Maspeth tree highlights problems of Sandy cleanup
by Andrew Pavia
Nov 07, 2012 | 2399 views | 0 0 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tree on 74th Place with dead wires wrapped around it.
Tree on 74th Place with dead wires wrapped around it.
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A tree fell during Hurricane Sandy on 74th Place in Maspeth and took with it a street light and a few power lines, but ended up creating a situation with officials pointing fingers at each other.

The power lines, which are cut and frayed, now hang from the utility poles and are tangled around a fallen tree, which blocks the street from traffic. Most of the block lost power on Monday, October 29, but got it restored on Thursday.

However, even with the power back the majority of the block doesn't have any cable or Internet, which has become an issue for those who use the connection for phone service as well.

A Department of Sanitation worker, who requested not to be named, was driving a front-end loader on Monday and said there is nothing he can do about the downed tree because there are still power lines wrapped around it.

“Let's say I start moving it and snap some branches,” he said. “A wire could pull the log through a house and kill someone.”

He said that the tree has to be chopped up into pieces with a chainsaw before he can start carting it out.

However, Edward Corsini has been visiting his mother, who has lived on the block for round 12 years, said he was told by officials from Con Ed that they can't put any permanent lines back up until the tree is gone.

“Parks Department was here today,” he said, “they pulled up, they looked, wrote things down and drove away.”

“I can see his point because he doesn't know if those wires are live,” said Richard Vitalo, who has lived on the block his entire life and has never seen damage like that caused by Hurricane Sandy. “Not even close.”

Vitalo said that he uses the Internet to stay in touch with friends, but also uses it to keep up with news and the stock market. However, he said he's grateful for the power in his house.

Joseph Sdrocchia, a resident of the block since 1979, said that he can't believe the tree is still blocking 74th Place. He said that he has worked in a similar field and said that it's Con Ed's responsibility to make sure the wires are dead and to clear them before anyone else gets involved with clearing the tree.

“If there is no power, they have to cut the tree down,” he said.

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