TEANECK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – Frustrated utility customers in New Jersey will likely have to endure a few more days in the dark after last weekend’s freak snowstorm. Utility crews said power should be restored by Thursday or Friday.
On the streets of Teaneck, dangerously low power lines could be seen strewn across roads, which are also littered with tree branches. Reporting from MOBILE 2, CBS 2′s Christine Sloan said cars could “barely make it through” the streets because of downed power lines and fallen trees on top of cars.
Like so many places throughout north Jersey, many homes in the area were made unlivable because of storm damage.
“The trees were down, they got up a lot of the branches yesterday, and also today, but the power’s out. So the house is freezing,” Simone Shubrick told CBS 2′s Derrick Dennis.
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David and Denise Simpson ended up sharing the celebration of their 20-year wedding anniversary with their daughter, Joy, as well as a crowd of other storm victims and their children — packed into the hotel bar.
“It’s been a fair amount of laughs, and we’ve made the most out of a challenging situation. We’ve made lemonade out of lemons as they say,” the couple said.
Inside John Tuttle’s Teaneck home, he and his wife were keeping the house warm with the burners on the stove — something that is not advised. After four days without power, their only way of getting news is a small radio.
Tuttle’s street, Belle Avenue, which means ‘beautiful’ in French, wasn’t looking so pretty with trees and power lines littering the roadway.
“Our Pattio umbrella was snapped in half and we have a little damage to our fence,” said Christine Devito.
Inside her home, Devito had to trash most of the food in the fridge.
“I’ve got some cheese and eggs on ice — hopefully get another day out of those,” she said, adding she was using candles for light and keeping warm by staying close to her dogs.
“We huddled by the fire place last night. We borrowed some firewood from our neighbors, which was very nice of them,” Devito said.
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Meanwhile, NJ TRANSIT service was restored Tuesday for Morris and Essex line, including the Gladstone Branch and the Montclair-Boonton line.
Morris & Essex Line service remains suspended between Hackettstown and Lake Hopatcong and systemwide cross-honoring remains in effect, the agency said.
Service had been suspended since Saturday after damage to the tracks from downed trees and power lines.
The storm caused extensive damage to many other areas of the Garden State, including Montclair, where once picturesque neighborhoods have been reduced to potentially dangerous obstacle courses.
It’s been a big job for road and utility crews, who are stringing up new power lines and replacing telephone poles brought down during this weekend’s storm.
“I had no idea it could break like that and I was fearful that it might fall on someone,” said Montclair resident Keith Wiggs.
While some Montclair residents have had their power restored, many have not.
“The house is just too cold, it’s unbelievably cold,” said Montclair resident Shazia Zaidi. “We’re trying to find accommodation, we can’t find anything right now.”
In Madison, the problem is bigger. The entire borough lost power.
“Four major corporations, two universities and 16,000 residents,” said Mayor Mary-Anna Holden.
Seniors there evacuated from their frigid homes by the volunteer ambulance squad and are now staying warm at the local shelter.
“They certainly did come and get me, it was wonderful,” said Madison resident Charle Mae. “They were wonderful.”
Across the street, the police station is now a high-tech rest stop.
“Madison Police Department has been great, letting us come and charge our phones and laptops,” said Madison resident Lisa Lassiter. “We’re a community. We have to stick together.”
The weekend snowstorm also means additional spending at a time when states, counties and municipalities don’t have a lot of extra money sitting around.
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Glenn Rock Mayor John Van Keuren has lived in Glen Rock for 70 years and says he’s never seen anything like this.
“I haven’t seen as much stuff down, trees, limbs, wires,” he said.
Van Keuren says the damage from the storm is a public safety issue and the public works department will do whatever it has to regardless of the cost.
“If you have to cut other budgets here and there, that’s what you do,” he said.
The mayor insists he will not raise taxes.
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The powerless have been commiserating over coffee at the Livingston Diner, jam-packed for every meal since Saturday night. Owner George Apostolopulos says it’s unbelievable.
“Some kind of different experience [than] we ever had before,” he said.
Betty and Charles Rubin came for lunch after spending the night at a local shelter.
“I felt like a homeless person,” Betty told WCBS 880 reporter Marla Diamond.
“Very difficult sleeping. The cot’s uncomfortable. The heat going on and off was loud. They’re operating on a generator also because the high school has no power,” Charles said.
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