Lower Manhattan Update 11-12-12

Lower Manhattan experienced a significant impact from Hurricane Sandy, but the recovery process has begun. The Downtown Alliance has compiled this information to help businesses, retailers, residents, and commercial property owners. Please email us at contactus@downtownny.com with any questions.

As the recovery process continues to make significant strides, the Downtown Alliance is producing a daily email that provides you with all of the updates that could affect your home, business or office in Lower Manhattan with information from various agencies including New York City, New York State, MTA, Port Authority, Con Ed and more.  If you would like to subscribe, please click here.

Remember, you can also get the latest updates and retail openings from Facebook and Twitter.

IMPORTANT LINKS

Federal Disaster Assistance

Business Recovery Resources

Disaster Assistance Service Centers

Food, blanket and water distribution locations

Daytime Warming Centers

Overnight Warming Center locations and bus pick ups

Emergency Shelters

Medical Van Locations

School Relocation Information

MTA Status (Subways, Buses, Metro North, LIRR)

Subway Map

East River Ferry

Hudson River Ferries

PATH

NJ Transit

Volunteer Opportunities

Con Edison

Parks

Alternate Side Parking and Meters

Sanitation

UPDATE ON CITY RECOVERY AND ASSISTANCE OPERATIONS

Power Washing

Today, teams including FDNY, Department of Environmental Protection and other City agency workers began power-washing streets in areas that experienced flooding and accumulated sand and other debris as a result of Hurricane Sandy.

The teams are operating today in the zone between Beach Channel Drive south to Rockaway Freeway and east to west from Beach 73rd Street to Beach 94th Street.

Day of Service

Yesterday, Mayor Bloomberg kicked off a day of service to assist New Yorkers and clean-up areas damaged by Hurricane Sandy:

–       1,000 volunteers participated in the latest of several City-organized service days

–       19 different sites in Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island

–       Service work included hot food preparation and service; distribution of non-perishable food, water and other supplies; boardwalk and parks clean-up; and games and activities for children.

–       An additional 1,825 volunteers have assisted in City parks cleanup at 16 different sites between Friday and Saturday.

–       Those who want to volunteer can visit NYC Service at: http://www.nyc.gov/html/nycservice/home.html

Food, Water & Supply Distribution at City-Run Resource Sites

The City has opened food and water distribution sites in the hardest hit areas and are staffed by City employees, volunteers, the Salvation Army and National Guard. Locations and hours: http://www.nyc.gov/html/misc/html/2012/foodandwater.html.

From Thursday, November 1 through Saturday, November 10, the following have been distributed:

–       More than 1.97 million meals

–       Nearly 539,640 bottles of water

–       146,950 blankets

–       1,248 cases of diapers

–       183 cases of baby wipes

–       670 cases of baby formula

–       8,500 units of new underwear (kids and adults)

–       3,840 thermal blankets

–       1,552 winter hats

–       389 scarves

–       2,586 socks

–       8,550 blankets

–       4,000 hand-warmers

–       6,252 D batteries

–       9,972 C batteries

–       335 cases of garbage bags

–       3,399 flashlights/lanterns

–       476 cases of toilet paper

–       837 cases of bleach

–       20,000 cases of Ziploc bags

–       6,000 masks

–       10,000 boxes of cleaning wipes

–       1,500 work gloves

–       878 bars of soap

–       140 cases of toothbrushes

–       750 units of toothpaste

–       584 bath towels

Canvassing

The City continues to coordinate canvassing operations to check on homebound New Yorkers. Volunteers have canvassed more than 15,100 apartments and reached more than 15,000 people in NYCHA properties, rental buildings and single-family homes.

Power Customers Out

–       Total Con Ed customers without power: 27,060

–       Total LIPA customers without power: 39,100

NYC Rapid Repairs

Mayor Bloomberg announced NYC Rapid Repairs, a new program to send teams of contractors and City inspectors to areas impacted by Hurricane Sandy:

–       Under unprecedented partnership with FEMA, City will coordinate all repair work

–       Crews work to quickly and efficiently repair damaged homes

–       Homeowners can sign up on nyc.gov or 311 to secure; they must also register for a FEMA ID number from disasterassistance.gov or 1-800-621-3362

Rockaway Ferry Service

The City, with Seastreak, will provide temporary ferry service between the Rockaways and Manhattan beginning Monday, November 12:

–       Ferries depart from Beach 108th Street and Beach Channel Drive and stop at Pier 11 in Lower Manhattan

–       Free transfers between Pier 11 and East 34th Street in Midtown

–       Service runs from 5:45AM and depart regularly until 9:20 AM

–       Regular service resume at evening rush hour

–       One-way fares will cost $2.00

The Economic Development Corporation installed a temporary landing in the Rockaways to accommodate the temporary ferry service.

NYCHA Facilities

–       The City has assessed all NYCHA housing in Zone A and found no major long-term structural issues. All NYCHA buildings flooded in the storm have been pumped dry.

–       Power has been restored to 369 of the 402 buildings that were impacted by the storm.

–       Heat and hot water have been restored to 290 of the 386 buildings that were impacted by the storm.

–       NYCHA has set up warming centers in Red Hook and additional warming centers are being established. NYCHA staff and volunteers have been providing blankets to residents who have not had heat or hot water restored.

Trees and Debris

–       The City has received 26,102 tree requests to date.

–       Of those requests, 15,468 were for trees down.

–       The City has addressed 9,406 of these emergency tree conditions and crews continue to work around the clock to address conditions.

Sanitation 24-Hour Debris Cleanup Continues; Recycling Resumes

Mayor Bloomberg directed the Department of Sanitation to adjust collections schedule so that 24-hour cleanup could continue in the hard-hit areas of Staten Island, Queens and Brooklyn.

Areas normally receiving three times a week collection may only receive two collections per week, while areas that receive two times per week collection may only receive one collection while the emergency debris removal work continues.

Recycling resumed today, Sunday, November 11.

Recycling collections on Sunday have begun with regularly scheduled Saturday recycling.  Regularly scheduled Monday recycling will be picked up on Monday, November 12, even though the day was originally scheduled as a holiday in observance of Veterans’ Day.

–       728 pieces of sanitation equipment are working on debris removal, including 270 trucks, 234 mechanical broom, 114 front end loaders and 110 cut down dump trucks.

–       Sanitation crews have collected more than 225,000 tons of trash, debris and tree as a part of storm cleanup operations.

The heavily-impacted areas will continue to receive collection and debris removal around the clock.

Odd-Even Gasoline Purchasing System

Mayor Bloomberg signed an emergency executive order today establishing an odd-even license plate system for gasoline purchases to reduce wait times and lines at gas stations. The temporary system will remain in effect from until further notice and will operate as follows:

–       Vehicles with license plates ending in an even number or ‘zero’ purchase fuel on even numbered days.

–       Vehicles with license plates ending in an odd number purchase fuel on odd numbered days.

–       Vehicles with licenses plates ending in letters will be deemed as odd numbered plates and can make purchases on odd numbered days.

–       Commercial vehicles, emergency vehicles, buses and paratransit vehicles, Medical Doctor (MD) plates and vehicles licensed by the Taxi and limousine Commission are exempt.

–       The use of legal walk-up fuel containers by individuals is not affected by the executive order.

Mobile Medical Teams for Far Rockaway and Coney Island

The City has deployed mobile medical teams consisting of a paramedic and member of the National Guard to the Far Rockaways and Coney Island. The teams will go door-to-door in tall residential buildings from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM to:

–       Ensure residents’ medical needs are met

–       Conduct medical assessments to determine if  residents are safe

–       Connect residents with prescription medications

–       If needed, take residents to a field clinic or hospital for medical care

Mobile Medical Vans with Prescription Services

The City has deployed vans staffed with primary care providers who will be able to provide medical care and distribute commonly prescribed drugs at several locations in the Rockaways, Brooklyn, and Staten Island. Volunteers are also going door-to-door to reach people who may have medical needs but remain in their homes without heat and power. The location and hours are available here: http://www.nyc.gov/html/misc/html/2012/medical_vans.html.

Support to Businesses

The City’s Department of Small Business Services and Economic Development Corporation have put together a package of support for NYC businesses impacted by the storm:

–       Emergency low-interest loans of up to $25,000 for businesses that have been interrupted and suffered damage as a result of the storm. Applications are available at any of the City’s NYC Business Solutions Centers, by calling 311 and asking for “NYC Business Emergency Loan,” or by visiting http://on.nyc.gov/contactnycbiz.

–       For businesses facing significant rebuilding costs, the City will provide sales tax exemptions of up to $100,000 on purchases of materials, equipment and related services needed to rebuild. Learn more here: http://www.nycedc.com/backtobusiness

–       For displaced businesses, the City has identified more than 170,000 square feet that will be made available free of charge, including 40,000 square feet of City space at the Brooklyn Army Terminal, and more than 125,000 square feet of space that private landlords have made available, across the five boroughs. A full listing of commercial spaces and other resources is available at http://www.nycedc.com/donations.

–       Information on disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration is available at any of the City’s NYC Business Solutions Centers, by calling 1-800-659-2955, or by visiting http://www.sba.gov/disaster.

–       Alliance for Coney Island—a nonprofit organization formed, with the help of the City, to continue the transformation of Coney Island into a year-round, world-class recreational oceanfront destination—launched ConeyRecovers.org, a multipronged relief and recovery effort to help Coney Island residents and businesses dealing with the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. The Alliance is comprised of all major Coney businesses, and the City has provided them with $630,000 in funding originally allocated to the Coney Island Development Corporation which will wind down operations.

All City Schools Open

City schools are open to all students, and those students and staff who have been reassigned from buildings that sustained structural damage went to other school sites. Parents should continue to check the status of their schools by:

–       Clicking here for the school locator search or by going to www.nyc.gov/schools

–       Call 311 or texting “nycschools” or ‘escuela’ to 877-877.

The Department of Education has coordinated transportation options for families with children who have been reassigned to other school sites:

–       Full reimbursement for any family of a K-8 student at a relocated school taking MTA/cab service to and from school.

–       55 cents per mile reimbursement for any family of a student at a relocated school who uses their own vehicles.

–       Free metro-cards will be distributed to all high school students at relocated schools who do not already have one.

The City has conducted extensive outreach to families, making 1.2 million robo-calls to parents; direct messages were sent from principals and parent coordinators to parents; full page advisories ran in three of New York City’s newspapers; text messages were sent to parents and families enrolled in the Department of Education’s texting program; and information was provided to television and radio outlets.

Air BNB Temporary Housing

Air BNB, an on-line service that connects people seeking temporary housing with those who have unused space, has launched a new platform to link New Yorkers displaced by Hurricane Sandy to New Yorkers who want to offer free places to stay. Air BNB is providing with service at no fee, and information is available at http://www.airbnb.com/sandy.

Partnership with Local Food Trucks

The Mayors Fund to Advance New York City has partnered with the NYC Food Truck Association, NYC Food Film Festival and local food trucks to coordinate hot food distribution at 21 sites in areas severely impacted by Hurricane Sandy in Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island. The locations and hours are available here: http://www.nyc.gov/html/misc/html/2012/hot_food.html.

Shelter for Those without Heat

Cold weather in the city will continue and increases the risk of hypothermia. Anyone who needs heat should find warm shelter, whether at City facilities or with a friend or relative.

Evacuation shelters remain open and as of Sunday morning, they were 2,194 evacuees and 731 staff.

–       There are 6 shelters operating and two locations were those in need can seek referrals to shelter sites: http://www.nyc.gov/html/misc/html/2012/hurricane_shelters.html.

–       The City also has opened daytime-only warming centers at senior centers in every borough: http://www.nyc.gov/html/misc/html/2012/warming_ctr.html.

–       Those who are using generators in their homes to run their heat should be very careful to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning by never using portable generators indoors, in garages or near open windows.

–       Early signs of hypothermia include uncontrollable shivering, confusion or sleepiness, slowed or slurred speech, stiffness in arms and legs, poor control over body movements and slow reaction.

Disaster Assistance Service Centers

The City’s Human Resources Administration in cooperation with FEMA, operates three sites to provide information about applying for emergency social and economic benefits and to connect residents with recovery resources. The list of sites can be found here: http://www.nyc.gov/html/misc/html/2012/

Alternate Side Parking

–       Alternate Side Parking regulations are not in effect on Sunday, November 11, and will also be suspended for Veterans Day, Monday, November 12, as previously scheduled.

–       All other parking regulations remain in effect.

Volunteering, Donating and Giving Blood

–       To date, more than $35 million supporting Hurricane Sandy relief has come into the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City from more than 10,000 donors from around the country.

–       Cash donations to support these and other efforts can be made through the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City. Learn more here: http://www.nyc.gov/fund

–       Cash donations are preferable to in-kind donations because the logistics of collecting and distributing those supplies are complex.

–       Anyone wishing to make cash contributions can go to nyc.gov or call 311.

RESUMPTION OF PATH SERVICE FROM NEWARK TO 33rd STREET BEGINNING MONDAY

Governor Cuomo and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie today announced that PATH rail service will resume at the Newark Penn and Harrison stations in New Jersey to Manhattan beginning tomorrow, November 12 at 5 a.m. Trains will run in both directions until 10 p.m. between Newark Penn, New Jersey and 33rd Street in New York.

In addition to Newark Penn and Harrison, the temporary line also will include stops at Journal Square, Grove Street, and Newport stations in New Jersey and at the 14th, 23rd and 33rd Street stations in Manhattan. Trains will bypass Christopher and 9th streets in New York. Disabled passengers will have access to the platforms only at Newark, Journal Square and 33rd Street.

PATH service remains suspended at the Hoboken, Exchange Place and the World Trade Center stations as recovery efforts continue. Due to significant damage that resulted from the unprecedented and widespread flooding in the PATH tunnels and multiple stations, it will be several weeks before resumption of service on the Newark-World Trade Center line and the lines to and from Hoboken station.

Port Authority officials caution passengers that they may experience extended waits and potential delays until service returns to normal. To reduce crowding at station ticket vending machines, passengers can opt to purchase SmartLink cards with pre-funded trips.

To provide additional mass transit options from Hoboken to Manhattan, the Port Authority and New Jersey Transit also will begin operating a new ferry service from the Hoboken Ferry Terminal on Monday. NJ Transit customers will now be able to take a bus to the Hoboken Ferry Terminal and then transfer to a ferry that will take passengers to Pier 79 at 39th street in Manhattan. The fare is $5 and ferries will run back and forth between Hoboken and Manhattan from 6 a.m. – 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., Monday thru Friday. Free shuttle buses will be provided from Pier 79 to midtown Manhattan.

Passengers who normally use the Hoboken station to get to Manhattan can also choose to make the ten minute walk to the Newport station, or take advantage of several other ferry and bus alternatives. Ferry service to Lower Manhattan is available from Liberty State Park and to Midtown Manhattan from Weehawken, New Jersey. In addition, NJ Transit has doubled the number of No. 106 buses from Hoboken to the Port Authority Bus Terminal in both directions.

APPLICATION FOR FEDERAL DISASTER UNEMPLOYMENT ASSISTANCE EXTENDED

Governor Cuomo announced that New Yorkers who lost their job or income due to Hurricane Sandy now have an extension from December 3, 2012 to February 4, 2013 to apply for federal disaster unemployment assistance (DUA).

Additionally, claimants now have up to 90 days to submit proof of employment or self-employment and will be provided an IRS link to expedite the retrieval of lost or destroyed tax documents.

Disaster unemployment benefits are available to provide financial support to anyone who has lost their job and live or work in the Bronx, Kings, New York, Richmond, Queens, Nassau, Suffolk, Rockland and Westchester counties.

This assistance supplements New York’s existing unemployment insurance system and expands eligibility to include individuals who might otherwise not be covered. The Federal Government has committed to providing additional assistance as the demand for these services is identified.

Since DUA relief was announced, the Department of Labor has received more than 17,000 calls related to disaster unemployment. More than 2,700 for claims disaster unemployment assistance have already been filed, surpassing the combined total claims filed for Hurricane Irene and Lee.

Anyone unemployed as a result of Hurricane Sandy can submit a claim to the Department of Labor. The criterion for collecting disaster assistance is broader than for collecting regular unemployment benefits. Specifically, an individual can collect disaster assistance in any of the following cases:

–       Injured in the disaster and unable to work, whether the person is an employee or self-employed.

–       Workplace is damaged, or destroyed, or the person cannot work because of the disaster.

–       Transportation to work is not available because of the disaster.

–       Cannot get to work because they must travel through the affected area, which is impossible due to disaster.

–       Scheduled to begin working, but cannot because of the disaster.

–       Derived most of income from areas affected by the disaster, and business is closed or inoperable because of the disaster.

–       Is not otherwise eligible for regular unemployment benefits.

However, this list is not exhaustive, and if someone is uncertain about eligibility, he or she is encouraged to apply. All applicants will be required to submit wage information and documentation supporting their application.

Examples of self-employment include small business owners, independent taxi drivers, vendors, independent commercial fisherman, and farmers.

To apply for unemployment benefits or disaster unemployment assistance, those affected by the storm and have lost their job or income should call the Telephone Claims Center (TCC) at 1-888-209-8124, or 1-877-358-5306 if they live out of state. Applicants should answer the questions to indicate they lost their job due to Hurricane Sandy. In order to receive benefits you must apply by February 4, 2013.

LIMITED OPENING OF HUGH L. CAREY TUNNEL FOR RUSH-HOUR BUSES
Governor Cuomo announced the Gov. Hugh L. Carey Tunnel, formerly known as the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, will reopen for limited rush-hour bus service Monday morning.

Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) express buses from Brooklyn and Staten Island will be able to use one lane of one tube for inbound service from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., and for outbound service from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. The tunnel will remain closed at other times as crews continue their round-the-clock work to repair extensive flooding damage.

The Carey Tunnel flooded during Hurricane Sandy with an estimated 43 million gallons of water in each of its two tubes. The salt water caused extensive corrosion damage to the electrical, lighting, communications, surveillance and ventilation systems in each tunnel.

Express buses will be able to use one lane of the eastern tube, which usually carries Manhattan-bound traffic. The other lane of that tube is being used to stage repair and recovery equipment. Lighting in the tube will be limited and will be supplemented with emergency illumination.

The western tube, which usually carries Brooklyn-bound traffic, suffered more extensive damage and is still being emptied of water in air ducts below the roadway surface. No timetable is available for reopening the western tube.

LIRR SCHEDULE

Governor Cuomo announced that the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) will begin operating a weekday schedule on Monday, November 12, on 10 of its 11 branches as two of the Amtrak East River Tunnels flooded during Hurricane Sandy are reopened.

The temporary repairs, which allow the tunnels to be reopened, reduce the number of trains that can travel through the tunnels. As a result, this schedule will include canceled and/or diverted trains during the morning and evening rush hours through the end of the year. Amtrak will continue to make permanent repairs to the signal system for the two impacted tunnels.

The new weekday schedule represents an average 70 percent of the LIRR’s regular rush hour capacity. Starting Monday, nineteen of the LIRR’s 143 morning rush hour trains will be canceled or diverted to another terminal. In the evening rush hour, of the 127 trains the LIRR operates, 23 will be canceled. Overall, across the entire day, the adjustments provide for 83 percent of normal weekday service capacity.

Train service on the Long Beach Branch remains suspended with bus service operating beginning at 5 AM between Long Beach and Lynbrook, where train connections can be made.

To reopen the two damaged tunnels, Amtrak is using a temporary signal sequence while the various components of the permanent signal system are removed, repaired and replaced. Amtrak estimates that the repair to the salt water-damaged signal system is not expected to be completed until the end of the year. The LIRR has been in close contact with Amtrak on the repair plan and effort.

Beginning Monday, November 12, new timetables will be in effect and full fares will be charged on all trains, including higher onboard fares for those who do not purchase tickets in advance, except at stations where the ticket vending machine is not operating due to the storm impact and/or a ticket window is not open.

Some trains are likely to be crowded. Customers are advised to allow extra travel time, expect 10-15 minute delays and move to the center of the train.

Weekend service is expected to be unaffected since a smaller number of trains operate on the weekends.

PHARMACISTS, EMTS, AND DENTISTS TO HELP ADMINISTER TETANUS VACCINES

Governor Cuomo announced that he has signed an Executive Order that will make it easier for people in areas affected by Hurricane Sandy to be vaccinated against tetanus to prevent infections that could result from exposure to tetanus bacteria during post-storm cleanup activities.

Under the Order, pharmacists will be allowed to administer tetanus shots at their place of business, and emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and dentists will be able to assist city or county health departments in administering tetanus vaccines.

Due to the possibility of getting deep cuts or wounds when cleaning up debris, performing tasks that involve contact with soil or dirty materials, or making repairs to homes in the aftermath of the Hurricane Sandy, people need to guard against tetanus infection. Emergency responders, volunteers and residents working on repair, construction and cleanup projects should check to make sure they have been immunized for tetanus within the last 10 years; if they are not up-to-date with the immunization or are unsure of the date of their last tetanus-containing vaccination, they should obtain a tetanus booster.

The New York State Health Department and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene urge people to contact their primary health care provider first to receive a tetanus booster shot. If their primary care provider is not operating or they cannot get to their primary care provider’s office, individuals should contact their local pharmacy or local health department to inquire about receiving a booster shot. Many pharmacies in the affected areas are ready to provide these vaccinations. Residents in New York City can call 311 to locate a vaccination site.

Tetanus is an infection caused by bacteria that are present in dust, soil or manure, and enters the body through puncture wounds or cuts. After entering the body, the bacteria can produce toxins that can cause painful muscle contractions in the neck and abdomen, which are often characterized as “lockjaw”, and can impair breathing. Left untreated, tetanus can be fatal.

In addition to following safety guidelines to prevent injuries during cleanup or construction activities, all wounds and cuts should be washed thoroughly with soap and water. Medical attention should be sought for puncture wounds and lacerations. People who do sustain injuries and have not had a tetanus booster in the past five years should be revaccinated as part of treatment for the injury.

As a result of widespread immunization, tetanus is a rare disease in the U.S. All children who attend day care in New York State, as well as those entering grades K-12 are required under State law to receive a series of immunizations for tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis. A booster vaccine (Tdap) is also required for children born after January 1, 1994, who will be enrolled in grades 6-11.

The vaccine may be effective after a person suffers a wound, but in some cases, tetanus immune globulin may be required. A tetanus booster in the form of a Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria toxoid and acellular pertussis) vaccination is recommended and will provide protection against two additional diseases. A Td (tetanus and diphtheria) booster can also be used. Tdap is preferred over Td when available and will provide adults with protection against pertussis (whooping cough), which has seen a rise in the number of reported cases statewide this year.

SUPPLIES DONATED BY HOME DEPOT 

Governor Cuomo today announced that key supplies donated by Home Depot have been delivered to thousands of New Yorkers in impacted areas to assist in relief efforts after Hurricane Sandy.

Supplies were delivered to locations in New York City and Long Island.