I’m madder than an octopus with a broken sprinkler system in his garden over the fact that the beloved building where me and my lovely wife Sharon have lived in absolute bliss for more than 46 years became the kind of living hell I’ve tried to avoid for more than 46 years!
Look, you all know the ol’Screecher’s life has — for the most part — been as charmed as those marshmallow candies in the cereal with the short Irish guy on the box, but that all changed when the power went out at the beautiful twin towers of the Harway Terrace — and my toilet stopped working last Monday night — and I was forced to suffer through what was without question the worst 48 hours of my life!
Now, I know exactly what you are thinking: “Carmine, we read all about your traumatic experience when we saw Max Jaeger’s scintillating piece titled ‘Unsinkable Harway Terrace goes dark’ in last week’s paper, and apparently, you weren’t the only one who suffered — there were like 1,000 other people inside there, too!”
Well, you’re right. But the fact is they don’t have a column and I do, so if you’ll oblige me (and I’m sure you will), I’m going to give you my side of the story about how it really went down!
It was a dark and stormy night. Sharon and I were sitting on the couch in front of the Zenith in the living room when the television — and everything else — suddenly went dark, making it an even darker and stormy night!
At first, I thought to check the fuse box to see if what I could only assume was every fuse being blown. But because it’s tough for me to walk, I demanded Sharon head over and look into thing. She claimed it was too dark to do anything, and that’s when I reached under the cushion of the couch were I keep a supply of flash lights and “D” batteries for just such an emergency.
Torch in hand (I hear that is what those blokes in England call a flashlight), Sharon confirmed that the fuses had not in fact blown, and that this was, in fact, a blackout!
But looking out the window, I could see other lights on, so just how blacked out could we be? Turns out, we were the only ones blacked out. Event the streetlights were on!
Thankfully, it was late at night, and Sharon and I headed to bed to try to do what all couples do late at night during blackouts: snore! We figured by the time we got up the next morning, we would be able to make a fresh pot of coffee and browse the Interweb!
Well, you try to get some rest in a building full of seniors angry that they’re missing the “Tonight Show!” No electricity means no elevators and no water means no flushing, which means a lot of unhappy geezers cursing at the top of their lungs!
We didn’t sleep at all!
Thankfully, Nancy Tong, the District Leader of the 47th Assembly District (like you even know what that means) came with hundreds of bottles of water and she and staff members of Assemblyman Bill Colton and Councilman Mark Treyger’s offices distributed them — climbing the 19 flights.
On top of that, Toms Restaurant on the Boardwalk sent over hundreds of tuna fish sandwiches and cups of chicken soup. At this time, Treyger went to the sixth floor of the building, where Randi Garay set up a table in the hall, and whose Facebook text had alerted Treyger to the dilemma, who in turn alerted the mayor, and city services and Con Ed about the totally dire situation. All of her family were involved in bringing the food to the neighbors. Which in the total darkness was extremely dangerous to not only walk down and up the stairs but feel their way through the block-long blackness of each floor. Talk about scary!
The only bright side of this horrible disaster were the heroes and heroines who unselfishly came to the aide of their fellow man. The spirit of their brotherhood, neighbor helping neighbor, neighbors caring for their neighbor, the staff of Harway working around the clock to ameliorate the situation should be thanked every day for their gallant efforts.
Kudos to everyone that helped, thank you all.
Screech at you next week!
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