By Anessa V. Cohen
The weeks before and during Chanukah are typically exercises of living in gridlock all over the Five Towns. Congestion from people shopping for gifts and party items on Central Avenue as well as on Rockaway Turnpike in the various malls has left many a driver sitting in traffic wanting to bang their heads on their steering wheels in frustration. Forget about parking! You have always needed at least an extra half hour to look for a spot on Central Avenue before you even were able to go out and see what the stores had in mind for you.
Driving around this week, I was struck by a more sedate Central Avenue. I believe this is due to the many flood victims who are living in temporary quarters until the insurance monies kick in or simply until their contractors finish the repairs or renovations needed in their homes prior to their being able to come back and live at home.
Parking was more or less plentiful by usual Central Avenue standards, and there just seem to be fewer people in town in general. I imagine most people living out of town temporarily are coming back and forth regularly, but for obvious reasons free time to go out and shop on the Avenue has been somewhat curtailed for the present.
The biggest change that seems to be taking a long time to come back to normal are the stores that got hit on Rockaway Turnpike. The larger stores such as Marshalls, Michaels, Staples, Best Buy, and TD Bank are dark at night and still shuttered during the day, while we all wait for the construction crews needed to rebuild them and the trucks and re-suppliers waiting to refit them and bring new merchandise to herald their soon-to-be reopenings.
The unavailability of these stores has also cut down on the traffic in that area, which is definitely more comfortable for those of us needing those roads to go elsewhere. When all those stores reopen once again, the gridlock we are used to will come back and frustrate us once more.
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For those of you who have not heard about the extension of time to file for tax reductions on your homes, there is still time. Filing for a tax reduction due to Sandy damage is something everyone will want to do, since it has at least temporarily affected home values. You should take advantage of the extra time afforded to file for that tax reduction. v
Anessa Cohen lives in Cedarhurst and is a licensed real-estate broker and a licensed N.Y.S. mortgage broker with over 20 years of experience, offering full-service residential and commercial real-estate services (Anessa V Cohen Realty) and mortgaging services (First Meridian Mortgage) in the Five Towns and throughout the tri-state area. She can be reached at 516-569-5007 or via her website, www.AVCrealty.com. Readers are encouraged to send questions or comments to anessa.cohen@AVCrealty.com.