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Greenburgh Residents Seek Refuge From Sandy At Library

Naja Touray, 20, charges her phone at the Greenburgh Public Library.
Naja Touray, 20, charges her phone at the Greenburgh Public Library. Photo Credit: Samantha Kramer

GREENBURGH, N.Y. – Though Greenburgh officials opened several emergency shelters throughout town, it was the Greenburgh Public Library where residents sought refuge from their dark homes Tuesday.

After Hurricane Sandy left half of Greenburgh without power Monday night, thousands sought areas with working outlets to charge their phones and computers, receive Internet access or for just a warm, well-lit place to spend the day. Tuesday was the busiest Library Director Eugenie Contrata had ever seen the library since its opening in 2008, she said.

“People have been coming all day, and they’re staying,” Contrata said, adding that library employees have been allowing non-members to use the Internet access.

The Theodore D. Young Community Center opened for shelter Monday, but only a few people went in and out for a hot shower, said one of the center’s representatives. Elmsford Mayor Robert Williams said four people have used the Senior Community Center’s food and Internet services.

But Britteny Harris, an Alexander Hamilton High School senior, immediately thought of the library when she needed a place to charge her phone. Her biggest worry now, she said, is bearing the cold shower she’ll have to take Tuesday night.

“I don’t know how long we’re going to be out of power, but it’s pretty devastating,” said Harris, who had been at the library for more than two hours. “I don’t know how long I can do this.”

Assistant Director John Sexton said his duties all day had been to search for more outlets for people to use. The library also set up tables and chairs in its multipurpose room to support the influx of people.

“It hadn’t occurred to me until seeing this just how many different devices we have now,” Sexton said. “This is one of the functions of the library, now – a shelter from the storm.”

Naja Touray, 20, was driving around with her mom all day looking for buildings that still had power where they could spend the day. A student at Westchester Community College, Touray said she’s actually upset classes will remain canceled on Wednesday.

“I kind of wish we did have class,” she said. “Just so I had someplace to go, something to do.”

About one-third of Elmsford still remains without power, Williams said, and there were no injuries reported in Elmsford from the storm. The damage, however, is another story, he added. Several houses were hit by trees, and the village’s roads are still covered by debris.

Greenburgh could take up to a week to restore power to its residents, said Town Supervisor Paul Feiner. Wires and trees are still blocking and closing the roads.

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