Conn. Commuters Find Creative Ways To Make Do

In Stamford, Conn., many people who usually work in the city are trying to make a go of it from where they are. That means going to a synagogue to charge your cellphone and get work done, or having breakfast at a diner to warm up.

Copyright © 2012 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And there is also commuter rail service - limited, but running out to Connecticut as of this morning. Executives working in Manhattan often live in quiet suburbs, and they make the daily trek into the city, including some people making that trek down to Wall Street. Post-Hurricane Sandy commuters in Stamford, Connecticut who can't get to work are finding creative ways to charge up, to log on and, in some sense, just some ways, just to eat a hot meal. NPR's Kathy Lohr is there.

KATHY LOHR, BYLINE: The Bulls Head Diner in Stamford is hopping. It reopened yesterday to some who say there's just no way to commute to Manhattan from here without the trains.

GREGORY MILLER: I can't get in, so I'm home.

LOHR: Gregory Miller is an attorney with a firm located near Rockefeller Center. His wife Leah is pregnant and due in three weeks, so he says the time away from work isn't a bad thing, and there's another practical consideration.

MILLER: Well, my building in the city doesn't have heat right now, so it would be a little cold.

(LAUGHTER)

LOHR: People around Stamford say they realize they weren't hit nearly as hard as many in New York and New Jersey, but so many uprooted trees thrashed power lines and hundreds of thousands in this state are still without electricity. Bill Drake works for a family investment firm in Stamford. Neither his home nor office has power, so Drake says his boss told everyone just to stay home.

BILL DRAKE: I figure we'll be back in business Monday, at the latest. That's just a guess, but - although after a few days of eating down everything in the fridge, which is either spoiling or you've got to eat it, that gets boring. So here we are in a diner.

LOHR: Across town, Temple Bethel has electricity and has its doors open for anyone who needs to charge a phone or get Internet service.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: There's coffee. There's cake. There's...

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #1: Cookies.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: ...plates, forks, cookies.

LOHR: Plates of sweets sit atop tables in a small library. Extension cords and power strips snake around the room. Rich Sabreen works in executive education and usually commutes to Manhattan. He talks jokingly about his firm's real predicament: a huge construction crane in Midtown. It snapped in the high winds on Monday, and is still dangling precariously.

RICH SABREEN: Well, the best part is that crane that's across from 57th Street is practically pointed at my desk, because your building is right next door to that. So we don't know when we're going to get back into the building.

LOHR: Rich and his wife Susan Sabreen are facing their third day without electricity or water. Susan, a documentary producer, is a bit more nervous about the whole thing, saying she may accomplish only about half of what she would have in a normal week.

SUSAN SABREEN: Our health is not in danger, our lives are not in danger, and you have to keep things in perspective, but in the little the box called work, it really is devastating.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #2: Your hostess with the mostest. Would you like a burger or a veggie burger for lunch?

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #3: A burger.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #2: A burger.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #3: Fabulous.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #2: All right.

LOHR: As one of the Hebrew teachers takes lunch orders, Rabbi Joshua Hammerman says people are coming to the temple for both an electronic and a spiritual boost.

RABBI JOSHUA HAMMERMAN: We all need to reconnect at a time when there's such chaos around us, and creating a sense of order is sort what a religious institution is all about. That's what we're here for.

LOHR: Yesterday afternoon, the Stamford Transportation Center was eerily quiet. Not a single person was standing on the platforms. There was a rumor that the trains would start running again, so half a dozen taxis parked outside waiting. The trains never came. Kathy Lohr, NPR News, Stamford, Connecticut.

MONTAGNE: As of this morning, trains are coming and going again in Stamford, a bit of good news for those living in the suburbs of Connecticut.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And we'll continue covering this story: the short-term commute, the medium-term recovery, the long-term implications of Sandy, right here on MORNING EDITION, from NPR News.

Copyright © 2012 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.