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Pace Of Storm Cleanup Frustrates Queens Residents

NEW YORK (CBS 2) -- Four days after devastating storms ripped through the area, streets in Queens were still a mess.

Fallen trees -- including Oaks and Sycamores -- were still blocking some streets and crews were removing large tree branches from the roofs of several homes Monday evening.

68th Road in Forest Hills is the picture of disaster -- cars smashed and debris still to be cleaned up and where tree limbs were being lifted off of one home.

"It's devastating. It's like a bomb was dropped," resident Warren Wankoff said.

With four days passing since the storm hit and power lines down all over the place, storm victim Lorraine Gister has had enough.

"Mayor Bloomberg, when are you going to help us? We're part of this city even though we've been forgotten," Gister told CBS 2's John Slattery.

Gister wanted to know when the debris will be cleared, and when her phone service will come back.

"I have two sick people in the family. I have no phone since Thursday," Gister said.

Mayor Bloomberg said he understood the frustration and assured residents that city crews were working hard to ensure the cleanup is finished soon.

"Most streets are now clear and we aim to have the rest open by [Tuesday]. And our next priority will be trees that have fallen on homes and businesses," Bloomberg said.

On 67th Drive, two trees were down, still blocking traffic.

"It just went down very slowly and that was it," storm victim Linda Holzman said, "it nailed a lot of cars."

And where did so many of the downed trees end up?

A steady stream of dump trucks came to a collection point in Cunningham Park to unload the tons of trees and branches, where they were carted off in dumpsters or loaded into giant chippers producing tons of mulch.

To handle the huge volume of work that extended into Middle Village, Rego Park, Maspeth, Jamaica and Flushing, the city enlisted the help of fire companies.

"This is a big mess, a lot of work,"  Lt. James Finn of Engine 370 said.

With some 3,000 down, some residents said the city response was quite good while others are still waiting.

Some 450 city workers and contractors have been involved in the clean up -- many of them working 12-hour shifts.

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