Tags: con-ed | new-york | power | blackout

Frustrated New Yorkers Wait for Con Ed to End Crippling Blackout

Friday, 02 Nov 2012 11:53 AM

Patience was wearing thin among New Yorkers coping with a fifth day of superstorm Sandy-induced power blackouts, lack of food and water, hobbled mass transit and shuttered businesses.

Some relief came Friday from the utility Consolidated Edison Inc., which said restoration of power is expected by Saturday for the estimated 220,000 customers below 39th Street on the East Side and below 31st Street on the West Side, said Mike Clendenin, a company spokesman. The comments corrected an earlier statement by Robert McGee, another spokesman, who said on Bloomberg Radio that power would be restored Friday.

“Lower Manhattan is like a war zone,” said Danielle Mederos, 23, who returned to her 23rd-story apartment in a Wall Street high-rise to retrieve her belongings. “I’ve never seen the streets that empty.”

Mederos’s apartment was in an evacuation zone. She left Manhattan to stay with a friend in Garden City, Long Island, which was also without power. The hurricane ordeal was “absolute hell,” she said.

New York, a city of 8 million, is reeling after the largest tropical system measured in the Atlantic inundated transit tunnels and parts of all five boroughs. The storm killed at least 92 people in the U.S., including 39 New Yorkers, and knocked out power to as many as 8.5 million homes and businesses along the East Coast. About 4.8 million customers remained without power yesterday, from South Carolina to Maine and as far west as Michigan.

Ferry Resumes

An almost full restoration of mass transit is within sight. At least three lines, hampered by the lack of power below 34th Street in Manhattan, have been dried out and can be operating within two hours of power’s being restored, Governor Andrew Cuomo said. Metro-North Railroad is operating at 90 percent capacity, and the Staten Island Ferry, which links Manhattan with the island whose neighborhoods were among the hardest hit, resumes service today.

Bernadette Callaghan, a 27-year-old MBA student at New York University, was waiting at a bus stop near Penn Station, packed for a trip to her parents’ home outside Philadelphia.

“We have no water, no heat, no electricity, the elevator’s down, and yesterday we found it won’t be fixed till later this week,” she said. Two days of showering at health clubs was enough, she said.

Some Improvement

For Darren Desoyza, 42, the commute from Brooklyn to his office on the Upper East Side was close to normal. The line at 5:45 a.m. to get a bus at the Barclays Center took about 15 minutes and arrived at 57th Street and Third Avenue about 30 minutes later.

“I was scared when I saw the line, but it was actually much faster,” said Desoyza, a college adviser who got in line 45 minutes earlier than the day before. “It’s much better organized, better run. More cops. There was more cutting line yesterday, and people were frustrated by that.”

The scene was more tense in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn. People crowded a bus during morning rush hour, spurring the driver to yell and refuse to move until passengers on the steps got off.

A requirement of at least three occupants in noncommercial vehicles remains in effect at most crossings into Manhattan.

Marines Deployed

Thursday, the Pentagon deployed about 300 Marines and sailors and 17 planeloads of power equipment in an expanding relief effort. The National Guard helped distribute more than 290,000 meals and almost 523,000 bottles of water. Another 1.5 million meals were to arrive late yesterday, the Defense Department said.

“In a span of hours, the world was just turned upside down and chaos quickly ensued,” Cuomo said today in a radio interview. “It’s a delicate balance to keep it working well. Panic can set in and chaos can set in.”

The Marines will be aboard the USS Wasp, one of three large-deck amphibious ships dispatched to waters off New York and New Jersey along with helicopters for disaster relief. Another 400 personnel with 120 high-flow water pumps were being brought in to drain floodwaters in a mission the Pentagon called “unwatering.”

Eqecat Inc., a provider of catastrophic risk models, doubled its economic-damage estimates to as much as $50 billion, with about $10 billion to $20 billion of insured losses.

City workers, National Guardsmen and Salvation Army volunteers distributed 290,400 meals and 522,840 bottles of water from 14 sites yesterday, and they are open again Friday, said Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP.

Construction lights on 1 World Trade Center snapped on again late Thursday, with generators filling in for crippled utilities, Cuomo said.

“You’ll see the Ground Zero site will be illuminated once again,” Cuomo said. “New York is back to work.”

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Patience was wearing thin among New Yorkers coping with a fifth day of superstorm Sandy-induced power blackouts, lack of food and water, hobbled mass transit and shuttered businesses. Some relief came Friday from the utility Consolidated Edison Inc., which said restoration...
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Friday, 02 Nov 2012 11:53 AM
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