Flooding from the water main on the northeast corner of 23rd Street and Fifth Avenue
Photos by Sabina Mollot
By Sabina Mollot
A water main break on Friday morning before 11 a.m. sent rivers of water gushing throughout the street on Fifth Avenue and 23rd Street and inside the Q/N/R subway station, where trains stopped working.
Outside of Madison Square Park, on the east side, cars driving south found themselves having to get past a seven-foot-wide whirlpool. Naturally, tourists continued to stand around anyway to take pictures of the Flatiron Building, as firefighters responded to the scene.
The 36-inch water main was from 1915, according to William Podstupka, one of the MTA workers at the scene. An official agency spokesman couldn’t confirm the main’s age, though, explaining, “the MTA doesn’t own the water main.” Podstupka, however, said the main had caused 36,000 gallons of water to spurt out and that workers were just hoping to have the situation under control by Friday evening.
The break caused N and Q trains to stop running between 57th Street and Dekalb Avenue and R trains to stop running between Queens Plaza and Whitehall Street.
Update: As of 1:55 a.m. on Saturday, normal N, Q and R train service has resumed in Manhattan. According to an official NYC alert, straphangers should expect residual delays and traffic near East 23rd Street and Broadway.
Additionally, the Department of Environmental Protection was on the scene to address problems with water pressure in the area as a result of the break. If anyone still has low water pressure, Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who sent out an email alert via the Flatiron BID, said the DEP is tracking complaints via the 3-1-1 system.
Passersby slosh through the water on the northwest corner of 23rd Street and Fifth Avenue.
Flooding at around 11 a.m.
Three hours later, workers remain at the scene.