While some people woke up to a Monday morning of a flooded basement or no power, several village institutions made out quite well from Hurricane Irene.
The Mount Pleasant Public Library had one of its busiest Mondays. The library was fortunate in that closed early on Saturday and was closed on Sunday, as part of its summer schedule. Executive Director John Fearon estimates that the library had more than 1,000 visitors.
“The parking lot was packed all day,” Fearon said. “We had loads and loads of people bringing in their PDAs and laptops. It was really great.”
The library set up a laptop area in the basement, and at one point had more than 46 laptops in use.
“It was really nice,” Fearon said. “People were able to come here and work. Everyone was using us to get back in touch. We had people crammed in everywhere. People were great.”
Fearon said that while things slowed down on Tuesday, it was still a noticeably busier Tuesday than usual. By Tuesday, Metro-North service to New York was back, and most Pleasantville residents had power. But Fearon was still impressed by the Monday traffic, which was more crowded than during the after school rush.
“It made us feel wanted,” Fearon said. “It’s great we’re able to be there for people. We were at full capacity, there were no chairs or corners. Everything was full.”
The Internet and the rise in e-books has made people question whether libraries will ever go the way of the VCR but Fearon notes that libraries still have a place.
“Our busiest time at the library has been since the Internet took off,” Fearon said. “We just had our biggest month for lending e-books. Our role is slightly changing, but we’re still about providing access to ideas. We still perform a vital service, we’re still making a difference.”
Pleasantville restaurants also benefited from Irene’s aftermath. Many restaurants had lines out the door, as weary residents wanted to do anything but make a home cooked meal.
Doug Crossett, who runs Michael’s Tavern in the Old Village and McArthur’s on Washington Avenue, said Monday was the single busiest dinner in his 31 years in business. Crossett also runs Oliver’s in Katonah.
“All three restaurants were packed,” Crossett said. “There was a great amount of volume. I’m real proud of our kitchen staff. The guests at Michael’s and McArthur’s were generous in their tipping.”
Crossett, who didn’t get his power back until Tuesday, said that Tuesday performed like a normal Saturday night. On Saturday, Michael’s, which stays open late at night, was closed by 10:30 p.m.
“People were nervous,” Crossett said. “I was nervous.”
Crossett said the traffic allowed for neighbors to reconnect with each other at Michael’s and for the community to come together.