Friday, December 19, 2014

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Gas Lines Pop Up Citywide As Relief Efforts Continue

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As power and mass transit continues to slowly come back online for New Yorkers and storm relief efforts advance, long gas lines have sprung up across the five boroughs, prompting yet another emergency response on the state and federal level.

Lines at some service stations are stretching down the street for several blocks as drivers wait their turn for fuel.

The shortage is the result of power outages in areas where fuel is pumped from refineries or loaded into tanker trucks. As a result, many local service stations can't get fuel delivered – which has put the strain on those few gas stations with fuel to sell.

Even if stations do have gas, some of them are in areas that have no power and can't pump it until the electricity comes back.

The wait is also affecting people who don't drive, as residents on foot line up to fill gas containers for generators. The shortage has also resulted in fewer cabs on the streets.

In response, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Saturday that, in coordination with the Department of Defense, temporary fuel trucks are being deployed to key locations in New York City and Long Island to help provide gas to emergency vehicles and the general public.

The governor's office says the 5,000-gallon trucks have been dispatched to designated armory sites, but drivers are being warned that due to long lines and high demand, emergency personnel and first responder vehicles are being given first priority.

The trucks are being sent to the following locations:

Queens Armory
93-05 160th St.
Jamaica, NY 11433

Bronx Armory
10 West 195th St.
Bronx, NY 10468

Brooklyn Armory
1579 Bedford Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11225

Staten Island/Elizabeth Armory
321 Manor Road
Staten Island, NY 10314

Freeport Armory
63 Babylon Turnpike
Freeport, NY 11520

Power And Other Services

Six days after parts of the city went dark, Con Ed officials announced Saturday evening that all Manhattan power networks are now back online.

Many customers in mid- and lower Manhattan had their power restored Friday evening after Con Ed made repairs to the East 14th Street substation that was damaged by Sandy last Sunday night. Hours earlier, Con Ed restored power to 84,000 Staten Island customers in some of the hardest-hit areas.

The utility says if Manhattan customers are still without power, it's likely due to damaged equipment in the streets, or wind or water damage to individual buildings.

Approximately 153,000 Con Ed customers were without power as of 8 p.m. Saturday, including 74,067 in Queens, 27,842 on Staten Island, 24,707 in Brooklyn, 19,501 in the Bronx, and 9,211 in Manhattan.

Con Ed officials said it could take until next weekend or even longer to complete all the necessary repairs. At one point Tuesday night, there were more than 650,000 customers without power across the city, including 59 New York City Housing Authority developments.

Friday also saw the cancelation of the New York City Marathon, after city officials determined that running the race on Sunday would be unfair to the thousands of residents suffering in Sandy's aftermath.

Approximately 90 percent of all city schools will be open Monday.

The Department of Sanitation is making scheduled garbage collections as post-storm conditions permit, although recycling collections remain suspended.

Transit Info

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority continues to expand limited service on its subway and commuter rail lines.

During a morning briefing Saturday, Governor Cuomo said about 80 percent of the city's subway service has been restored.

View the latest subway line recovery map

Among the latest restorations are the 4, 5, and 6 which are running through Lower Manhattan.

The 7 train is also running across the East River again.

Service on the F, J, D, and M lines are expected to be back up later today.

Service on the 2, 3 trains between Manhattan and Brooklyn was expected to resume late Saturday or early Sunday.

Regular fares are back in effect after being suspended Thursday and Friday.

As of Saturday, limited Staten Island Railway service was back up.

On Saturday and Sunday, trains will run every hour between St. George Terminal and Tottenville.

There will be no weekday express service in the morning and evening rush hours. During those hours, trains will run every 15 minutes to coincide with ferry departures and arrivals.

During off-peak hours trains will run every 30 minutes.

Multiple lines on the Long Island Rail Road and Metro North Rail Road remain suspended as crews continue to clear tracks of debris and water.

Many of the city's bus routes are back up and running. However, those located in some of the hardest hit areas are being re-routed with limited service.

PATH trains continues to be suspended as crews work to pump water out of the tunnels.

For the latest subway, bus, and commuter rail updates, visit

Nearly all of the city's bridges are back open to traffic.

While the Cross Bay Bridge is open to vehicular traffic, Rockaway-bound traffic remains subject to closure for emergency response.

The Queens-Midtown and Hugh L. Carey/Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel remain closed due to flooding.

On Friday, one lane of the Holland Tunnel was opened in each direction for bus service only.

The Lincoln Tunnel has reopened.

All three major airports -- JFK, LaGuardia and Newark -- are back up and running.

Staten Island ferry service resumed on Friday.

NY Waterway's East River ferry service was operating on a limited service schedule.

Response And Relief

On Saturday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg delivered a warning to the city and scolded a Long Island power company.

The mayor says one of the biggest concerns right now is the cold weather.

With temperatures plummeting and people lacking power and homes, he's urging them to visit emergency shelters.

A particular area of concern is the Rockaways, which is currently coping with extensive damage left behind by Sandy.

The mayor criticized the Long Island Power Authority, which serves the peninsula for "not acting aggressively enough."

"We realize that LIPA has outages throughout Long Island, but the Rockaways were the hardest hit by the storm and when it comes to prioritizing resources, we think they should be first in line. So far that has not appeared to be the case and that is just not acceptable," Bloomberg said.

Mayor Bloomberg says the city's 76 shelters, which have been consolidated down to 15, remain open.

The mayor also says warming centers will open this weekend for residents needing relief from cold temperatures.

Click here for locations and times.

Meanwhile Governor Cuomo on Saturday announced that one million meals will be distributed over the next few days to help struggling New Yorkers. He also said that President Obama has approved a request to raise food stamp allocations by 50 percent this month.

On Friday, Cuomo announced homeowners devastated by the storm will be getting some support from the state.

The governor says the state legislature is setting aside $100 million to help cover some of the costs that will not be paid for by private insurance and FEMA aid.

The governor says if that's not enough they will try to find more funds.

Meantime, the Salvation Army's Emergency Disaster Services, working with the New York City Office of Emergency Management, planned to distribute food at 14 different locations in four boroughs Friday and Saturday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. View a list of Salvation Army food distribution locations.

As of Saturday, city officials had confirmed at least 42 deaths caused by Sandy. Details were released about 21 deaths in Staten Island, 10 deaths in Queens, eight deaths in Brooklyn and two deaths in Manhattan.

At least 21 people are reported dead on Staten Island, including two young boys who were swept away in the surge as well as an off-duty police officer who drowned after rescuing his family from rising waters in his South Beach home.

The most severe damage from the storm is being reported in and around the city's low-lying areas, especially the Rockaways and on Staten Island.

Department of Buildings inspectors are roving through Zone A areas to asses the structural integrity of homes. That needs to happen before the evacuation order will be lifted for those areas.

Inspections are happening in Lower Manhattan, the Rockaways, and on Staten Island.

Buildings will be tagged with a placard: Green means the building is safe to enter; Red means the building is not safe and may not be entered; and Yellow means the building can be occupied conditionally i.e. one floor may be safe but another is not.

The conditions will be explained on the placard.

Inspections of the Staten Island Zone A buildings are scheduled to be complete by the end of the weekend.

The state is also launching an emergency assistance hotline to help people and businesses hit hard by the storm to start rebuilding. The number is 855-NYS-SAND(Y) or 855-697-7263.

Cuomo says he hopes the hotline will help people avoid bureaucracy.

As for federal help for New York, Governor Cuomo says local governments can expect to be reimbursed for 90 to 100 percent of their clean up costs. Usually FEMA only covers 75 percent.

Cuomo says going forward, changes need to be made to the state's contingency plans for coastal flooding to protect New York in the event of another storm of Sandy's size.

Cuomo estimates the private sector will suffer billions of dollars in losses because of businesses staying closed, and people unable to get to work.

On Tuesday, President Obama declared a major disaster exists in New York, making federal funding available to affected individuals in the counties of Bronx, Kings, Nassau, New York, Richmond, Suffolk, and Queens.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency and Department of Homeland Security are helping to oversee recovery operations in affected areas.

FEMA says residents and business owners who sustained losses in the designated counties can begin applying for assistance by registering online at or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA or 1-800-462-7585 for the hearing and speech impaired. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week until further notice.

City residents who left their pets behind during the storm can call 1-347-573-1561 for assistance. The hotline connects the public to the NYC Animal Planning Task Force, which includes representatives from the ASPCA, the Mayor's Alliance for Animals and several other agencies.

The agencies have committed resources that include animal sheltering, veterinary support, and search and rescue.

Displaced residents are allowed to bring pets into city evacuation shelters.

Looting has also become an issue in parts of the city.

Police say 15 people in Queens are accused of ransacking various businesses in the Rockaways.

The Queens District Attorney says they face several charges, including burglary and possession of stolen property, for allegedly breaking into clothing stores, gas stations and a Radio Shack.

In Brooklyn, police say more than a dozen people were arrested in Coney Island alone for looting.

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz is calling for increased National Guard presence. He says first responders, including the FDNY and NYPD, are overwhelmed. But Mayor Bloomberg denied the need for greater presence.

"We appreciate the help," Bloomberg said. "The National Guard has been helpful, but the NYPD is the only people we want on the streets with guns, and we don't need it. There's been one or two minor outbreakings, disgraceful though they may be, of looting reported in the paper, but the vast bulk of people are doing the right thing."

The mayor adds that there are police forces across New York State that need the help of the National Guard more than the city does.

Health And Hospitals

According to the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation, storm damage, power outages and flooding forced the evacuations of Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan and Coney Island in Brooklyn, and those patients were brought to neighboring facilities.

HHC officials say the flooding damage to Bellevue is significant and it could take up to two to three weeks to reopen.

The Department of Environmental Protection says the city's water supply is safe to drink, and that extra chlorine has been added to the water.

Update: One exception is in Breezy Point, where city officials say tap water is not drinkable, even if boiled. Residents there for now should drink bottled water. City officials say the advisory is specific to Breezy Point as water is being returned for firefighting purposes only. Officials reiterate the city’s tap water remains safe for all other areas of the city.

The city Department of Health says that New Yorkers should avoid swimming, boating or coming into direct contact with the Hudson River, East River, New York Harbor, Jamaica Bay and the Kill Van Kull until further notice.

Libraries, Parks And Recreation

Mayor Bloomberg said a majority of the city's parks and playgrounds will reopen this weekend.

Central Park welcomes visitors back starting Saturday at 8 a.m. and the Bronx Zoo also reopens Saturday.

The Central Park Zoo remains closed and the New York Aquarium is closed indefinitely.

All branches of the New York Public Library went through Sandy without any damages. Seven of its branches reopened Friday: Tottenville, St. George, Todt Hill-Westerleigh and Richmondtown in Staten Island, the Roosevelt Island branch in Manhattan and the Morris Park and Riverdale branches in the Bronx.

To find out if a particular branch is open, visit

Several Queens Library branches are open or opening soon: Douglaston/Little Neck, Far Rockaway, Far Rockaway Teen Center, Hollis, Howard Beach, Middle Village and Rochdale. However, four Queens Library branches - Arverne, Broad Channel, Peninsula and Seaside - are closed indefinitely due to storm damages.

Carnegie Hall has rescheduled or relocated a lot of its concerts originally scheduled from Friday through Monday. Details and refund policies are available at

List Of Salvation Army Food Distribution Sites

The following is a list of food distribution centers being set up by The Salvation Army’s Emergency Disaster Services. They will be open from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

• Rockaways: Conch Playground – 51st Street & Rockaway Beach Boulevard; Hammel Playground – 84th Street & Rockaway Beach Boulevard; Red Fern House Playground – Redfern Avenue & Beach 12th Street
• Astoria: Hallets Cove – Vernon Blvd & 30th Road

• Coney Island: Surf Island Playground – West 25th Street & Surf Avenue
• Red Hook: Coffey Park – 85 Richards Street

• Chelsea: Chelsea Park – West 27th Street, between 9th & 10th Avenues
• Lower East Side: Vladic Playground – East 10th Street, between C & D Avenues; Al Smith Playground – Catherine Street, between Cherry & Monroe Streets; Hamilton Fish – Pitt Street & East Houston Street
• Other: Grand Street Settlement Houses – 413 Grand Street; Confucius Plaza on Division Street

Staten Island:
• Parking Lot – corner of Mill Road & New Dorp Lane
• Empty Lot – corner of Yetman and Ylon Boulevard

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