Numerous Queens residents were left without power for days, while others lost their homes when Hurricane Sandy paid a visit to the five boroughs a year ago.
Several Bayside businesses jumped in and raised money for victims of the storm or provided services to local residents in need.
Chris McManus, owner of C.J. Sullivan’s American Grill, said a number of the eatery’s patrons from Breezy Point and the Rockaways were severely affected by the storm.
So, Sullivan’s employees turned the restaurant’s outside patio into an area for collected goods and materials for Sandy victims.
“We put up something on Facebook about it and, within 10 minutes, people started bringing stuff in,” McManus said. “And it continued for a few weeks.”
However, a gas shortage following the storm left a number of Queens residents without a means of transportation.
“Local merchants donated their trucks to us, so we could get down to Breezy Point,” McManus said. “People were so kind and giving. We went down to drop off clothing, food, dried goods and cleaning materials to shelters every day. And we had people from all over northeast Queens and Nassau County bringing stuff.”
Mary Anne Rodriguez, manager of Bell Boulevard’s Lucille Roberts, said the women’s fitness center allowed displaced families of members to use the gym’s showers every morning for several weeks.
“We let them take showers in the mornings and we set up docking stations, so they could charge their cell phones,” she said.
The center also raised hundreds of dollars through a Zumbathon event.
“We do a lot of fundraising for charities, so it was natural that we’d want to help out the community,” Rodriguez said. “It’s a great community and very tightly knit. Everybody comes together to help.”
Lyle Sclair, executive director for the Bayside Village Business Improvement District, said Hurricane Sandy’s destructive path through the borough actually boosted business at restaurants in the community.
“A lot of people had no power for long periods of time, so they needed somewhere to eat,” he said.
In Douglaston, a local club and a resident who owns a Manhattan-based construction company donated money and manpower for the rebuilding efforts in the Rockaways.
The Douglaston Club donated $11,000 raised during a raffle for Sandy victims, while resident Donal O’Sullivan sent as many as 50 trucks and 100 men from his construction company, Navillus, to help rebuild damaged homes for weeks after the storm passed through Queens.
O’Sullivan could not be reached for comment for this story.