With the discomfort and inconvenience that comes with an extended power outage, expensive damage to public and private property, threat of carbon monoxide poisoning and frustration of long lines, scarce power sources and limited connectivity, few would say there's a silver lining to Hurricane Sandy's effect on New Canaan.
Yet how much worse would it be if downtown businesses had lost power like the rest of town?
"It is so comforting to know that the center of town is fully functional," First Selectman Rob Mallozzi said Friday afternoon.
As Michael Handler of the New Canaan Office of Emergency Management told Patch, post-Sandy recovery is distinguished from post-Irene because at least residents can wake up, leave their homes—generator-powered or not— and come to town for a hot meal and supplies.
And come they do. Since Monday and especially Tuesday, when crews began to clear roads—a high priority following the power restoration now underway—residents have flocked to downtown in droves.
"We've had a lot of big orders since Tuesday," said Lorenzo Colella of Joe's Pizza, a town staple since 1967 that moved from Forest Street to Locust Avenue in 1995. "Busy ever since the storm."
Carl Franco, co-owner of Francos Wine Merchants, said he's seen foot traffic increase because everyone wants to be in town.
"People are just coming to get out of home," Franco said.
Handler has praised the town’s businesses for pitching in and helping customers find a little more comfort and convenience, such as Hairquarters West, which is offering complimentary shampoos for residents without power, Baskin Robbins, which is offering complimentary freezer storage, the New Canaan YMCA, which bought a generator and is operating as the town’s unofficial shelter and Walter Stewarts, which made lunch for the OEM team. The William Raveis office on the corner of Elm and Main has been open for the latter part of the week, and is open Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for residents to power up and use its WiFi.
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