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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Hey, who turned the lights out?

By Sarina Trangle and Kate Pastor
Posted
MARISOL DíAZ/THE RIVERDALE PRESS
A stop sign replaces street lights on West 231st Street and Bailey Avenue on Oct. 31.
MARISOL DíAZ/THE RIVERDALE PRESS
A man lights his way with a cell phone as he crosses Bailey Avenue on Oct. 31.
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Power has been trickling back into the Riverdale/Kingsbridge area after superstorm Sandy left thousands in the dark, and many of them in the cold, for the better part of a week. 

As of press time, 4,685 of the 5,100 customers in Riverdale, Kingsbridge, Kingsbridge Heights and Van Cortlandt Village who lost power between Oct. 29 and Oct. 30 had their power restored but 315 were still waiting for Con Edison to put them back on the grid.

About 33,315 of the 38,000 customers initially left without power in the Bronx had it restored.

When outlets first ran dry, Cindy Hirsch said she watched in awe as transformers blew up over the Hudson River from her Spuyten Duyvil balcony overlooking New Jersey.

“It was the most gorgeous fireworks we’ve ever seen. It was light green and blue everywhere. I knew something terrible was happening,” said Ms. Hirsch, a scientist at the New York Botanical Garden. 

She was right. As Sandy stormed through the Northwest Bronx, dragging trees across electrical wires and triggering transformers to blow off sparks, more than 900 customers in North Riverdale were left without power. 

Near the corner of West 261st Street and Riverdale Avenue more than 530 customers endured electrical outages. Near West 234th Street and Corlear Avenue, about 530 customers went dark. The same number  fizzled along Palisade Avenue in Spuyten Duyvil and nearly 900 customers were off the grid in swaths of Kingsbridge, particularly near Bailey Avenue, according to the Con Edison power outage map.

North Riverdale and parts of Fieldston were desolate, as many blocks were shrouded in complete darkness. Kingsbridge without streetlights was an eerie contrast to its usual bustling brightness. 

Blackouts left traffic lights inoperable at the corner of Bailey Avenue and West 231st Street, at the intersection of West 231st Street and Riverdale Avenue and near Riverdale Avenue and West 261st Street. 

People initially described candle-lit dinners and flashlight games as a welcome charm. 

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