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With Nearly 7,000 Still Without Power, North Forkers Head to Greenport

Power restored to 100 percent of Greenport electric customers by Wednesday.

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.

Maggie September 01, 2011 at 04:54 PM
Greenport always rocks during these storms, very proud of the village and all the wonderful people who live and work there. Going into the IGA and seeing business as usual was reassuring while being out of power for 5 days. Hope to take a real hot shower soon!
Lawrence C September 03, 2011 at 09:27 AM
Greenport is the best........hats off to the people who kept ELIH "open for business". I had to go to the hospital during the storm and saw the work crew pumping water out of the back parking area. Sterling Harbor looked like the ocean with waves crashing over the helipad. What dedication to this community jewel.
Bob September 03, 2011 at 02:23 PM
The staff at Floyd Memorial Library are top-notch professionals. Many thanks to them all, especially Brian, Poppy, Joe and tech specialist (Jean?), for their outstanding support during this crisis. Bob Southold
thatgirl September 06, 2011 at 07:54 PM
greenport definitely rallies in a unique way--too bad more people don't appreciate all the hard work it took to keep it going, and out of more trouble than it could have had! in what other town would the mayor be found running the shelter during such a storm, or answering phones at the power authority office the day after? hats off to him and all those who pulled together! three plus days without a shower was definitely humbling. we called around to the marina and local b&bs to offer a fee in exchange for running water, and sadly, here was the result: the woman who answered the phone at the marina said if she offered me a shower, who knew how many others would want one; and none of the b&bs called back, save for one, 48 hours later. she did offer me a shower, but by then, we'd indulged in a poland spring rinse!

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