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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – It turned out to be a very merry and bright Christmas for tenants of an apartment building in storm-battered Belle Harbor, Queens.
The power had been out since superstorm Sandy hit nearly two months ago, but electricity was finally restored on Christmas Eve.
“We heard some of the neighbors cheering,” tenant Nour Goda told CBS 2′s Steve Langford.
Sandy slammed right into the oceanfront building, leaving residents in the cold and dark for eight weeks.
Goda and Omar Mahasneh live on the ground floor facing the water and said electricity is the best gift they could have asked for this year.
“The space heaters were not very effective and it was very cold here, freezing” Mahasneh told CBS 2′s Langford.
The floodwaters rushed straight into the basement where the saltwater destroyed the electrical equipment and the boiler system, Langford reported.
Residents said the building’s management had done everything possible to make things bearable, even installing huge generators next to the building.
“They had a portable boiler in the back with hot water and heat and they gave us an outlet above the door so we would at least get some electric like the lamp,” tenant Elizabeth Mitchell said.
The elevators still aren’t working, however, and the normally bustling boardwalk culture is gone, prompting some here to consider moving.
“It’s a pretty destitute place right now. We’ll just have to wait and see,” Goda told Langford.
Still, residents said the timing of the return of electricity in the building couldn’t be better.
“This was a great Christmas present,” Mitchell told Langford.
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