Strolling through downtown South Orange this morning, a visitor found normal signs of life and commerce nearly everywhere she looked.
Just a day after the Rahway River rose to near-historic levels, flooding nearby streets, there was little in the way of debris or standing water on South Orange Avenue and adjacent streets.
A check of local businesses turned up mostly good news. Village Diner was bustling with customers tucking into steaming mugs of coffee, crisp bacon and eggs any style.
"Yesterday was crazy busy," said manager Leo Ruiz, who noted that the diner had escaped the storm with no flooding or loss of power.
George Berkeley of The UPS Store said, "We had a little water blowing in through the roof, and about 2-3" in the basement -- but it's all cleaned up now."
Although they were officially closed yesterday, the store accommodated a request from a man who needed to send an inflatable kayak to a friend in Vermont. One would have thought the vessel might have been put to better use right here in New Jersey.
Berkeley also noted that he has available some industrial size styrofoam coolers and gel freezer packs, which he is renting out for $3. Contact him 973-821-5380 for more info.
Dunkin' Donuts -- which reportedly had 5" of water in its basement -- is currently open and bustling as usual.
Stony's, which had around 2 feet of water in its basement, was closed today as it usually is on Mondays. Here's hoping they will reopen by tomorrow.
As Maplewood and Millburn deal with more severe flooding, as well as downed trees, loss of power and water in some areas, South Orange can count itself lucky. Let's get out there and support our local businesses as they clean up from Hurricane Irene!