Hurricane Sandy Update -- Tuesday 11/20

Martin J. Golden

November 21, 2012

Dear Elected Official:


Today Mayor Bloomberg announced plans for a new temporary ferry service from Staten Island to Manhattan. The new service is designed to bring immediate relief to and ease the commutes of residents in Great Kills, Midland Beach, Tottenville and other impacted Staten Island neighborhoods. Storm damage to vehicles and ongoing transportation impacts around the city have lengthened daily commutes for thousands of New Yorkers in these areas. The Department of Transportation today issued a request for bids from New York-area ferry service operators with an expectation that service would begin by November 26th. This follows the City’s work to establish a ferry route from the Rockaways and increase express bus service from Staten Island.


This week 12 schools and 5,400 students returned to their buildings thanks to the incredible efforts of the employees of the Department of Education and the School Construction Authority. The Department of Education also announced adjustments in the school calendar to make up for school days lost due to the storm.


Here is the latest information for you to share with your constituents:


New Staten Island Fast Ferry Service:


· Six daily trips will leave from a newly-constructed landing at Great Kills between 6:00 AM and 9:00 AM, bound for Pier 11 at Wall Street and continuing on to 35th Street.

· There will be six return trips in the afternoon, from 12 Noon to 6:15 PM.

· The one-way fare will be $2.00, the same as the new Rockaway ferry fare.

· The service is expected to run for eight weeks as storm recovery efforts continue.



School Days Added to Make Up for Time Lost Due to Hurricane Sandy:


· The City, the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators, and the United Federation of Teachers reached an agreement to make up school days lost because of Hurricane Sandy.

· School will be open the last three days of scheduled winter break, February 20 - 22, 2013.

· The half-day scheduled for June 4 will now become a full day of class.



More School Buildings Reopened:


· The City continues to make progress on reopening schools damaged by the storm.

· 5,400 students returned to their original school buildings on Monday.

· More than 26,000 students from 47 schools are back in their regular buildings.

· 7,800 students from 18 schools remain at their reassigned sites due to ongoing repair work.



Structural Building Inspections:


· Upon inspection each building is tagged based on its structural integrity:

o Green: the building is structurally safe and may be entered.

o Yellow: parts of the building are structurally safe while other parts are not safe.

§ The specifics of what is and is not safe are outlined in the tag.o Red: the building is structurally unsafe, and no one should enter it.· The vast majority of buildings have been determined to be structurally safe and therefore are tagged green.



Red Tagged Structures:


· If your office is contacted by any homeowner whose property is tagged red, the critical first step is for the homeowner to contact the Department of Buildings by either calling 311 or visiting a Restoration Center. The Department of Buildings will then work with the homeowner on next steps.

· Approximately 900 structures (out of 80,000 total) have been tagged red, meaning they are structurally unsafe and may not be entered.

· Of the 900 properties with a red tag, we estimate 200 buildings will have to be completely or partially demolished due to the severity of damage caused by the storm.

· We are working to contact every owner whose property needs to be demolished and we are coordinating with FEMA in this effort, as most homeowners already have registered with FEMA or will soon do so.

· No building will be demolished until the homeowner is contacted, UNLESS the building is at imminent risk of collapse.

o Of the 200 severely damaged red tagged buildings, only a very small number are at high risk of collapse.· The process of dealing with these 200 severely damaged structures will occur over the next several months.

o The only buildings that would be demolished in the coming weeks are those at imminent risk of collapse.· For those 200 severely damaged buildings that will require demolition, the City will work with the homeowners to cover as much of the cost and do as much of the work right away as possible. Each case will be slightly different and we will work with the homeowners to address the unique conditions of each property.



NYC Restore:


· The City has opened 7 one-stop Restoration Centers in neighborhoods hit hard by the storm. The Restoration Centers bring together information and referral to all of the government services available in the aftermath of the storm.

· Locations and hours of operations can found here:

· Human Resources Administration staff provide information on Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and temporary cash assistance.

· Department of Small Business Services provides information on loans and reimbursements to small businesses.

· The Departments of Health, Consumer Affairs, Housing Preservation and Development and Aging as well as the Administration for Children Services are also on site.

· Homeowners can also sign up for NYC Rapid Repairs.



NYC Rapid Repairs:


· Approximately 6,000 homeowners have signed up for the program and 3,000 assessments have been scheduled.

· This new and unprecedented program will send teams of contractors and City inspectors into neighborhoods impacted by Hurricane Sandy and quickly and efficiently make necessary repairs to damaged homes.

· Homeowners are able to sign up for NYC Rapid Repairs by going to, calling 311, or visiting one of our Restoration Centers.

o They will need a FEMA ID number, which they can get by registering at, calling 1-800-621-3362, or visting one of our Restoration Centers.· More information on the program can be found here:

· The City encourages DCA-licensed contractors interested in subcontracting as part of NYC Rapid Repairs to register at



Expediting Licensing of Additional Home Improvement Contractors:


· The Department of Consumer Affairs will expedite the application process for NYC Home Improvement Contractor licenses.

· This will help unlicensed contractors or contractors who normally work outside of New York City licensed and working on repairs for homes damaged by Hurricane Sandy.

· The licensing process will now take only two days.

· There are currently 13,200 licensed home improvement contractors in the city.

· Consumer Affairs is also warning New Yorkers about home improvement contractors who may try to take advantage of those whose homes have been damaged by Hurricane Sandy, for example by collecting insurance and relief money up front but then not performing or completing the work.

· According to the City’s consumer protection laws, anyone soliciting or performing home improvement work in New York City that costs more than $200 must be licensed by DCA to ensure that they are accountable to homeowners.

· Tips for homeowners and information for contractors are here:

· Home improvement contractors can begin the license application online or in-person at the Consumer Affairs Licensing Center (42 Broadway, 5th Floor).



Information for Homeowners Restoring their Power and Making Repairs:


· The Department of Buildings has a list of helpful documents related to repairs and power restoration:

· This flyer from LIPA, the NYC Department of Buildings, and the Office of Emergency Management contains information on the process for a LIPA customer to restore power to their home:

o NYC-licensed electricians must conduct any self-certifications on homes. Electricians must include either their certification number or their raised seal on the documentation they provide to LIPA.· The Department of Buildings will waive all application and permit fees for any work done on buildings damaged by the storm.



Expanded Staten Island Express Bus Service:


· The City, through the Economic Development Corporation, has worked with Atlantic Express Bus to operate temporary additional express bus service in order to accommodate the additional demand being placed on the X23 and X24 express bus lines in Staten Island as a result of the storm.

· Atlantic Express will operate one additional bus on the X23 route and one additional bus on the X24 route. Each additional bus will make four trips, for a total of eight additional trips per day.

· The City will continue to work with Atlantic Express to evaluate the need for additional service going forward.



Rockaway Ferry:


· Ferries depart from Beach 108th Street and Beach Channel Drive, where the Economic Development Corporation has installed a temporary landing, and stop at Pier 11 in Lower Manhattan with free transfers between Pier 11 and East 34th Street in Midtown.

· The service starts at 5:45 AM in the Rockaways with ferries departing for Manhattan regularly until 9:20 AM, with regular service resuming during the evening rush. Each trip should take about 40-45 minutes.

· The one-way fare is $2.

· Free parking is available at the southwest corner of Beach Channel Drive and Beach 108th Street. This lot was secured with assistance from National Grid.

· Further details and schedules can be found here:



$500 Million for Major Repair Work:


· Mayor Bloomberg, Speaker Quinn and Comptroller Liu announced a $500 million emergency capital spending plan to make critical repairs to public schools and public hospitals damaged by Hurricane Sandy.

· The City already has authorized $134 million in spending following Hurricane Sandy to provide emergency services and recovery and relief programs.





· Heat and hot water have been restored to all NYCHA buildings impacted by the storm.

· Power has been restored to all NYCHA residential buildings impacted by the storm.



Food, Water & Blanket Distribution:


· To date we have distributed:

o Approximately 2,062,000 meals from Floyd Bennett Field

o 440,000 prepared and hot meals

o More than 685,400 bottles of water

o More than 170,856 blankets

o 6,871 cases of baby formula, diapers and wipes

o 8,788 packs of new underwear (kids and adults)

o 1,552 winter hats

o 3,000 winter gloves

o 3,863 socks

o 4,000 hand-warmers

o 10,758 D batteries

o 15,830 C batteries

o 1,496 AA batteries

o 507 cases of garbage bags

o 3,435 flashlights/lanterns

o 759 cases of toilet paper

o 2,301 cases of bleach and other cleaning materials

o 800 mop and construction buckets

o 600 dustpans

o 20,000 cases of Ziploc bags

o 6,000 masks

o 10,000 boxes of cleaning wipes

o 1,500 work gloves

o 928 cases of soap and hand sanitizer

o 403 cases of fruit and apple sauce

o 1,325 cases of dried food and canned food

o 560 cases of Gatorade and juice· Food and water distribution sites, including locations and hours of operation, can be found here:



Sanitation 24-Hour Debris Cleanup Continues:


· Mayor Bloomberg directed the Department of Sanitation to adjust collections schedule so that 24-hour cleanup could continue in the hard-hit areas of Staten Island, Queens and Brooklyn.

· Sanitation crews have collected more than 271,073 tons of trash, debris and tree as a part of storm cleanup operations. They will be working all weekend to clean up backlogged recycling and refuse left at curbside from redeployment to emergency storm debris cleanup.





· As of this afternoon there were 2,151 Con Ed and 13,015 LIPA customers without power.

· With many of these customers, the hurdles to restoring power are with the buildings, rather than the utility. Even when the power is restored to these areas, there is work to be done in these buildings before the lights can be turned on.

· All Con Ed steam accounts that take can take power have been restored.





· Alternate side parking is in effect, with exceptions for certain areas where storm cleanup continues. Details here:

o Alternate side parking will be suspended indefinitely in the following areas:

§ Queens Community Board 14: Broad Channel, Breezy Point, Belle Harbor, Neponsit, Bayswater, Edgemere, Rockaway Park, Rockaway and Far Rockaway, and is delimited by Jamaica Bay to the north, the Nassau County line to the east and the Atlantic Ocean to the south. Note that as Staten Island does not have ASP, that borough is not affected by the reinstatement of regulations in the remainder of the city.

§ Brooklyn Community Board 6: Red Hook, Carroll Gardens, Park Slope, Gowanus, Boerum Hill and Cobble Hill, and is delimited by New York Bay and the East River on the west, Atlantic Avenue, Court Street, Fourth Avenue, Warren and Pacific Streets on the north, Prospect Park on the east and 15th Street and the Gowanus Canal on the south.

§ Brooklyn Community Board 13: Coney Island, Brighton Beach, Gravesend and Seagate, and is delimited by Gravesend Bay on the west, 26th Avenue, 86th Street and Avenue Y on the north, Coney Island Avenue and Corbin Place on the east, and Lower New York Bay on the south (indicating that the west side of Corbin Place will be exempt from ASP regulations, while the east side will not, for example).

§ Brooklyn Community Board 15: Sheepshead Bay, Manhattan Beach, Kings Bay, Gerritsen Beach, Kings Highway, East Gravesend, Madison, Homecrest and Plum Beach, and is delimited by Corbin Place, Coney Island Avenue, Avenue Y, 86th street, Avenue U and MacDonald Avenue, Avenue P and Kings Highway on the north, Nostrand Avenue and Marine Park on the east, as well as by the Atlantic Ocean on the south.

§ Brooklyn Community Board 18: Canarsie, Bergen Beach, Mill Basin, Flatlands, Marine Park, Georgetown and Mill Island and is delimited by Nostrand Avenue on the west, the Long Island Rail Road viaduct on the north, Van Sinderen Avenue and Louisiana Avenue on the east and Short Parkways on the south.· The Holland Tunnel is open to all traffic.

· The Queens-Midtown Tunnel is open.

· The Hugh Carey Brooklyn Battery Tunnel is open. Trucks are still banned from the tunnel.

· Tolls on the Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Bridge and the Cross Bay Bridge are suspended.

· Meters are in effect.



Mass Transit:


· MTA services continue to operate with some modifications.

o All details on MTA service status can be found at:· Staten Island Ferry service is running on its regular schedule.

· The East River Ferry is running.

· Rockaway Ferry information can be found here:

· PATH service has begun limited service.

· NJ Transit services have been restored on a modified basis. Details are here:



Trees and Debris:


26,011 tree service requests from the two storm have been made (alerting us of downed trees or branches).

Of these requests, 15,432 were for downed trees.

· The City has addressed 17,657 of these emergency tree conditions and crews continue to work around the clock to address conditions.



Odd-Even Gasoline Purchasing System:


· Mayor Bloomberg has established an odd-even license plate system for gasoline purchases to reduce wait times and lines at gas stations.

· This temporary system has been extended through Friday, November 23rd.

· The system operates as follows:

o Vehicles with license plates ending in an even number or the number “0” purchase fuel on even numbered days.

o Vehicles with license plates ending in an odd number purchase fuel on odd numbered days.

o Vehicles with licenses plates ending in letters will be deemed as odd numbered plates and can make purchases on odd numbered days.

o Commercial vehicles, emergency vehicles, buses and paratransit vehicles, Medical Doctor (MD) plates and vehicles licensed by the Taxi and limousine Commission are exempt.· The use of legal walk-up fuel containers by individuals is not affected by the executive order.

· As they have been since the storm, NYPD officers will be deployed to maintain order at stations.



Temporary Guidelines to Speed Heating Oil Deliveries and Boiler Repairs:


· As a result of Hurricane Sandy, sufficient quantities of the low heating sulfur oil required by New York City law have been harder to obtain and distribute.

· To ensure that New Yorkers have access to heating fuel, the City has temporarily suspended the sulfur limits, which will allow the use of oils with higher sulfur content through December 7th.

· The City also has streamlined emergency work permits for boiler repairs and replacements to reduce the application timeline by as much as two weeks.



Parks, Beaches, and Playgrounds:


· We have reopened most parks and playgrounds.

· All beaches, which have experienced a great deal of erosion over the two recent storms, remain closed.

· Details on park closures can be found at:



Air BNB Temporary Housing:


· Air BNB, an on-line service that connects people seeking temporary housing with those who have unused space, has launched a new platform to link New Yorkers displaced by Hurricane Sandy to New Yorkers who want to offer places to stay.

· Air BNB is providing the service at no fee, and information is available at:



Staying Warm in the Cold Weather:


· Anyone who needs heat should find shelter, whether at one of our city facilities or with a friend or relative.

· We now have opened over 200 warming centers across the city:

· Our volunteers have been going door-to-door in affected areas urging those still without power to find a warm place to stay.

· Those who are using generators in their homes to run their heat should be very careful to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Tips for smart generator use are below.



Volunteering, Donating, and Giving Blood:


· All clothes collected will go to Salvation Army locations in our hardest-hit areas.

o If you would like to donate clothing: Please do not leave these items outside. Instead, deliver them to Salvation Army centers; they’ll make sure your donations get where they’re needed. · You can also donate them to New York Cares, Goodwill, the New York Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, or Catholic Charities. If you’d like to make a donation of food, you can do so with City Harvest and Food Bank for New York City.

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

o Generally, cash donations are preferable to in-kind donations because the logistics of collecting and distributing those supplies are complex.

o The Mayor’s Fund has already received over $40 million in donations from over 14,400 people.· Those who want to volunteer can visit NYC Service at:

· Giving blood is incredibly helpful right now. For more information visit:



Support to Businesses:


· The City's Department of Small Business Services and Economic Development Corporation have put together a package of support for NYC businesses impacted by the storm.

· Emergency low-interest loans of up to $25,000 for businesses that have been interrupted and suffered damage as a result of the storm. Applications are available at any of the City's NYC Business Solutions Centers, by calling 311 and asking for "NYC Business Emergency Loan," or by visiting:

· For businesses facing significant rebuilding costs, the City will provide sales tax exemptions of up to $100,000 on purchases of materials, equipment and related services needed to rebuild. Learn more here:

· For displaced businesses, the City has identified more than 170,000 square feet that will be made available free of charge, including 40,000 square feet of City space at the Brooklyn Army Terminal, and more than 125,000 square feet of space that private landlords have made available, across the five boroughs. A full listing of commercial spaces and other resources is available at:

· Information on disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration is available at any of the City's NYC Business Solutions Centers, by calling 800-659-2955, or by visiting

· Alliance for Coney Island -- a nonprofit organization formed, with the help of the City, to continue the transformation of Coney Island into a year-round, world-class recreational oceanfront destination -- launched, a multipronged relief and recovery effort to help Coney Island residents and businesses dealing with the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. The Alliance is comprised of all major Coney businesses, and the City has provided them with $630,000 in funding originally allocated to the Coney Island Development Corporation which will wind down operations.



Federal Disaster Assistance:


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

· They can register at, by calling the Federal Emergency Management agency at 1-800-621-3362, or visiting one of our Recovery Centers.



Mobile Medical Vans:


Mobile medical vans staffed with primary care providers are providing medical care and distributing commonly prescribed drugs at several locations in the Rockaways, Staten Island, and Coney Island.

There is a particular need for pharmaceuticals in the Rockaways because of a limited number of pharmacies still open and able to fulfill prescriptions.

Volunteers working through the City’s volunteer operation, NYC Service, have been knocking on doors to check on and address the medical needs of those who remain in their homes, often without heat and power.

The New York City Human Resources Administration, along with FEMA Search and Rescue, have targeted our most high risk households and will continue this effort until power is restored.

· The list of sites can be found here:



Evacucation Shelters:


· The City’s evacuation shelters have closed.

· If someone requires shelter or relocation assistance, they should visit one of the Restoration Centers:





· New York City tap water is safe.

· However water in Breezy Point is not potable and should not be consumed in any way due to damage to the pipes.

o Bottled water is being provided to Breezy Point residents. That is what should be consumed there.

o For more information visit:



Director of Housing Recovery Operations:


· We are committed to ensuring that every New Yorker who needs a warm place to live and a roof over his or her head is going to have one.

· Brad Gair has been appointed the City’s new Director of Housing Recovery Operations.

· His mission will be to develop and implement a comprehensive plan to house New Yorkers displaced by Sandy.

· He is a resident of Brooklyn who has 20 years of experience in such efforts at every level of government, with a particular expertise in post-disaster housing recovery.



Community Restoration Directors:


· We have appointed seasoned, high-level managers from our administration to identify urgent needs in affected communities and deploy resources needed to meet them.

· These directors will each cover part of the city. They are:

o Staten Island: Haeda Mihaltses, Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, Mayor’s Office

o Queens: Diahann Billings-Burford, Chief Service Officer

o Brooklyn: Nazli Parvizi, Commissioner, Community Affairs Unit

o Manhattan & Bronx: Matt Mahoney, Associate Commissioner, Department of Environmental Protection



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.

o 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).

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



Advice to Share with Your Constituents:


· Any food – including packaged food – that was touched by flood water should be thrown away. The flood water may contain sewage or other contamination.

· Other items that have been touched by flood water should be cleaned and disinfected. This should be done as soon as possible to prevent mold growth.

· Tap water is safe to drink (aside from the Breezy Point restrictions.)

· Do not use generators or grills indoors. Carbon monoxide poisoning is a serious threat when these devices are used indoors. They should only be used outside and kept away from windows and vents.

· Everyone should have and use battery-operated carbon monoxide alarms. They should test the batteries if possible.

· If someone experiences sleepiness, dizziness, headaches, confusion, weakness or the carbon monoxide alarm sounds, they should immediately seek fresh air and call the poison control center at 212–POISONS (212-764-7667.) They can also call 911, as poisoning is life threatening.

· Important guides on carbon monoxide poisoning and food safety can be found at



Staying Informed


· For the latest updates, New Yorkers can:

o Visit

o Follow @nycmayorsoffice on Twitter

o Sign up for notifications from Notify NYC



Thank you for all of your efforts, and we will continue to keep you informed.