HOBOKEN AND BEYOND — What’s it like in Hoboken now that Hurricane Sandy has been gone for almost a week?
People have left large bags of garbage at their curbs, as well as soaked furniture from their basements. While most of Hoboken had power back as of the beginning of this week, there were blocks that were still without power, including sections of the Hoboken housing projects.
Despite an organized effort from officials and volunteers, as well as a presence from the National Guard and FEMA there are still many who are struggling to recover. A few people were still staying on cots at a shelter at the Wallace Primary School on Tuesday morning.
Mayor Dawn Zimmer has been holding daily press briefings outside City Hall at 2 p.m. to update the press and the public. The city also has a bulletin board full of information, from where to get a free meal to where to take your sick pet. Besides the press, residents have showed up at the briefings to ask questions.
On Monday, one woman said she never got her ballot for today’s election in the mail. Another asked when a block of Grand Street would get power back.
But perhaps the most persuasive plea came from a resident and business owner who lives in town with his wife.
Robert Bazouzi said, “We’re freezing to death in our own apartment!”
He said that he and his wife had registered with FEMA and were told they could stay at a local hotel. But he said every hotel in the area was booked when he called, and he was told the nearest vacancies were in Albany.
He said that finally, he and his wife got in the car, with what little gas he had, and drove 45 minutes to a hotel on the FEMA list in Central Jersey, only to be told by the hotel that they had nothing to do with FEMA.
Bazouzi then said his new business, Robert Bazouzi salon, was in trouble as well. He made a plea regarding his business, and Zimmer responded by encouraging people to go to rebuildhoboken.org.
Watch the video below (click on the video below, not the photo) for more of Bazouzi’s plea.
Bazouzi said that when he reopens at 254 First St., near First and Willow, he will offer 50 percent off all services for Hurricane Sandy survivors.
“My house is gone. My business is gone. I’me gone!,” Bazouzi says in the video. He also says he put his life savings into his business.