2013-02-15 / Columnists

Broad Channel Bits

Commentary By Dan Guarino

Last Saturday a lot of people awoke to the ‘splash-splash’ of cars zipping along the Boulevard, rather than the ‘crunchcrunch’ of wheels driving through packed-in snow.

By Sunday “Winter Storm Nemo” was already melting away. By the end of the week it was a snowy memory we were glad to get rid of.

Unfortunately with so much snow blowing out of the television newscasts, it was hard to get any actual information about the storm.

Luckily Broad Channel has its own news sources, and they’re a lot more accurate and relevant. By 8:19 a.m. the next morning, via the West 12th Road Block Association blog, Pete Mahon let us know “Last night's tide and storm surge, although high, came and went without any obvious property damage to houses and all cars were off the block and parked safely elsewhere.”

He even took a picture of high tide as of 7:30 a.m., adding, “For those of you who are still living away from your homes, when the tide goes out I will do another check of the block to see if there are any concerns you should be aware of. Stay safe...stay warm!”

All this from a man who reports he still doesn’t have internet access and is working off his 4G Android phone. (Thank you, Grace, for giving Pete a Christmas gift that has kept on giving... to all of us.)

No doubt, though, the experience of Sandy has made everyone take every storm extremely seriously (except apparently in the silly storm name department.)

In West Hempstead last Friday afternoon, while it was still raining, cars were lined up out into the street waiting for gas.

I remember thinking, “If it snows, where exactly are they going to? That’s the whole point of a snow storm. Everything’s closed. Nobody’s planning on going anywhere!”

Maybe they were all expecting to plow through to a hospital and deliver a baby, or something.

I did notice that the price of gas had gone up though.

The nice thing about going through the Channel last Sunday was knowing that all the cars parked on the median strip would be moving again.

In the week or so after Sandy, I was talking with a neighbor whose friend had access to a car. That was an incredibly rare thing in the Channel. Unfortunately, due to the tankers being unable to get access through a storm tossed New York Harbor, gas was almost impossible to get.

I offered that he could gladly have the 3/4 of a tank I had in my otherwise flooded and useless car.

My neighbor thanked me but advised that cars were built now with a mechanism which made siphoning impossible.

As we looked out over the hundreds of cars stranded in the Channel, and untold gallons of wasted gasoline, we both sighed.

Mary, a friend in Rockaway, writes about car lights flashing and alarms wailing for hours as dozens and dozens of cars slowly drowned in the flood waters below her apartment window.

In Broad Channel people wondered for weeks afterward why anybody would leave their car windows open or pop their trunks when they knew a hurricane was coming. It didn’t make sense as we looked through car after car with water, weeds and debris piled inside after the storm.

Turns out electric windows rolled down and catch releases kicked in automatically when the tide swirled up over our cars. It’s a safety device, built in case the vehicle plunges into water.

In this case, the water came to us.

It is still eerie to look across the Bay and see absolutely no lights on the train bridge, just its silhouette there in the dark.

During the day, workers and even trucks can be seen on the Broad Channel to Rockaway stretch. One MTA source noted that about 40 boats were found scattered on the tracks.

There’s a brand new sign in town. ‘All-American Channel Market –Delicatessen and Catering’. The dark paper is still up over the windows, but it’s a good sign of things to come.

Standing offer: If you have business in the Channel that has re-opened or is re-opening soon, I want to tell everybody about it. It is important to our town and important to all of us.

Send me your information and I’ll put it in the column.

And hey, sometime soon you might even consider advertising in The Wave.

I recently got excited when I saw on AOL “Amazing Photo Taken In BC!” Turned out, though, they were talking about British Columbia! Oh, well.

Speaking of which, I just received a copy of Marguerite Rocholl’s new book, “Before You Were Born.”

Writing from the heart, she talks about an island that “sits humbly in a beautiful New York City Bay. …The island is Broad Channel and this memoir will chronicle three generations of my family who settled there.”

She writes not only about her father, award-winning Daily News photographer Ed Clarity, but her BC clan and a childhood filled with stories that could only happen here.

Can’t wait to read the whole book. It would also make a nice addition to those newly rebuilt book shelves.

More to come.

Do you have a Broad Channel Sandy story to tell? The Wave has been featuring “Stories From Sandy.” More than just a personal perspective on what just happened; they also document the incredible story of our times for future generations. Send your story to editor@rockawave.com.

Comedians Ludie Buist, Rusty Torres, Gregory Guinyard, Will Font, Jasmine Johnson, Evan Combs and Joseph Smith, collectively known as No Pic One Set (it’s a cable joke) donated $300 to the Broad Channel Relief Fund. I had the privilege of performing with them to a packed Broadway Comedy Club house the night they raised this sum.

My stand-up act, videoed at the New York Comedy Club, is on youtube.com. Just type in my name: Dan Guarino.

If it grabs your funny bone, great. If not, there are still dozens and dozens of amusing cat videos you haven’t seen yet.

Got BC news? E-mail workingstories@aol.com.

Thanks for reading.

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