Damage on Oak Ln. Some of Glen Cove's Worst

Residents describe terrifying noise of street's namesake trees snapping during storm.

The trees that give Oak Ln. its name made the street a dangerous place to be when Hurricane Sandy hit, according to residents.

"You'd hear big gusts of wind, then you'd hear cracks, and then a 'BOOM,'" said Lynn Dixon, who lives on the street with her husband Brooke and two young daughters.

Johanna Feigman has called Oak Ln. home for 28 years. She described feeling powerless as she listened to the massive trees come down, unable to see anything through the darkness.

"Listening to them all fall, you just sat there," she said. "The first three fell when it was daylight, then you just kept hearing them."

Neighbor Rosemary Ramski attributed much of the damage to the condition of many of the trees, noting the smell of rot as she stood near a cracked trunk.

Ramski said she was sad to see such destruction of the sort of natural beauty which attracted her to the area from Mineola 16 years ago.

"It was like a canopy," she said of the view down the roadway before the damage. "How many people have said it was the prettiest street in Glen Cove?"

Since the storm, Oak Ln. has been attracting spectators not for its natural beauty but for a glimpse of nature's destructive force. Even a 22-year veteran of the Long Island Power Authority and its predecessor companies said the site was "one of the worst I've seen, just in the sheer numbers" of trees felled.

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Dixon said there was concern among neighbors about access for emergency vehicles being blocked by the huge trees, which only began to be removed Friday after out-of-state crews had arrived. 

Mayor Ralph Suozzi said the impediments were a concern, but wouldn't prevent the city's agencies from doing their job in the event of an emergency.

"It makes things more difficult, but not impossible," he said, explaining that hoses can be run through backyards of adjacent streets, and Glen Cove EMS crews would proceed on foot where their vehicles could not pass.

A crew from St. Louis contracted by National Grid carved through massive trunks with chainsaws Friday. A crew member who declined to give his name said his crew of four could clear as many as a dozen of the downed old-growth trees in a day, but that safety precautions must take priority.

"You can't just run up on a job and do it," he said in a slight Southern drawl.

While there were some close calls, each tree managed to miss any homes. Ramski said the fact that nobody was hurt helped keep the street's damage in perspective.

"We're alive, that's the biggest thing. This is an inconvenience," Ramski said.

Dixon said another positive was the comaraderie of neighbors, many of whom she had not met during her four years on the street. Residents who could get their cars past the fallen timber went on gas runs for those who couldn't, bringing back fuel for generators and other supplies.

"Way to get to know your neighbors," she said.

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