Tropical Storm Irene has come and gone, but its after effects linger on hereabouts. Here are five unusual ways Irene impacted businesses, corporations and individuals in Rye in the aftermath of the flooding that spread across town.
So let us count those ways on the fingers of one hand this time around.
Fong’s Hand Laundry & Cleaners on Elm Street suffered an estimated $70,000 in flood damage to the boiler and compressor in its basement when Blind Brook overflowed, but its owner was ready for its impact so all the clothes inside remained high and dry.
Owner Sam Moy rented trucks Friday and he and his staff moved all the clothes inside those trucks and parked them out of harm’s way.
“We’ve been in business here for 41 years and we’ve been through this once or twice before –six or seven times would be more accurate,” Moy said Tuesday as he and his staff continued the Fong’s clean up. “But our customers come first, so we’ve learned to take every precaution. Yet Mother Nature and Blind Brook never ceases to surprise us.
“I’ve had maybe ten hours sleep in the past several days, but the stress and strain has been worth it because none of the clothing entrusted to us for cleaning has been damaged so our customers have nothing to worry about. And we’ll take care of the repairs downstairs and be up and running better than ever before you know it.”
At Morgans Fish House virtually next door to Fong’s, the restaurant made the front page of The New York Times on Monday the hard way –with a picture of the staff mopping up the floors under a blackboard sign that read:
“Every Tuesday $1 Oysters, half price Margaritas, how lucky can you be?”
Pretty lucky, it turns out even though The Times never identified Morgan's as the restaurant undergoing the clean up in its caption.
“We anticipated the storm coming when we closed shortly after 11 p.m. Saturday night,” said manager Jo Ann McKenzie. “So the staff boarded up the windows, and raised most of the furniture and equipment up high. So we came through relatively unscathed despite some minor internet and phone disruptions.
“We did a staff mop up of around two feet of water from the Blind Brook overflow on Sunday, remained closed Sunday, missed serving lunch Monday, but re-opened Monday for dinner Monday night, and we’re open for business right now,” she said as she and her staff got ready for the Tuesday lunch rush.
Over at the Rye YMCA virtually around the corner from Fong’s and Morgan's, Y executive director Gregg Howells and Ed Phillip, Chief Operating Officer, were supervising a full-time staff of around 30 employees in a clean up Tuesday in the sprawling Y complex at 21 Locust Ave.
The Y has been closed since Sunday, was still closed as of Tuesday, and the powers-that-be were still waiting for power to be restored in the basement boiler room power facility. Limited phone (967-6363) and internet service was available (www.ryeymca.org).
“Last time around, four years ago, the Blind Brook overflow resulted in $700,000 in storm damage,” Howells said. “This time I’m hoping to hold the figure well south of that.”
According to different sources the “south” loss could be an insurable $250,000.
How did the Y hold down the damage after the Blind Brook overflow?
The installation of storm gates was one lesson learned after the last flood.
“We knew the storm was coming so we installed the flood gates after the Y closed Saturday night,” said Philipp. “And we had the staff move lots of the downstairs equipment upstairs, spinning bikes, computers and the like.
“The storm gates really helped. Last time around, four years ago, there was around three feet of water inside the building. This time around, maybe two inches or so,” he said.
As fate would have it, the Y main building was already closed for annual maintenance from Aug. 20-Sept.5. Now because of lack of power it is anybody’s guess how much of that maintenance can take place, and when the Y will re-open.
“Even after the power is restored, we are going to have to dry out the building, inventory the damaged material, cut out the wet sheet rock and replace it,” said Howells.
In the interim, the aerobics studio in the Carriage House of The Wainwright House resumed its full schedule of Y classes Tuesday –from Yoga to Pilates to Limbercize—and its All Aboard Camp began going to Sportime USA in Elmsford with drop off at the regulat time and location at the Y.
The Y will provide updates with details about the remainder of the week via its website Twitter feed and on its Facebook page.
Right across Blind Brook from the Y, the Rye Free Reading Room, also built on a flood plain (as is lots of Rye) was open for business as usual on Monday.
During the heavy post-storm flooding four years ago, the library took a heavy hit with extensive damage to its Children’s Room, from books to furnishings, an estimated $80,000 worth.
This time around, the library had advance warning about the storm. So following the 1 p.m. closing Saturday, the staff did some heavy lifting in the children’s room, raising the books and computers to the highest shelves. And because the library is regularly closed Sundays, the facilities director was able to come in and pump out the water from the flooding that day.
The end result is that the Childen’s Room is closed because the carpet is wet. “But good news, no books were damaged,” according to a notice posted at the library. A limited selection of children’s material is available on the library’s second floor. All programs are running as scheduled. Business continues as usual in the Adult and Teen Departments as well. And the computers in the Raho Tech Center are up and running.
But as of Tuesday, the elevator was still out of service, according to executive director Kitty Little. And it looks as though a local carpet cleaners --Carpet Trends --can salvage the rugs, saving the financially-strapped library that expense.
The Highland Hall apartment complex at 131 Purchase St. was still reeling Tuesday due to an oil spill in the basement Sunday night. That resulted in the oil smell permeating the 100-apartment complex, seeping into clothes and furnishings. That, in turn, resulted in the temporary need to evacuate all the tenants . Those tenants ranged from new resident Kerry Cromer to Greg Faughman (11 years) to Margurite Costello (14 years).
The result of that oil spill is that the management company, R. A. Cohen & Associates, is offering to put up tenants at nearby hotels such as the Extended Stay Hotels in Elmsford and White Plains, reimbursing tenants for $142 per night with a $71 per diem expense re-imbursement as well. And no date set as of yet for their return.
So Irene may be gone. But not forgotten.