sandy, but finally got electricity recently and can run several small heaters now.

The Long Island Power Authority said it can’t restore power, which for some means heat, until landlords make repairs and get proper electrical certificates. New boilers are also up to the landlord.


More in:

Comments [3]

Ola zumba from Rockaway

If u leave in Rockaway obviously you not have electric the list they could do give everybody a gift card for food no instead they want you to be on welfare I'm just saying !

Jan. 26 2013 07:29 PM

More of Obama's white victims suffering. Obama is a racist and is pocketing the money that should be used for the victims.

Jan. 25 2013 12:26 PM
Rita Crespi

there was a time when the law would force slumlords to live in the hovels they owned and operated. i think the time has come to make some of our politicians, FEMA and various agency heads to be given the same treatment. When Sandy first hit, I said that the NorthEast would not suffer the same treatment as New Orleans. I thought the politicians would be more afraid of the tough, savvy residents. I see now that I was wrong. I keep hoping that someone will organize some kind of demonstration, but how can that happen? People are still without heat or proper shelter. How many more body bags will they need after this freezing weather? This is an absolute disgrace and the powers that be should be ashamed of themselves. If this happened in a foreign country, we would be airlifting supplies, temporary homes and anything else they needed. There are plenty of ways to help....RV's, pre-fab houses etc.

Jan. 23 2013 09:28 PM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.


Latest Newscast




WNYC is supported by the Charles H. Revson Foundation: Because a great city needs an informed and engaged public


Supported by