It’s now been four days since Scarsdale was hit by Sandy – and the truth is many of us were walloped. First there was the anticipation and preparation for the storm that began before the weekend. Then the wind roared into town and scared many of us silly. I know I spent the night running to and from the window – trying to look outside to see the action and then skittering away from the glass for fear I’d be speared by a flying tree. Monday night thousands lost their heat and light and nothing has been normal since. We’re cold, we’re displaced and we’re discombobulated.
Our normal routines are gone and plans are out the window. Everywhere we turn there are obstacles – broken trees, downed wires, yellow tape, gas lines, traffic, closures and cancellations.
And since many in the New York area are in far more dire straits than we are, power crews have been deployed to help the worst off first. No one has even provided an estimate of when repairmen will come to town. I sent a note to our local Con Edison representative hoping to get a timetable and received nothing back. Perhaps their communications system is out as well?
The silence from our local government is also deafening. I asked the Mayor for a comment on the storm and what residents could expect and days later I received a terse reply that reiterated a few sentences from an email from the Village Manager. There was no mention of support for those who are cold, blocked in by wires and trees or without transportation. Additional emails to the Village from the neighborhood association about rescheduling Halloween trick or treating were also left unanswered.
Fortunately the generosity of Scarsdale residents is evident everywhere. Some have welcomed chilly neighbors to stay at their homes. Others are hosting dinner parties for friends and offering use of their showers and washing machines. Synagogues and the JCC have sent invitations to the community to stop by to warm up and use power outlets.
However, with 4,200 people without heat and temperatures dropping into the 30’s this weekend, more needs to be done. The Village needs to be more transparent and demonstrate some concern for the welfare of the residents:
- If anyone from the Village is meeting with Con Edison to advocate for Scarsdale let us know. Only scant details have been forwarded about prioritization of resources. If we are not going to have the heat back on for another ten days, advise residents to make whatever arrangements they can to leave home before the temperature dips below freezing, as is forecasted for Sunday.
- When progress is made, share that as well. A Scarsdale10583 reader just posted a comment on the site saying he saw four trucks on Weaver Street last night and Weaver is now open. Can the Village let us know as streets are reopened?
- A presidential election is to be held this coming Tuesday and many are wondering how we will vote. I tried to reach Village Hall today to find out what plans were being made, but with no phones and no email I found out nothing.
- And last, where is the love? The Village should make some gesture to show compassion. Hand out hot chocolate in the Village, offer a free hot meal, send vans to transport the elderly to the market or utilize Village-owned property to shelter those in need. These are just a few ideas of what could be done to ease the pain.
We’re facing perhaps the biggest crisis in the history of Scarsdale and it’s not clear who, if anyone, is leading the way.
Photos by Sarah Schuman