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As politicians begin taking more seriously the possible construction of a sea barrier, Gov. Cuomo will travel to Washington today seeking over $40 billion in aid -- a large chunk of which will go towards protection from future storms. The Washington Post backed up similar thinking, calling big spending on preparation well worth it. But of course, planning will be difficult, and it's much more complicated than just walling of the city from nature. Future development should come into consideration; like new plans for Flushing Meadows Park in Queens. Some say the park's role as natural buffer against flooding would be compromised by the proposed stadiums and malls. And then there's the gas pipeline planned for construction under The Rockaways. Environmentalists say flooding in the area threatens its stability.
In the Press...
Behind a Call That Kept Nursing Home Patients in Stormâ€™s Path (NY Times)
New Yorkers Denied Aid by FEMA (Daily News)
NYCHA to Postpone Evictions for Sandy Victims Until Feb '13 (Daily News)
Between 20,000 and 40,000 were left homeless in the city by Sandy. About half of those are public-housing residents. The 115,000 people in the Rockaways remain without power, as do thousands more in Red Hook and Gerritsen Beach in Brooklyn, and New Dorp Beach on Staten Island. A cold snap is making this particularly problematic. Also, a norâ€™easter with 35-45mph sustained winds is likely to hit on Wednesday night, possibly bringing moderate flooding in areas already impacted by extreme flooding from Sandy.
Although the majority of the subway system is reopened, rail switch and signal failures will continue. It could also take several months to restore the A train to the Rockaways.
Fifty-nine polling places will be affected, and Mayor Bloomberg expresses little confidence the Board of Elections will manage it very well. The board still hasn't appointed an executive director and their Manhattan headquarters had no power all week. Those who can't get to their polling places may to go to the Board of Election's borough offices and vote until 5 p.m. today.
The city had been inundated with people dropping off goods, so officials and other groups are suggesting they give money, and possibly coats, instead. Dozens of buildings near the waterâ€™s edge, especially in the financial district, are weeks or months away from reopening. The fuel shortage could last for several more days. Currently 27 percent of gas stations in the area are empty. Major crime dropped significantly in the storm's wake, but burglaries saw a 3 percent increase. Generators, heaters, and other supplies for the canceled marathon remained unused in Central Park. More than 100 New York City public schools will remain closed today.
Superstorm Sandy left at least 2 million homes and businesses across the state and about 800,000 customers in the city and Westchester remained without power yesterday. More than half of Staten Island is without power, and over a quarter of Manhattan is in the dark. In Manhattan there are no streetlights South of 25th St. on the Westside. The substation in the East Village that exploded was designed to withstand a 12.5 foot surge but was hit with a surge of 14 feet. Customers served by underground lines in Brooklyn and Manhattan are likely to have their power restored within four days. Bloomberg promised "a very heavy police presence" in the darkened neighborhoods. Thirteen people have been arrested for crimes that included looting.
The death toll for the city is now 22. Untreated sewage is flowing into waterways from more than a dozen locations around the city. A crane still dangles from a skyscraper in Midtown and could be there for weeks. The World Trade Center is flooded. Sand is piled up to 2 feet high on the Coney Island boardwalk. At least 111 homes were destroyed by fires in Breezy Point, Queens in a blaze among the worst residential fires in New York since the Fire Department was established in 1865.
Much of the Tristate region has been declared a major disaster area, and FEMA will distribute billions of dollars in aid, which will be a test for the troubled agency. Many homeowners who thought their insurance policies covered floods are likely to have been mistaken - a common error - while others' policies have lapsed or won't cover all the damage.
The MTA is unaware of any permanent damage to the system but is still offering no estimate for when service will be restored. Buses have started running on some routes and could return to full service by sometime today.
Many are hoping the storm will finally push New York to prepare for climate change. â€śThree of the top 10 highest floods at the Battery since 1900 happened in the last two and a half years," Ben Strauss, director of the sea level rise program at the research group Climate Central in Princeton, N.J. "If thatâ€™s not a wake-up call to take this seriously, I donâ€™t know what is." Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said the state should consider a levee system or storm surge barriers, although Mayor Bloomberg says he is focusing on recovery for the city. Some individual parts of Sandy and its wrath seem to be influenced by climate change, several climate scientists said, but its not clear that can be said for the storm itself. Sandy broke coastal flood records for New York City by more than three feet above the previous record and more than double the range between the previous top ten.
The superstorm named Sandy brought flooding and power outages to the city with surges higher than the estimated 10 to 12 feet, but few deaths were reported.
The MTA is calling this the worst disaster in its history and an extended shutdown looms. Officials said it could take between 14 hours to four days to clear water from the tunnels.
At least 660,000 customers in New York had lost power as of late Monday night, and Con Ed says it could be a week before everyone gets power back. A customer is an individual meter, so the actual number of people affected is higher. Some 5.2 million people were left without electricity across the region. At least 10 deaths were blamed on the storm.
The city's storm shelters didn't reach 4 percent of their total capacity, even though Mayor Bloomberg urged 375,000 people in evacuation zones to leave, including 45,000 public housing residents. Cops with bullhorns drove building to building in the projects and Housing Authority workers knocked on doors.
Flooding overwhelmed Red Hook and Lower Manhattan. One of the units at Indian Point nuclear power plant was shut down. The boom of a construction crane for one of Manhattan's tallest residential towers was broken in the storm and dangles high above the city. 911 received 10 times more calls than usual.
The worst of Sandy is expected to hit the city Monday afternoon at the earliest. Officials warned the storm could wreak destruction in the Northeast for days. The New York area is expected to see some of the largest surges â€” and surges of 6 to 11 feet at Lower Manhattan have been predicted. Con Edison hasn't said how long New Yorkers might be without power if the storm damaged its network, but New Jersey utilities warned repairs could take up to 10 days after the storm. The MTA expressed optimism about restoring service by Wednesday, a return to normal is likely to come in fits and starts. Restoration of mass-transit service wasn't likely until at least 12 hours after the storm had passed. Bridges will close if sustained winds reach 60 miles per hour. By last night, 1,300 people had gone to 76 city shelters, with a capacity of 70,000. Some people experienced glitches with the evacuation app on NYC.gov website Sunday, creating confusion over whether to evacuate or not. Cuomo said that 1,100 National Guard troops had been deployed, including 200 in New York City.
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Queens Sen. Addabbo Against Gay Marriage Again (Daily News)
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