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New York City's Post-Sandy Cleanup Crawling

New York City Slowly Cleans Up After Sandyi
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Peter Fedynsky
November 01, 2012
In New York City, there is water in tunnels, electrical conduits, and basements of major financial institutions. It's all the aftermath of superstorm Sandy. VOA correspondent Peter Fedynsky in New York reports on damage to the city’s infrastructure and efforts to repair it.

New York City Slowly Cleans Up After Sandy

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Peter Fedynsky
— In the aftermath of superstorm Sandy, New York city is dealing with water in tunnels, electrical conduits, and in the basements of major financial institutions.

On Tuesday, the Brooklyn Bridge was covered with bumper to bumper traffic.  On the pedestrian deck above, thousands of pedestrians were keeping pace with the cars. 

Due to a city-wide suspension of subway service, street vendor Dominic Raiano decided to walk from Brooklyn to Manhattan after waiting an hour for a bus.

“There’s no reason that there shouldn’t be shuttle bus service for the trainsm," he complained. "They do it on other times when trains are down.  Why can’t they do it this time?”

New York State Governor, Andrew Cuomo is asking the public to be patient.

“There are significant challenges that we're facing, he explained, "and problems in many cases that we've never experienced before or not in our generation.  So patience and tolerance will be appreciated."

  • Raymond Palermo, left, wears a protective mask as he helps to remove debris from his cousin's electronics store in Brooklyn, NY, Oct 31, 2012
  • Dry ice is unloaded from a flatbed truck in Union Square for distribution to residents of the still powerless Chelsea section of Manhattan, Nov.1, 2012.
  • People wait to for gas at a Hess fueling station in Great Neck, New York November 1, 2012.
  • A New York resident charges his cell phones from a generator connected to a 14th street market in the still powerless Chelsea section of Manhattan, New York, November 1, 2012.
  • A dumpster is filled with spoiled food behind a supermarket in the still powerless East Village section of Manhattan, New York November 1, 2012.
  • Commuters wait in Brooklyn, New York to board buses into Manhattan, due to the widespread subway closures throughout the city.
  • Flooding in the area after the storm is widespread. Joe Donnelly of Island Park, New York shared a photo of his flooded home on Halloween, October 31, 2012. (Courtesy photo)
  • Early morning traffic in Brooklyn, New York moves slowly beneath the still-dark Manhattan skyline, November 1, 2012. New York is trying to resume its normal frenetic pace, but still finding it slow going on gridlocked highways.
  • This aerial photo shows the damage to an amusement park left in the wake of superstorm Sandy on October 31, 2012, in Seaside Heights, N.J.
  • An aerial photo of the Breezy Point neighborhood in New York, October 31, 2012, where more than 50 homes were burned to the ground as a result of the superstorm.
  • Raymond Simpson, Jr., with Atlantic City's Department of Public Works, looks out over debris from superstorm Sandy in Atlantic City, N.J., November 1, 2012.
  • An historic roller coaster from a Seaside Heights, N.J. amusement park fell in to the Atlantic Ocean during superstorm Sandy.
  • PSE&G employee Percy Thompson III unloads new electrical transformers in a parking lot used as a staging area at the Quaker Bridge Mall, November 1, 2012, in Lawrence Township, N.J.

Cuomo announced the resumption of limited subway service in parts of the city for Thursday, but not in Lower Manhattan.

Workers there are pumping water from flooded underground electrical conduits.  The flooding as well as an explosion during the storm at a transformer station knocked out power to New York’s Financial District, a local hospital, and the city’s tallest apartment building, the new Beekman Tower designed by famous architect Frank Gehry.

Nathaniel Clay, who lives on the 70th floor, says the novelty of using the power outage to visit friends and neighbors is wearing off.  The basement of Clay’s office in New York's Financial District is flooded.  Subway stations in the area and some commuter tunnels also are flooded. 

“At this point, I think a lot of people are getting stir-crazy, nad want to go back to their normal routines," he admitted.

At the request of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is helping the city remove water from places where Corps spokesperson Chris Gardner says it has never been.

“There are still tunnels and there are other areas in Lower Manhattan with large amount of water.  We’re here to support efforts to unwater those as soon as possible and as soon as feasible," Gardner explained. "But there’s not really a timeline for that."

Gardner says the Corps of Engineers also is helping clean up tons of debris from New York waters to ensure the safety of local shipping, much of which has also been suspended.

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