NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The wind from Tropical Storm Isaias caused widespread damage across the five boroughs.
On Wednesday, CBS2’s Natalie Duddridge went to hard-hit Queens, where residents are still waiting for cleanup to begin.
#StormIsaias’s outage is the second largest in our long history. With 257,000 customers out surpassing Hurricane Irene; we are focused on safe restoration. Click the link for all the details: https://t.co/RCgS8w99Fu #poweringthrutogether pic.twitter.com/cJzUJP2H33
— Con Edison (@ConEdison) August 5, 2020
In Maspeth, one woman helped out her elderly mother, who lives on the 13th floor of a building on 59th Street. She lost power in the storm.
“Seltzer and then bottles of water. I got four or five gallons down there,” she said. “It is terribly inconvenient especially for people who have health issues.”
It’s been 24 hours now without air conditioning, water and light.
“We had emergency lights in the hallways, but I guess they have run out as well,” Maspeth resident Kenneth Birch said.
No power also means no elevators, so residents, including an older gentleman carrying supplies and ice, were forced to take the stairs.
Many worried about food going bad.
“I’ve been stockpiling in the freezer, so I’m just worried that that’s going to spoil,” resident Patricia Hernandez said.
Lights were out in the hallways and stairwells, plunging them into pitch darkness.
Eventually, Duddridge found the superintendent, who said he was working on a fix but then said he had to go.
The city’s Office of Emergency Management commissioner said there have been more than 20,000 service requests for downed trees and branches across the city, like the one Duddridge saw in Bayside, a silver car crushed under the weight of a tree that came down with no warning near 46th Avenue and 206th Street.
“Yes, scary. Very scary. Wind very strong,” one resident said.
The man alerted his next-door neighbor, the owner of the car. She didn’t want to give her name, but told CBS2 she was lucky to be inside her house with her three kids when the tree fell, adding she cried when she saw the damage.
Across the street, another resident said the overhead wires just barely stopped the tree from hitting her own car.
“It was very scary. Yes, it was, with all the wind and everything,” she said.
Residents thank goodness no one was hurt, unlike in the Briarwood section of the borough, where police said 60-year-old Mario Siles died when a tree fell on his vehicle at 143rd Street and 84th Drive.
In Harlem, Amin Mubarak put up caution tape and started directing traffic around a tree blocking the road near 111th Street.
“Take care of stuff until the Fire Department came to move the tree. The police said the Fire Department was going to do it. They never came,” Mubarak said.
Some residents said they spent hours calling 311 to report all the damage. Like in Brooklyn at 86th and Narrows, where a large tree brought down wires onto a bus. Another took out three cars at 72nd Street off 3rd Avenue.
“Mother Nature wins. The tree always wins,” one person said.
WATCH: CBS2’s Natalie Duddridge Reports From Bayside —
Mother Nature has been coming down on 83rd Street in Middle Village. When a tree fell there, it created quite the commotion.
“And I see it go and I’m like, the tree is falling! The tree is falling! And I scream and I’m banging on doors and my grandmother is napping and I immediately ran outside,” Taylor Salerno told CBS2’s Dick Brennan
The tree landed on the house next door, owned by Anna and Albert Grodzki.
“I don’t want my kids to walk out because I’m afraid this is gonna slide down,” Albert Grodzki said.
The tree came extremely close to causing real trouble, crashing right through their window. Thankfully, no one was injured, but if it had crashed down earlier, someone could have been.
“My son was sleeping here five minutes prior to that,” Anna Grodzki said.
Formerly overhead wires created an obstacle course farther down the block, falling between homeowners’ front doors and the sidewalk.
Nigel McEntee got the food delivery man to come to him, but it’s a lot harder when he wants to go out.
“Two young kids, it’s a real nightmare to come in and out of the house with all these wires,” he said.
It will take days or weeks for some large trees to get hauled away.
“And now you’re just waiting for the parks department to come and take it down. They have to do it,” Middle Village resident Tom Salerno said.
Authorities said it will take days to replaces poles, wires, and transformers knocked down by the winds, which gusted up to 70 mph. They are cautioning everyone to stay away from downed wires. Do not assume they are no longer live.
Restoration will require clearing nearly 500 roads that are blocked by fallen trees, Duddridge reported.
With more than a million people without power, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is ordering an investigation of the state’s utilities over their response to Tropical Storm Isaias.
In a statement, the governor said: “The large volume of outages and the utilities’ failure to communicate with customers in real time proves they did not live up to their legal obligations. The fact that many customers still do not know when their power will be restored makes it even more unacceptable. The worst of this situation was avoidable, and it cannot happen again.”