Monday was the 2-week mark since Hurricane Sandy for businesses in Piermont that still don’t have power. Bonnie Chapin owns Abigail Rose and Lily Too, located on Piermont Avenue, just a few doors down from Piermont Village Hall.
“We’ve been out of business for two weeks, but I believe they’re working on (restoring) it now. The business didn’t flood, but the building that Abigail Rose is in did flood,” said Chapin. “It’s been difficult. Employees haven’t been able to work. I have a clothing store, but the restaurants have been hit very hard.”
Abigail Rose sits three steps above the sidewalk, and Chapin, along with other businesses, say that those few steps helped prevent major flooding in their establishments.
Alfredo Rosa owns a home near the corner of Piermont Avenue and Hudson Way. He said waves engulfed his home and although it's still structually sound, he's still removing water and has to throw out most of his personal items due to water damage. He's thrown out furniture, clothes, books, appliances and more.
Senator Chuck Schumer was joined by several local and state officials on Monday for a tour of the flood damage in Piermont.
Piermont Mayor Chris Sanders led the tour, which included Schumer, Congresswoman Nita Lowey, New York Assemblymembers Ellen Jaffee and Ken Zebrowski, State Senator David Carlucci and Michael Oates, president and CEO of Hudson Valley Economic Development Corporation.
“We’re going to get the opportunity to tour the downtown district and show (Schumer and elected officials) firsthand some of the grassroots challenges that our small businesses have in picking themselves up from the storm. Hoping that we can register that with the Senator and roll forward in getting help to getting (businesses) open again,” said Sanders. “It’s a critical time. We’re within holiday season. I’m hoping we can open for the holidays. Otherwise, it’s going to be some tough times for them.”
The tour began at Village Hall and went down Piermont Avenue to several of the local businesses, some without power and all of them still recovering.
“The devastation here in Piermont and many parts of Rockland County is unimaginable, and it’s clear we need the full support of the federal government to help get things back on track,” said Schumer. “I’m going to leave no stone unturned when it comes to bringing federal resources to this region, because I believe that FEMA must work hand-in-glove with state and local leaders in all parts of Rockland County, so that our communities have every tool at their disposal to rebuild homes, roads, bridges, utilities, and other key infrastructure.”
Piermont’s waterfront of restaurants, marinas and homes was severely damaged as a result of the high tides caused by Superstorm Sandy. Rising waters caused by a historic high tide resulted in the major downtown area to be completely flooded. The storm caused residents and business owners to evacuate, only to return to find most of their property suffering from water damage.
"We had water at least up to the curbs here in the downtown business district," said Sanders. "We were without power starting the night of the storm and until Thursday and Friday the following week." He added that the residences and shops in the downtown district don't have power because although there’s power in the main wire lines, that power still needs to be reconnected to businesses and homes.
The owner of Lizzie’s said that business is back to normal and that they “were the only ones open. We were very lucky” because their electrical equipment were higher up and not in the basement like most businesses.
Over at Gerhardt’s Automotive Repair, the owner said he lost “everything … about $30,000.” He added that he called FEMA right away, but the interest rates on their loans were too high. Schumer said he was looking into getting FEMA to lower the interest rates.
Debris from the wreckage and personal items being thrown out have formed piles upon piles all along the sidewalks in Piermont.
In Piermont, the Hudson River’s high tide surged upward of 9 ½ feet, submerging sea walls, damaging docks and flooding Route 9W in and out of the village. Estimates for the damage are already projected to be several million dollars in the Town of Piermont alone. Several sailboats and cabin boats washed up throughout the town, along with concrete park benches and pieces of boardwalk from over a mile away. Superstorm Sandy also caused severe flooding in Nyack’s riverfront area — including the municipal marina, the Nyack Boat Club and Clermont condos at South Main Street.
Although FEMA opened their first DRC in Pomona on Saturday, Schumer petitioned the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to open the county’s second Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) in the Piermont-area to provide better support to local residents.
Check back with Patch for more on their tour through Piermont