Lower Manhattan Update 11-14-12
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 email@example.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.
MTA Status (Subways, Buses, Metro North, LIRR)
SBA/FEMA ASSISTANCE IN LOWER MANHATTAN
SBA and FEMA assistance site will be stationed in Lower Manhattan every day this week. FEMA and SBA staff will be on hand to answer questions and help small business owners and residents apply for benefits.
Tuesday, November 13th through Friday, November 16th:
1 Pace Plaza (Spruce Street entrance), Manhattan
10:00AM to 7:00PM
24/7 INSURANCE DISASTER HOTLINE
The Department of Financial Services disaster hotline will now be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week to help New Yorkers recovering from Hurricane Sandy. The hotline, at 800-339-1759, can answer insurance related storm questions and help consumers file complaints. Previously, the hotline was operating from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends since immediately after Hurricane Sandy.
DFS is also sending its mobile command center to hard hit areas to help consumers with insurance questions and problems and is helping to staff disaster assistance centers in many areas hit by the storm. Callers to the hotline can also be directed to the closest disaster assistance center so they can seek in person assistance. Homeowners unable to resolve disputes with insurers can also file complaints at http://www.dfs.ny.gov/consumer/fileacomplaint.htm.
Since the storm, Governor Cuomo has taken several measures to protect homeowners:
– The Governor announced that hurricane deductibles will not apply to any damage from Storm Sandy covered by homeowners’ insurance because the Storm did not have sustained hurricane force winds when it reached New York.
– The Governor directed DFS to instruct insurers to accept homeowners’ documentation, including photos and video, of losses so residents can discard debris that is necessary to remove for health and safety. Typically, insurance companies require an on-site inspection first before a claim can be processed.
– The Governor directed DFS to impose a 30-day moratorium on cancelling or terminating homeowners’ and small business owners’ insurance policies in storm stricken areas for any reason, including non-payment of premiums.
DFS urges homeowners who experienced property losses to file insurance claims with their insurers promptly and as soon as possible after losses occur.
Homeowners are also reminded that flood damage is only covered by flood insurance, which is a federal program administered by FEMA. Homeowners who have flood insurance and have flood damage should make claims through that insurance.
REOPENING OF 9TH STREET PATH STATION
PATH rail service will resumed today at the 9th Street station in Manhattan. The station will open to ease overcrowding at the 14th Street station during the morning peak hours.
PATH riders will only be able to exit the 9th street station between the morning peak hours of 5 a.m.-9:30 a.m. After 9:30 a.m. passengers will be able to enter and exit PATH trains at 9th street until 10 p.m.
PATH’s temporary line will now include stops at Newark, Harrison, Journal Square, Grove Street, and Newport stations in New Jersey and at the 9th, 14th, 23rd and 33rd Street stations in Manhattan. Trains will bypass Christopher Street. 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.
For up-to-date information visit the Port Authority’s website http://www.panynj.gov/path/ and follow them on Twitter @PATHTweet.
HUGH L. CAREY TUNNEL OPENS ADDITIONAL LANE FOR CAR TRAFFIC AT 4PM TODAY
Governor Cuomo announced that the Gov. Hugh L. Carey Tunnel, formerly known as the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, will reopen for cars traveling in peak directions during rush hours at 4 p.m. today.
The eastern tube, which usually carries Manhattan-bound traffic at all times, will be open for Manhattan-bound cars and buses from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., and for Brooklyn-bound cars and buses from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. The expanded travel option will be available in one lane of the eastern tube, while the other lane will remain dedicated for express buses. The western tube remains closed for extensive repairs by Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Bridges and Tunnels.
The Carey Tunnel was flooded with an estimated 43 million gallons of corrosive, debris-laden seawater in each of its two tubes, causing wide-ranging damage to the tunnel’s electrical, lighting, communications, surveillance and ventilation systems. The Carey Tunnel is the longest vehicular under-river crossing in North America, and water flooded more than a mile of its 9,000-foot length.
No trucks will be allowed in the eastern tube as work continues, and no timetable has been established for resuming traffic in the western tube, which suffered heavier damage.
NYC RESTORE: ONE-STOP LOCATIONS FOR CITY RECOVERY SERVICES AND FEDERAL DISASTER RELIEF
Mayor Bloomberg launched NYC Restore, a comprehensive effort to connect residents and businesses impacted by Hurricane Sandy with financial, health, environmental, nutritional and residential services, as well as Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) reimbursement processing.
The initiative consists of seven NYC Restoration Centers, accessible, neighborhood offices located in the communities that were hit the hardest to provide long-term assistance to New Yorkers. The centers located in Far Rockaway, Gravesend, Coney Island and Staten Island open today, while the Centers in Red Hook, Breezy Point and Throggs Neck-Pelham Bay will open later in the week.
The Restoration Centers bring together information and referral to all of the City government services available in the aftermath of the storm. FEMA staff is onsite to perform benefits intake, as well as provide ongoing management and updates of applicants’ FEMA cases.
NYC Rapid Repairs
Homeowners whose property has sustained damage from Sandy are now able to sign up for the NYC Rapid Repairs program by calling 311, going to www.NYC.gov or visiting a Restoration Center. After signing up, homeowners will be contacted within 48 hours to set up a free assessment – a home visit by licensed contractors who will review damage and create a work order for necessary repairs to make the home livable. After receiving an assessment, homeowners can choose sign up to have the repair work done by the City’s contractors as quickly as possible. They can also choose to have the repairs done by a contractor they hire on their own, using FEMA funds.
Resources in the Community
In addition to the information and referral to services available at the Restorations Centers, the City is coordinating the distribution of food and water, and door to door medical assessments in the most affected areas.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, Food and Water Distribution Centers have been organized by the Mayor’s Office, distributing approximately 1.9 million meals, over 500,000 bottles of water, and nearly 150,000 blankets since the end of October.
The Mayor’s Office also has been organizing teams of volunteers to conduct door-to-door checks on residents in the most affected areas. Numerous non-profits, including Catholic Charities, Harlem Children’s Zone, United Way, Human Services Council, New York Cares, Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, and the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies have been participating in these efforts. Approximately 1,200 volunteers have reached up to 2,000 people each day to check on residents, deliver meals, and assist with clean-up.
In addition, 29 teams consisting of paramedics, members of the National Guard, and Health Department staff went door-to-door in high-rise residential buildings in Far Rockaway and Coney Island to visit residents to make sure that their medical needs were being met, conduct medical assessments to determine if residents were safe, and connect them to prescription medications. The New York City Health Department coordinated the effort with the US Department of Health and Human Services (HSS), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the National Guard. The teams focused on assessing the wellbeing of residents who had not been able to leave their apartments and who may have been without water, electricity and heat. Thus far, the teams have reached 18,365 buildings and visited more than 6,500 residents.
In Red Hook, the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) is partnering with the Visiting Nurse Services of New York (VNS), NYPD, FDNY, and FEMA to conduct door to door visits in Red Hook Houses. Nurses and staff from VNS will check on residents, conduct medical assessments, and connect them to medical care, when necessary.
Anyone interested in helping in the relief efforts can get information about volunteering at nyc.gov.
Personal Hygiene Supply Distribution
New York City and the Mayor’s Fund are working with RCano Events, City Harvest, and Soap.com to distribute 6,500 packages of personal hygiene items and cleaning supplies. Volunteers are assembling packages that include critical items like soap, toilet paper, deodorant as well as paper towels, toothbrush and toothpaste. City Harvest will load and deliver the packages to non-profits in the communities most affected by the Hurricane.
Charitable Donations: Goods and Services
Cash remains the most helpful form of donation to those impacted by Hurricane Sandy. For donation of material goods, donors are encouraged to utilize organizations who partner with the City in its disaster relief operations: Salvation Army, Housing Works, and Catholic Charities. For food donations, nonperishable items and bottled water are of highest priority. City Harvest, Food Bank, and Met Council are organizations who partner with the City on donation of food services.
Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City
The Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City accepts financial donations from organizations and individuals to support Hurricane Sandy relief efforts. To date, more than $35 million has been donated by more than 10,000 donors from across the country. One hundred percent of cash donations are dispersed to Hurricane Sandy relief efforts and organizations. To learn more or to make a donation, please visit: nyc.gov.
MORELAND COMMISSION LAUNCHED TO INVESTIGATE AND STUDY UTILITY COMPANIES’ STORM PREPARATION AND MANAGEMENT
Governor Cuomo signed an Executive Order to establish a commission under the Moreland Act that will investigate the response, preparation, and management of New York’s power utility companies with major storms hitting the state over the past two years, including Hurricanes Sandy and Irene, and Tropical Storm Lee.
The Commission will be tasked to undertake a thorough review of all actions taken by the power companies before and after these emergencies, and make specific recommendations to reform and modernize oversight, regulation and management of New York’s power delivery services.
The Commission’s mandate includes examining and making recommendations to reform the overlapping responsibilities and missions of NYPA, LIPA, NYSERDA, and the Public Service Commission. As evidenced by Hurricane Sandy, the existing labyrinth of regulatory bodies, state agencies and authorities, and quasi-governmental bodies has contributed to a dysfunctional utility system.
The Commission will have the power to subpoena and examine witnesses under oath. The Commission members include:
– Co-Chair Robert Abrams, former Attorney General of New York State
– Co-Chair Benjamin Lawsky, Superintendent of the Department of Financial Services
– Peter Bradford, former Chair of the Public Service Commission
– Tony Collins, President of Clarkson University
– John Dyson, former Chairman of the New York Power Authority
– Rev. Floyd Flake, Senior Pastor of Greater Allen African Methodist Episcopal Cathedral
– Mark Green, former New York City Public Advocate
– Joanie Mahoney, Onondaga County Executive
– Kathleen Rice, Nassau County District Attorney
– Dan Tishman, Vice Chairman at AECOM Technology Corporation, and Chairman and CEO of Tishman Construction Corporation