TODAY   |  November 02, 2012

New Yorkers hosting ‘generator parties’ in suburbs

Homeowners in suburban New York are depending on generators until electricity is restored as others are rushing to buy them – to prepare for future storms. TODAY’s Jenna Wolfe reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> back now at 8:11 with more on the recovery from sandy. this storm has dealt a major blow to communities across the region, forcing home owners to make some pretty big adjustments to their daily lives. "today's" jenna wolfe has more on that story

>> good morning. back in the day victims suffering power outages with candles, search for flashlights, "d" batteries and wait anxiously for the lights to come back on. today, a different story, if you planned ahead and got a portable generator putting you in luck and in high demand. neighbors now hosting generator parties to help pass the time. coming together to weather the storm and to weather the bore donnell. in the suburbs surrounding new york city many streets look like this one just north of manhattan, downed trees, exposed wires, still a mess from sandy's howling winds.

>> that part of the main trunk of the tree came down. there could definitely electrified line. this is most definitely a live line .

>> reporter: allen is part of a growing trend in the suburbs, no longer waiting in vain for his electricity to come back on. with sandy he's been able to pick up the most popular toy on the block. if you stop talking for a second, you can hear almost like a hum in the town. you hear that hum?

>> yeah. generator.

>> yeah. almost every home here is trying to get one, trying to borrow one, trying to rent one, trying to use one. i found someone who doesn't need theirs, so i'm renting it from them because they are like gold right now.

>> reporter: this is it, the whole generator?

>> this is it, just give it a turn towards there, hold it.

>> reporter: and with that night life begins at the home. how many of you guys know what a generator is? what's a generator?

>> something that makes electricity and then it goes into the house if you plug it in.

>> reporter: the scene is pleasantly chaotic, much like allen's electrical setup that would make even ben franklin proud.

>> you had irene last year and sandy this year. is a generator going to be a bigger part of your plan now maybe for next year?

>> 100%. i think this is what everybody talks about in the community. it's no longer, you know, tickets to a game you may have or what you're doing this weekend. it's if you have is a generator.

>> reporter: call it the generator generation. a couple years ago you wouldn't see people flocking to buy them, but now?

>> we'll be getting some sort of better built-in generator, for sure.

>> reporter: you have had this great role. you've played host to a lot of your neighbors this week.

>> people have now been coming to us to charge their phones, to get some work done.

>> reporter: right.

>> to stay warm, to have a hot meal.

>> this is my new hotel, and i get to stay here until i have power because he doesn't have a choice because i married his sister.

>> reporter: your generator is running right now.

>> yes, it is.

>> but we're still sitting by candlelight.

>> correct. because it can only power so much.

>> reporter: with the great demand for generators comes the great demand for fuel though many gas stations like this one in westchester are running out very quickly leaving people who did prepare ahead by getting generators in the dark.

>> we actually had to siphon three cars that are somewhat full of gas. if we have to, we'll start taking gas out of the cars.

>> reporter: nearby at the schwartz house, a generator party, pizza, play dates and most importantly on this night electricity.

>> we are luckier than some in this neighborhood. i mean, if you look around, it's complete blackness for the most part. we decided we'll invite our friends and their parents and got pizza and salad and a movie playing. the kids are having a great time.

>> reporter: a typical scene. those who can help do, a simple act of generator generosity. the neighbors have wine, the kids are entertained and for one night life seems okay. how many of guys are having fun at the pizza party tonight?

>> me!

>> reporter: yeah! while sandy has left so many in the dark, for these neighbors there's no better sound than the dull hum keeping them company. all hail the generator. it could be a week or more before the lights go back on number places. for now, a little credit for those of you who have a generator and a lot of credit for those of you sharing its power with others in the dark. savannah.

>> a lot of people saying that was a good decision to get a generator if they got one.

>> reporter: whoever doesn't have one this year, getting one next year.