Water main break disrupts L train service

Feb26 L Train

By Sabina Mollot

A water main break in Chelsea caused L train service to be disrupted on Wednesday morning as crews worked to stop the flooding.

According to the Department of Environmental Protection, the 20-inch pipe located at Seventh Avenue between 14th and 15th Street burst at around 5:35 a.m. The water was later shut off though, stopping the leak, though not before some flooding in the subway. As of 9:30 a.m., crews were still working to excavate the roadway and repair the main though 14th Street was reopened to traffic.

As of 9:15 a.m., there was still no L train service between Union Square and Eighth Avenue, though otherwise L trains were still running every six minutes, the MTA said.

Still, the agency warned, “Expect delays in both directions” and suggested taking the M14 bus instead.

On its website, the MTA said water had stopped flowing into the tunnel, and crews were still busy clearing water and debris, and inspecting all affected switch and signal equipment. “We are working hard to restore full service by the afternoon rush,” the agency said.

L train updates have been posted online.

Update at 4:30 p.m.: A spokesperson for the DEP says a new valve has been installed and water service restored to 15th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues.  Work continues to repair the main and restore water service to a building on corner of 14th Street and 7th Avenue, which is home to about 450 people. Work was still ongoing to resurface western lanes of Seventh Avenue though they were expected to reopen within the hour.

Bellevue gets $380M for Sandy rebuilding

Bellevue Hospital (Photo courtesy of hospital)

Bellevue Hospital (Photo courtesy of hospital)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Bellevue Hospital Center will get a $376 million slice of federal money to cover the cost of putting right damage caused by Hurricane Sandy.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and U.S. Senator Charles Schumer announced last Thursday that the city has secured $1.6 billion in federal aid from FEMA to repair the city’s public hospitals damaged during Hurricane Sandy two years ago.

With its share of the cash, Bellevue will install flood-proof elevators, storm pumps and a flood wall.

“The entire New York Congressional Delegation came together to fight for these funds, and wisely sought resources not just for repairs, but also for mitigation,” said Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, in whose district the hospital is located.

“Bellevue is an important facility and it sustained substantial damage and had to be evacuated during Hurricane Sandy. We are taking the necessary steps to be sure that doesn’t happen again.”

According to Bellevue authorities, much of the damage caused by the 2012 superstorm has already been repaired and the fresh FEMA funds will reimburse HHC for those repairs and mitigation work.

Many pieces of critical equipment, such as electrical switching gear, have been relocated out of the basement to higher elevation on the first floor and the hospital has installed removable flood barriers at the two loading dock entrances facing the East River.

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Op-Ed: The East River Blueway: A model for all five boroughs

By Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer and State Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh

Plans for the East River Blueway include a footbridge that would also serve as a seawall. (Rendering by  WXY Architecture + Urban Design)

Plans for the East River Blueway include a footbridge that would also serve as a seawall. (Rendering by WXY Architecture + Urban Design)

As New York City recovers from Hurricane Sandy, communities in all five boroughs are understandably focused on repairing waterfront neighborhoods that were hit by historic flooding. But we must also ensure that these recovery efforts protect our city against the next big storm and other threats to our coastal communities as the climate changes and sea levels rise.

That’s the philosophy and overriding goal of the recently unveiled East River Blueway Plan, which our offices began developing in 2010. We hoped to redesign an often forgotten stretch of our East Side waterfront, from the Brooklyn Bridge to East 38th Street. Our objective was to open up the long-neglected area, creating beachfront access, recreational activities, tree-lined walkways, and other amenities that would bring people closer to the water. But we also knew that we had to protect this low-lying area from storms and flooding.

When Hurricane Sandy hit, it confirmed our worst fears about the need to plan differently for the future. And it strengthened our resolve, because New York City cannot be a place where people’s lives and livelihoods are threatened by a storm, no matter how powerful. Now that the winds have died and the waters have receded, we must get down to the job of making our coastal communities more resilient, through better infrastructure and ecological features that provide natural protection from flooding.

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Letters to the Editor, Dec. 6

Neighbors were the truly helpful ones

Shortly after 8:30 p.m. that Monday, October 29 everything went down: the lights, the electricity. We were plunged into darkness. I had just finished heating my dinner in the microwave. As fate would have it, a few days earlier someone gave me a rotary phone. It rang out. My brother was on the other end; he lives on the Upper West Side.  “Why are you still there?” he asked, “They said they were evacuating Stuyvesant Town on the news.”

That’s the first I heard, I told him. I’ll call you back, we just lost our electricity. So much for the intercom.Years earlier, Tishman Speyer won the right to charge us for it during one of their many MCI battles. The intercom, they argued, could also be used as an “emergency warning” system — yeah, right!

As our building began to shake palpably in the hurricane winds, I decided to go out to assess the situation and hopefully move my car which was parked on 13th St. between Ave. C and Ave. D. As I left my apartment, I got a text from a neighbor. Her and her partner were stuck in the elevator. I called to them to make sure they were alright, (they were), and I told them I’d get help.

Meanwhile, other concerned and anxious neighbors came out into the hallway. I told them to call 911 and Stuyvesant Town while I tried to get help. But, they said, “They couldn’t get through to Stuy.”  Keep trying, I said, as I made my way down the stairs using a pen-light as a guide. Almost immediately, I ran into another neighbor in the stairwell. She was very concerned about the neighbors on the 8th floor that were trying to rescue the people trapped in the elevator. “They’re gonna cause a short or start a fire or something.” I told her I would talk to them.

I got out on the 8th floor where a large group of concerned neighbors had assembled. One neighbor was trying to jimmy the elevator door open with a screwdriver. I recognized him and told him to please stop because it might make things worse. The people stuck inside were okay and others were calling for help. I would go outside to get help. Little did I know.

Nothing prepared me for what I was about to see. The water on the Ave. C loop was waist high, lapping the stairs leading to the T-levels. I lived in Stuy Town nearly thirty years and I have never seen the water come up that high. It was a bit of a shock and it stopped me in my tracks. Where would I go, how would I get there. We were surrounded by water. There was literally no way to get anywhere without going through the water. I wasn’t so sure about this rescue plan anymore. I finally decided to go through it.

I would make my way to Ave. B and 14th St. by hugging the building walls along the C Loop while holding onto the trees and bushes for support. Gingerly at first, I made my way through the waist-high water, in pitch darkness, to the beginning of the path that leads to Ave. B. I was surprised by how far the and deep the water remained. At that point I started to encounter other people with flashlights. Each time I saw someone, I asked if the were from Stuyvesant Town, and each time I got the same response: “No!” For some reason, I kept expecting to run into one of the vast array of personnel from Stuyvesant Town: someone from security, management or maintenance.

I ran into many people on my way to 14th St., but no one from Stuy Town. Where were they; where was this vast armada of workers one usually sees around the complex? I mean, the hurricane wasn’t exactly a secret. News outlets had been warning about it for at least a week. Why didn’t CompassRock have more of a presence; why weren’t they more prepared? It may seem naive, but I was surprised.

At 14th St. and Ave. B there were various emergency workers: firemen, police. They had a rescue boat available in case it was needed. And they cordoned off 14th St. so you couldn’t go east toward Ave. C. The water was too high and it was too dangerous. They told those assembled to go home. I reported my neighbors predicament to all the various emergency personnel. They were sympathetic and said they would report it. I knew my car was a goner.

Finally, I asked if anyone from Stuyvesant Town had been around. I kind of knew the answer but somehow felt compelled to ask. The answer was the same, no!

Matthew Handal, ST

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Superstorm Sandy in Pictures

Here are more pictures taken by T&V and area residents during last month’s storm and of its aftermath. Click the pictures to enter the gallery.