With nearly 7,000 Southold residents still without power as of Wednesday afternoon, many North Forkers have taken to the streets of Greenport to seek out power in order to charge their cell phones and check up on their email.
Greenport's Floyd Memorial Library, which was closed on Sunday due to the storm, had to put out extra tables in order to deal with the wave of Southolders and visitors from points east on Monday and Tuesday.
"We usually don't have people charging things here," said library employee Jean Payne. "We had lots of patrons come from Southold and other libraries because theirs were closed. People were charging phones, laptops and all that stuff."
Over 11,000 North Forkers remained without power at one point in the wake of Tropical Storm Irene. However the Village of Greenport runs its own electric plant - as opposed to purchasing its power from the Long Island Power Authority, unlike the Town of Southold and every other town in Suffolk County. While 90 percent of Greenporters were back on the grid by Monday afternoon and 100 percent by Wednesday, 32 percent of those in Southold had power on Monday. By Wednesday afternoon, 55 percent of the town's customers had been restored.
Officials with LIPA have stated that by Friday, of those customers who lost power at one point or another due to Irene.
The early switch back on for Greenporters meant excess traffic to the village. Traffic at Starbucks was "crazy" the days following Irene, said employee Amanda DeLong.
Village Mayor David Nyce said restaurants were "slammed" and he personally noticed an increase in traffic on village roads on Monday and Tuesday.
Aldo Maiorana, owner of the coffeehouse Aldo's across Front Street from Starbucks, said that having recently fixed his WiFi, traffic was "incredible - it looked like a schoolhouse" on Monday and Tuesday, with patrons staying until closing time at 6 p.m.
Both, however, said increases in sales were minimal, with most patrons buying no more than a cup of coffee.
Butta'Cakes owner Marc LaMaina said for a Monday and Tuesday in August, he "wasn't wowed by traffic."
Sylvia Daley, owner of Quintessentials Bed and Breakfast in East Marion, found herself at Starbucks on Wednesday afternoon, despite the fact that she was "one of those people against Starbucks coming to Greenport" when it opened. Daley lost power during the storm and, like many of her neighbors in East Marion, had yet to be restored to power by Wednesday.
She said with Labor Day weekend coming up, it was good to be able to go somewhere and find a secure Internet connection. The booking system for her bed and breakfast runs online, she said, and had yet to see if anyone had booked or cancelled a room for the upcoming weekend.
"I've been using my Blackberry as much as I can," she said. "But it's nice to be able to go somewhere and do work on a laptop."
Daley said she spent two hours in the Greenport Starbucks on Wednesday.
"You won't find me saying Starbucks shouldn't be here anymore," she said with a laugh.