After Irene, Villagers Clean Up Downed Awnings and Trees

NailSalon1Suzanne Rozdeba Stella Hu, owner of Stella Nail & Spa on First Avenue, and Dick Lam, 72, building owner who lives in building.

Around 5 a.m. Sunday, Dick Lam heard a tree fall in front of the building at 209 First Avenue that he owns, and where he has lived for 23 years. “I was asleep and my son and my grandson heard the tree bang,” he said. (Mr. Lam’s relatives, who live in Battery Park City, had sought shelter in his apartment.) “There was a thud. They didn’t know whether something had hit the building, or what happened. They came running down, opened the door, and it was this.” Mr. Lam looked down at a tree that had taken down the awning of Stella Nail & Spa, on the ground floor. “Luckily, it just pulled the awning out.”

treedowngoodSuzanne Rozdeba

“I called 311 twice and stayed on the phone 30 minutes, but couldn’t get through,” said Mr. Lam yesterday afternoon. “Nobody’s called me yet. I assume somebody will come by.”

Stella Hu, the owner of the nail salon, didn’t know how long it would take for the awning to be repaired, or when she would reopen. “Maybe someone will fix it,” she said, “but not today. It’s terrible.”

Meanwhile at El Sol Brillante, Sr. community garden on 12th Street between Avenues A and B, Nick Breeden, a gardener, and Sam Rivera, a garden volunteer, spent the morning and early afternoon cleaning up debris.

treegardenersSuzanne RozdebaNick Breeden, gardener and neighborhood resident (left), and Sam Rivera, garden volunteer.

Mr. Breeden said, “From the big tree in the garden, a couple of good-sized branches came down. We cut them up this morning. It’s firewood now.”

Mr. Rivera had spent Saturday driving friends from the Rockaways to safer ground in Manhattan, but didn’t evacuate his own home on Delancey Street and FDR Drive.

“The police came and knocked, and I and others said we’d be fine,” he said. “We’ve been through hurricanes before in that building.”

treeSuzanne Rozdeba