SUFFERN, NY (WCBS 880) - It's been nearly a week since Hurricane Irene ravaged New York City's northern suburbs, and it's still quite obvious to anyone who goes up and down the streets.
WCBS 880's Sean Adams In Suffern
In Suffern, they're calling it "Christmas in September." The police, PBA, and DARE program are collecting items for flood victims.
"[We're] looking for new toys, new clothing, particularly children's clothing - we have multiple children in this development - as well as gift cards. The gift cards are good because they can get cleaning supplies, clothing, whatever they need, and I think just about everyone took a major hit. We're not talking about six inches of water. We're talking about five, six, seven, eight feet of water," police chief Clark Osborne told WCBS 880 reporter Sean Adams. "They lost everything. I saw stuff out in the street... Some of the piles were half the size of the house."
New items can be brought to the police station.
WCBS 880's Peter Haskell In West Nyack
Spray-painted plywood sings in a recently flooded West Nyack neighborhood point the finger of blame very clearly - at United Water.
Craig Supholis says he had five feet of water in his house because the water company's Lake DeForest reservoir was too close to capacity before the storm and then it flooded downstream.
"We feel that they don't look out for our safety. They look out for holding on to as much water as they can," he told WCBS 880 reporter Peter Haskell.
Mike Bruin says this isn't the first time this has happened.
"They allow the reservoir to stay at well over 100 percent most of the time, and then when they have to drain it, it forces the river to go to heights that it shouldn't be," he said.
A company spokesman says there was water released from the reservoir last week and the residents who were affected live in a flood zone.
He added that between the rain and the runoff, the lake reservoir received six billion gallons of water and nothing could have been done to prevent the flooding.
WCBS 880's Sean Adams In Mamaroneck
In Mamaroneck, resilience takes the form of a round, crusty, piping hot loaf of rustic Italian bread.
The first loaves are out of the oven at the venerable Westchester Italian Bakery. It's an institution there; it's more than 50-years-old.
Bobby Georgio had two feet of water in the shop.
He says everyone pitched in to help.
"Just support from everyone, customers coming in and saying 'Do you need anything?'," he told WCBS 880 reporter Sean Adams. "Monday morning, we had a crew of 15 people."
The 2007 flood kept him closed for three weeks. This time he moved all of the flour, yeast, and equipment to a box truck.
"I never thought I'd look forward to working again, but it feels great," he said Friday.
A corner deli is back in business and for the first time since the storm, a Mexican cafe will be serving enchiladas and mole.
A nearby laundromat, however, is still closed and the garbage can is full of old electrical wires.
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