Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIII, No. 52
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Coldwell Banker Princeton Office

Prudential Fox and Roach, Realtors

Gloria Nilson GMAC Real Estate

Henderson Sotheby's International Realty

N.T. Callaway Princeton Office

Stockton Real Estate, LLC

Weichert, Realtors

Advertise in Town Topics

Iris Interiors

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Weather Forecast

UPS Store, Ichiban Are Recovering From Last Week’s Flood

Ellen Gilbert

Although the store still has no heat or electricity, UPS Store assistant manager Sweda Patel stood in 20 degree weather on Tuesday to perform the few remaining services available: selling boxes and mailing pre-paid packages. The presence of U.S. post office mailboxes requires that the store remain open.

In the meantime, machinery continued to pump water, the result of a broken pipe, that filled the basement of the UPS Store and neighboring Ichiban Japanese restaurant to a depth of about 10 feet last week. Ichiban, which sustained the greatest amount of damage, remains closed. Fire Deputy Chief Roy James said that a building inspector attributed the flood to “a two-inch sprinkler pipe that burst.”

“It’s a nightmare,” said UPS Store owner Tanuja Shah. “I don’t know what’s going to happen.”

Although “they came right away,” Ms. Shah spoke of “a tug of war” between the local fire department, American Water, and PSE&G. “The water was rising fast. If they had acted a little quicker — ten minutes earlier — it would not have come to the level it did in my store. One was waiting for the other,” she said.

“As far as I know there was no tug of war between us,” said Mr. James on hearing this description. Although he “escorted” PSE&G Gas representatives who had been with him on an earlier call to the new one at Witherspoon Street, they “just could not do anything” until PSE&G Electric arrived. “We couldn’t proceed until we were sure all the power to the building was cut and the water was de-electrified,” Mr. James said. “Unfortunately it just took a little bit longer for them to get there than we would have hoped.

“We had a great response from local companies, including Task Force 801, who made sure all the buildings were cleared. I want to express my thanks to everyone who responded,” Mr. James noted. “They really worked hard.”

PSE&G could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.

The flood closed Witherspoon Street from Nassau Street to Paul Robeson Place for several hours on Wednesday, December 23. Area merchants were not happy about the disruption to holiday shopping. Electricity and gas service was shut off in neighboring stores as water was pumped out of the basement, and a weight-bearing wall beneath A Little Taste of Cuba was successfully shored up. Verizon telephone service to Palmer Square area stores was also impacted for several hours.

“Mr. Pann is doing everything he can to get the power restored,” said Ms. Patel, referring to building owner Chelsey Pann, who also owns Hunan Chinese Restaurant at 157 Withersoon Street. “He’s waiting for approval from the Borough. Hopefully, we’ll reopen on Saturday, or, at the latest, Monday.”

Both Ms. Shah and Ms. Patel expressed gratitude for the consoling messages they received from their Princeton customers in the aftermath of the flood. Ms. Shah described them as “great supporters.”

“We don’t care about the damages, but we do care about our customers,” said Ms. Patel.

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