Important Message for Nyc Residents Regarding Disaster Assistance, Power, Transportation, Schools & More

Andrew J. Lanza

November 02, 2012

Food & Water Distribution Centers:

There will be distribution sites in the Rockaways, Coney Island, the South Shore of Staten Island, the Lower East Side, Chinatown, Chelsea, and Astoria Houses.   The details of these sites, including the exact locations and hours of operation, can be found here:

The page on will also be updated with hours of operation for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  Check back there for updates.

Each person will be able to take three meals and five bottles of water at these sites. 

People should bring their own bags to carry their food and water.


400 members of the National Guard, 150 volunteers from NYC Service, and 24 staff from the Salvation Army will help implement this program, which will include going door-to-door to take meals to homebound residents.


Supplies are being delivered by FEMA in coordination with the Governor’s Office of Emergency Management. 


A number of companies have provided support in the form of supplies.


AT&T will bring pods that provide cell service and charging stations to the areas around the food distribution sites.


These distribution centers will be open for as long as they are needed.



Volunteers and Donations:

Cash donations to support these and other efforts can be made through the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City.  Learn more here:


Those who want to volunteer can visit NYC Service at:



Tap water is safe to drink




The 3-person HOV restriction on crossings into Manhattan is still in effect, from 6am to midnight, today (Thursday) and tomorrow (Friday).


Vehicles exempt from this restriction include commercial vehicles, taxis, emergency, and para-transit vehicles, vehicles with handicap plates or placards, livery cabs and other for-hire cars, and buses.


The restricted crossings include all the East River bridges, the Lincoln Tunnel, the RFK Triborough Bridge, and the Henry Hudson Bridge.


The Holland Tunnel and the Hugh Carey Brooklyn Battery Tunnel are still closed.


We strongly urge people to not take their cars into Manhattan if at all possible.


Mass Transit:

Subways, railroads, and buses are operating on a modified basis. 


LIRR and Metro North are running with significant modifications


Fares on MTA services are waived today and tomorrow.


All details on MTA service status can be found at:


Staten Island Ferry service is still suspended but we are making progress in restoring it.  We expect it will resume in the next day or so and be running a full schedule by Saturday.


The East River Ferry is running with modified service.  Details are here:



Public schools are likely to reopen for classes on Monday.



Those parts of the city with overhead power lines still without service may not have it restored possibly until next weekend.


There are still approximately 534,000 customers citywide without power, down nearly 100,000 since yesterday.


Anyone without power who is using candles for light should be extremely careful – do not leave them burning through the night and do not leave them unattended.  Candles can be a fire hazard.  Last night we had a fire started by candles.


Building Inspections:

The Department of Buildings is inspecting buildings in hard-hit Zone A areas to assess their structural integrity. There are three areas where these inspections are happening: Staten Island, the Rockaways, and Lower Manhattan.


Buildings will be tagged with one of three color placards to indicate their safety:

Green: the building is safe to enter

Red: the building is not safe and may not be entered

Yellow: it can be occupied conditionally (i.e. one floor may be safe while another is not.) These conditions would be explained on the placard.


Building owners can also self-certify with the Department of Buildings.


Support to Businesses:

We have put together a package of support for NYC businesses impacted by the storm:


Emergency loans of up to $10,000 for small and mid-sized businesses that have been interrupted as a result of the storm.


For larger businesses that were damaged, temporary City and State sales tax deferment on materials needed for rebuilding.


For businesses displaced from their locations, we’re offering temporary office space free of charge at the Brooklyn Army Terminal for the next 30 days.


EDC has about 40,000 square feet of space at the Terminal that is now available for this use.


Loans up to $2 million are also available for business property losses not fully covered by insurance – and for businesses that have had cash flow problems caused by the storm and need funds to get back on their feet.


That applies to small businesses, agricultural co-ops, and most nonprofits, regardless of size.


To get information contact NYC Business Solutions by calling 311 or going to


Federal Disaster Assistance:

Anyone affected by Sandy – homeowners, renters, and businesses – can apply for federal disaster assistance.


They can register at or by calling the Federal Emergency Management agency at 1-800-621-3362.



We have lifted the ban on exterior construction work that we imposed before the storm.

 Reporting and Handling Conditions:

911 should only be used in case of emergencies.

To report other conditions such as fallen trees and sewer backups, please use 311 Online, text 311 at 311-692, or call 311

Fallen trees are incredibly dangerous.  Anyone who sees one should report it immediately.  No one should try to cut down or move damaged trees themselves.

Power outages and live wires should be directly reported to Con Ed (1-800-75-CON-ED) or LIPA (1-800-490-0075).

Live wires are also extremely dangerous.  No one should touch them or be near them.