With schools out for the second straight day after Saturday’s storm, families were scrambling to fill their mornings and afternoons.
For Lorraine Chittum, of New City, that meant taking her kids Joey, nine, and Madeline, five, and Joey’s friend Josh Altabet, seven, to New City Bowl on Tuesday afternoon.
“We keep ‘em busy, and we’re okay,” Chittum said.
It was Joey and Josh against Lorraine and Madeline Chittum in their first game of the afternoon, with Josh finishing with the high score. Joey had the game’s only strike, which he bowled using his left hand despite normally bowling with his right. He also bowled a spare from the left side.
Madeline attempted more than anyone else to dance her bowls in the direction she wanted them to go, sometimes with success, as she also picked up a few spares. In the end, the boys won and the girls paid for lunch, although as Lorraine Chittum pointed out, the boys didn’t have money with them anyway.
Joey is in fourth grade and Madeline is in kindergarten at Woodglen, and Josh is in second grade at Link. On Monday, they went to West Rock Indoor Sports & Entertainment Complex in Bardonia off Route 304, where Madeline said she did some coloring. They also went trick-or-treating Monday evening, with Josh and Joey going dressed as baseball players and Madeline going as Rapunzel.
“We’ve been going out to eat,” Lorraine Chittum said. “My parents don’t have power, so we’ve been checking up on them, bringing them coffee.”
Olga Urzi, of New City, also has power at home, and on Monday invited some of her kids’ friends who didn’t have power over to her house. On Tuesday, she took Emanuel, five, and Anna, two, to the New City Library to pick out some books to read at home. Emanuel ended up with a Star Wars book and Anna picked one about princesses.
“We’re mostly been staying home trying to keep busy,” Olga Urzi said.
Also staying busy since the storm has been the library itself, which has transformed into a magical building with warmth, lights and oh so many power outlets.
“On Sunday and Monday we were packed,” said Sally Pellegrini, the library’s head of community relations and local history. “It was awesome to see. The parking lot was full, the lower parking lot was full and there were people sitting on the floor. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many people in here.”
With so many without power, the library has become a place to get warm, charge up electronics and if there’s time, read a book or the newspaper. On Sunday, the library opened at noon. By 11:55 a.m., there was a group of five people waiting outside for it to open.
“It’s great that they thought of us as a place to come to,” Pellegrini said.
She added that people are frustrated that they’ve been without power for a few days, but everyone she’s come across has been calm and respectful around others in the library. She said normally the busiest times of the year are school-related, whether it’s around midterms or finals, or college kids home for the holidays who still have tests to take. But maybe the busiest time, she said, is when a big history project is assigned.
“They all come in then because they need multiple sources,” Pellegrini said.
Tuesday was a bit calmer than the first two days, but still more crowded than normal, Pellegrini said, adding that many students were at the library that day as well.
“They’re everywhere,” she said. “And they’re just studying, no goofing around or anything.”