RED BANK — Local residents were working to put their lives back together nearly four days after the destruction rampaged through the area from Hurricane Sandy.
With some businesses opening around downtown, most people are out simply to get out of their homes, trying to get Internet connections wherever they could on Friday morning.
“You lose touch with yourself after a while without power,” said Jack Creulo of Tinton Falls as he stood outside Starbucks on Broad Street. “I was able to get a generator a few days before the storm, and I went down to the service station at Exit 98 [on the Garden State Parkway] to get gas late at night, around 11:30.”
Cerulo, like several other local residents, were spending time at Starbucks getting something for breakfast after days of not being able to get out of their homes. Others were sitting outside the cafe, using the wireless Internet to connect to laptops, iPad’s, and other on-the-go devices.
A number businesses that were open didn’t have much customer traffic, Friday morning, but that mattered little to them.
“We want to be open for the community, whether we’re selling something or not,” said Cassady McManus, manager of Restoration Hardware on Broad Street. “We lucked out. We boarded up our windows and left sandbags but we didn’t have any damage.”
Restoration Hardware is one of those several stores that is allowing customers to charge electronic devices, free of charge.
“We’re hoping to get it back up next week,” McManus said of the store returning to normal. “We have our friends and family event next week, that’s our biggest event of the year, so it would be nice to have it back to normal for that.”
Greene Street on Broad Street, another place where people could charge devices, opened its doors for the first time on Thursday, although employees noted they aren’t expecting any normal type of customers for some time.
“A lot of people just want to get back to normal,” said Liz Vanderpool, who works at the store and lives in Red Bank. “People just want to get out of their homes now. We have our stores hours cut down, and its pretty slow in the morning.”
But, with the lives of people still at risk, business needs to be put on a back burner, according to Kate Triggiano, who also works at Greene Street.
“That is a moot point right now,” she said. “It’s nuts. It’s insane, I don’t even know what I can say about it right now.”
Triggiano, who lives in Atlantic Highlands, can’t get to her home on the second floor because the first floor was wiped out by the storm.
“I feel guilt because my home is OK,” she said. “I know people that feel extreme guilt because they are OK and other people aren’t. It’s awful to say, but I’m thankful I’m a renter. Some homeowners lost everything.”