Saturday, November 3, 2012

Hurricane Sandy Update From Park Slope Neighbors

Eric McClure put together an update so comprehensive I'm just going to post it in the entirety below (note that the F train should be up and running later today, and 4/5 are already active):

Hurricane Sandy Update: Saturday 10:00 a.m.

Dear Park Slope Neighbor,

Here's the latest update from the Mayor's Office, via Andrew Olsen, Brooklyn Director of the Mayor's Community Affairs Unit, augmented in places with breaking news.  We've also tacked on some more info at the end.

While not all of the information in this update is directly pertinent to Park Slope or even Brooklyn as a whole, we're including it in case you want to communicate this information to others.

FEMA intake centers (MCU Park in Brooklyn and Mount Lorretto and Miller's Field in Staten Island) are up and running. Those affected by Sandy will be able to meet with FEMA, SBA, and HRA reps, have questions answered, and file the necessary paperwork for disaster relief. There are also charging centers provided at the two Staten Island location by Time Warner Cable which will be there through the weekend. 

We want to make sure that everyone who can and wants too will utilize these sites. They are operating 7 days a week and will do their best to address everyone's needs. 

Food & Water Distribution Sites:
  • Today we had 13 food and water distribution sites set up in the hardest-hit areas of the city.   
    • Yesterday we distributed 290,000 meals and almost 500,000 bottles of water and did a full distribution today.
    • These sites are staffed by NYC Service volunteers, the Salvation Army, and the National Guard.
  • The details of these sites, including the exact locations and hours of operation, can be found here:
    • The sites will be open from 1-5 Saturday and Sunday.
    • We will keep them operational for as long as is needed.
  • Each person will be able to take three meals and five bottles of water at these sites. 
  • People should bring their own bags to carry their food and water.
  • We are distributing hundreds of thousands of flyers in English, Spanish, and Chinese to get word out to these impacted communities.
  • AT&T will bring pods that provide cell service and charging stations to the areas around the food distribution sites, and also throughout Zone A.
Volunteering, Donating, and Giving Blood:
  • Cash donations to support these and other efforts can be made through the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City.  Learn more here:
  • Generally speaking cash donations are preferable to in-kind donations because the logistics of collecting and distributing those supplies are complex
  • Those who want to volunteer can visit NYC Service at:
    • Giving blood is incredibly helpful right now.  For more information visit:
Disaster Assistance Centers:
  • Today we opened five of these centers that provide information about applying for emergency social and economic benefits.
  • Right now they are operating in temporary locations but we will have them in more permanent locations by late next week.
  • These facilities are being operated by the City's Human Resources Administration in cooperation with FEMA.
  • They will be open from 10am to 7pm, seven days/week.
  • There are two centers in the Rockaways, two on Staten Island, and one in Coney Island.  Here are the temporary locations:
    • Staten Island:
      • Parking lot at the Mission of the Immaculate Virgin at Mount Loretto, 6581 Hylan Boulevard
      • Miller Field parking lot, 600 New Dorp Lane
      • The MTA is providing free shuttle bus service along Beach Channel Drive to and from the sites on the Rockaways.
    • Rockaways:
      • Parking lot of the Duane Reade pharmacy, B-116 Beach Channel Drive, Far Rockaway.
      • Fort Tilden Park parking lot, Beach Channel Boulevard, near Breezy Point.
    • Coney Island:
      • Parking lot at MCU Park, 1904 Surf Avenue.
  • There are three major disruptions in getting gasoline to the city:
    • Refineries are down
    • Pumping stations have no electricity
    • Terminals in the region have been closed
  • Power is now back on at the pipeline that serves our city, the Buckeye pipeline complex in Linden, NJ
    • Fuel will begin flowing again today or tomorrow
  • We worked with the Coast Guard and the Port Authority to unlock a barge that was stuck in port.  It has gone up the Hudson to Newburgh, where it is unloading 64,000 barrels of gasoline that will enter the supply.
  • We have a plan in place to ensure that fire, police, and other critical service vehicles have the fuel they need.
  • While there will be some lags and delays in getting gas to service stations, the major impediment to getting that done has been removed.
  • Until the system is fully restored we encourage people to not drive unnecessarily. 
  • New York City tap water is safe.
  • However water in Breezy Point is not potable and should not be consumed in any way. 
  • Traffic is very heavy in the city, particularly on routes into Manhattan.  We strongly urge people to not take their cars into Manhattan if at all possible.
  • The 3-person HOV restriction on crossings into Manhattan expired at 5pm Friday.
  • The Holland Tunnel is open to commercial vehicles and buses. Details here:
  • The Hugh Carey Brooklyn Battery Tunnel is still closed.
  • Alternate side parking is will be in effect Saturday.
  • Meters are in effect.
Mass Transit:
  • Commuters should expect extensive delays on mass transit.
  • Subways, railroads, and buses are operating on a modified basis. 
    • Lower Manhattan below 34th Street has no subway service, and some lines are still completely suspended (Breaking: 4, 5, 6 and 7 lines fully restored. D, F, J and M lines to be back later today).
    • LIRR and Metro North are running with modifications.
    • Bus service is largely restored
    • Fares on MTA services are back in effect.
    • All details on MTA service status can be found at:
  • Staten Island Ferry service is running and will be back on its full schedule Saturday.
  • The East River Ferry is running
  • PATH service is still suspended
  • NJ Transit services have been restored on a limited basis.  Details are here:
  • Public schools will be open on Monday. 
  • However, 65 schools will not open on Monday because of damage from the storm.  Students from those schools will not report to school on Monday as we repair damage and determine any necessary relocations
  • Information about these 65 schools and more can be found online at:
  • Con Ed has made progress in restoring power, with lights turning on for many people in South Brooklyn, Staten Island, and some parts of Lower Manhattan.  Con Ed has set a goal of restoring power to all Manhattan customers by the end of the weekend. 
  • Those parts of the city with overhead power lines still without service may not have it restored possibly until next weekend.
  • Anyone without power who is using candles for light should be extremely careful – do not leave them burning through the night and do not leave them unattended.  Candles can be a fire hazard.  Last night we had a fire started by candles.
Building Inspections:
  • The Department of Buildings is inspecting buildings in hard-hit Zone A areas to assess their structural integrity. There are three areas where these inspections are happening: Staten Island, the Rockaways, and Lower Manhattan.
  • Buildings will be tagged with one of three color placards to indicate their safety:
    • Green: the building is safe to enter
    • Red: the building is not safe and may not be entered
    • Yellow: it can be occupied conditionally (i.e. one floor may be safe while another is not.) These conditions would be explained on the placard.
  • Building owners can also self-certify with the Department of Buildings.
Support to Businesses:
  • We have put together a package of support for NYC businesses impacted by the storm:
    • Emergency loans of up to $10,000 for small and mid-sized businesses that have been interrupted as a result of the storm.
    • For larger businesses that were damaged, temporary City and State sales tax deferment on materials needed for rebuilding.
    • For businesses displaced from their locations, we're offering temporary office space free of charge at the Brooklyn Army Terminal for the next 30 days.
    • EDC has about 40,000 square feet of space at the Terminal that is now available for this use.
    • Loans up to $2 million are also available for business property losses not fully covered by insurance – and for businesses that have had cash flow problems caused by the storm and need funds to get back on their feet.
      • That applies to small businesses, agricultural co-ops, and most nonprofits, regardless of size.
  • To get information contact NYC Business Solutions by calling 311 or going to
Federal Disaster Assistance:
  • Anyone affected by Sandy – homeowners, renters, and businesses – can apply for federal disaster assistance.
  • They can register at or by calling the Federal Emergency Management agency at 1-800-621-3362.
Healthcare Facilities:

  • Bellevue, New York Downtown, Manhattan VA, NYU Langone, and Coney Island Hospitals have all been evacuated.
  • The number of shelters has been consolidated to 15, since many of the shelters had just a few people staying in them. 
  • Our shelter system will remain open until evacuees can return to their homes or find short-term housing.
Parks & Beaches:
  • We will open a majority of them by 8am on Saturday (including Prospect Park).
  • Details on park closures can be found here:
  • Because of sewer system discharges during the hurricane, no one should go in the Hudson or East Rivers, New York Harbor, Jamaica Bay or Kill Van Kull, or on them in a canoe or kayak or for wind-surfing, until further notice.

  • We have lifted the ban on exterior construction work that we imposed before the storm.
  • The Department of Sanitation is collecting garbage
  • They are not collecting recycling.
Reporting and Handling Conditions:
  • 911 should only be used in case of emergencies.
  • To report other conditions such as fallen trees and sewer backups, please use 311 Online, text 311 at 311-692, or call 311.
    • Fallen trees are incredibly dangerous.  Anyone who sees one should report it immediately.  No one should try to cut down or move damaged trees themselves.
  • Power outages and live wires should be directly reported to Con Ed (1-800-75-CON-ED) or LIPA (1-800-490-0075).
    • Live wires are also extremely dangerous.  No one should touch them or be near them.
Health and Safety Information:
  • Any food – including packaged food – that was touched by flood water should be thrown away.  The flood water may contain sewage or other contamination.
  • Other items that have been touched by flood water should be cleaned and disinfected.  This should be done as soon as possible to prevent mold growth.
  • Tap water is safe to drink (except in Breezy Point).
  • Do not use generators or grills indoors.  Carbon monoxide poisoning is a serious threat when these devices are used indoors.  They should only be used outside and kept away from windows and vents.
  • Everyone should have and use battery-operated carbon monoxide alarms. They should test the batteries if possible.
  • If someone experiences sleepiness, dizziness, headaches, confusion, weakness or the carbon monoxide alarm sounds, they should immediately seek fresh air and call the poison control center at 212–POISONS (212-764-7667.) They can also call 911, since poisoning is life threatening.
  • Important guides on carbon monoxide poisoning and food safety can be found at
Staying Informed
Thank you for all the work you are doing in your communities.  We will continue to make sure you have the information and resources you need to help our city recover.


Ryan Whalen
Chief of Staff to Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson

Here's some other information which may be helpful.  In general, there are significant needs for volunteers.

  • As most of you surely already know, the NYC Marathon has been cancelled.
  • Here are a couple great compilations of info about needs for donations and volunteer opportunities:
  • The Brooklyn Community Foundation has launched a Brooklyn Recovery Fund.  100% of funds donated will go to local recovery efforts in Brooklyn.  Click the link for info and to donate.
  • Five officers from the 78 Precinct and their families lost their homes and all their possessions to Sandy's wrath. Many others lost power, but have left their families in the dark and cold to come to Park Slope and keep us safe.

    We ask a lot of the police officers in our precinct, now the 78 Precinct Community Council is asking you to help our cops. The Council has set up a relief fund to help the homeless officers with immediate basic necessities including clothes and toiletries as well as future needs as the families rebuild their lives.

    Donations can be made payable to the: 
    78th Pct Community Council Relief Fund 
    c/o 78 Precinct Community Council 
    65 Sixth Avenue 
    Brooklyn, NY 11217

    You can drop off clothes, toiletries, gifts cards, etc at the 78 Precinct. The affected families consist of 10 adults (5 men, 5 women), a teenage boy and a 3 month old girl.
  • Leaves on sidewalks and gutters will contribute significantly to flooding problems if we get rain.  If it's at all possible, please collect and bag leaves around your homes.  We'll send information about facilities that will accept leaves for composting in a future update.

Thanks to Chris Owens, Jo Anne Simon, Rob Underwood and the 78th Precinct Community Council for additional information included above.


Eric McClure
Campaign Coordinator
Park Slope Neighbors

No comments: