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East Boston residents count themselves fortunate as they clean up minor damage from Sandy

Posted by Jeremy C. Fox  October 30, 2012 04:50 PM

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Gerard Millerick.jpg

(Jeremy C. Fox for Boston.com)

Bayswater Street resident Gerard Millerick pointed to a tree branch that fell in his back yard, knocking down an exterior light and taking out telephone and cable lines.

Across Boston on Tuesday, residents collected tree branches, raked scattered leaves, and inspected their homes for damage caused by Hurricane Sandy.

The storm caused devastation in parts of the East Coast, but Massachusetts was spared the worst of the high winds, heavy rains, and flooding. In East Boston, street sweepers cleared roadways that had become buried beneath leaves blown down by the wind, and Public Works workers filled truck beds with broken branches and other debris.

At Constitution Beach, at least two small trees were ripped up by their roots and lay fully intact on the ground. On the nearby corner of St. Andrew and Shawsheen roads, the trunk of a street tree had split diagonally, and the tree lay across the sidewalk and adjacent front yard of a three-story house.

Around the corner on Bayswater Street, homeowner Gerard Millerick attempted some maintenance in his small front yard. Though his home looks directly onto the water, this finger of Boston Harbor is bounded by Constitution Beach, Logan Airport, and the Winthrop shore. Millerick, 69, said having land on all sides meant the storm slowed down before it hit here.

At street level, the wind was relatively light, he said, though it felt heavier upstairs. It even blew a few shingles off the roof and tore away a third-story storm window, leaving shattered glass and a twisted metal frame strewn along the side hedges and walkway.

“It was not calm; it was a storm,” Millerick said. “It was a nor’easter, like a nor’easter coming down the street. … The tide came up quite a way.”

In the back of the house, a branch fell from one of several tall trees that line the fence between Millerick’s home and his neighbor’s.

Millerick said the tree took out an exterior light and downed wires for his telephone and cable television. But the electrical lines are buried, Millerick said, and he has satellite TV now, and these days everyone uses cell phones, so it wasn’t too big an inconvenience.

He planned to have his son call Verizon later in the day.

The damage was enough motivation, though, that Millerick said he plans to take out the other tall trees behind the home.

“I love them, but you don’t even need ’em back here,” he said. “It’s an accident waiting to happen, you know what I mean?”

Still, Millerick was little troubled by the storm.

“We were lucky, in a way,” he said. “It could have been much worse.”

Outside a pale-green-sided home back on St. Andrew Road, Lois Santo was sweeping leaves from the sidewalk and the gutter into the center of the street, where a motorized street sweeper would gather them up. Santo, who said she has lived in her home for 50 years, agreed with Millerick that Bostonians were fortunate not to see greater storm damage.

“After what New Jersey and New York suffered, this is nothing,” Santo said.

She said wind had blown a few shingles from her roof, but she had seen no serious damage in her home or her neighbors’. This storm was not another Blizzard of ’78, she said, despite early warnings that it could have a devastating impact.

“We were blessed. We can’t ask for any more than that,” she said. “We’ve gone through a lot worse.”

Email Jeremy C. Fox at jeremy.fox@globe.com.
Follow Jeremy C. Fox on Twitter: @jeremycfox.
Follow East Boston on Twitter: @YourEastBoston.

downed tree at Constitution Beach.jpg

(Jeremy C. Fox for Boston.com)

At Constitution Beach, at least two small trees were ripped up by their roots and lay fully intact on the ground.

Shawsheen Road house.jpg

(Jeremy C. Fox for Boston.com)

On the corner of St. Andrew and Shawsheen roads, the trunk of a street tree split diagonally, and the tree lay across the sidewalk and front yard of an adjacent home.

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