Work includes replacing elevators along with the entire electrical system as part of a $207 million federal relief package. (Photos by Sabina Mollot)
By Sabina Mollot
It was over five years ago when Superstorm Sandy flooded much of Manhattan’s East Side, crippling hospitals in Bedpan Alley. But it was the VA Medical Center on East 23rd Street that fared the worst, closing for six months.
Today, thanks to $207 million in federal relief money, the veterans’ hospital, while fully operational, is still undergoing work to replace systems that need to be upgraded rather than just repaired in the event of a future catastrophe.
Martina Parauda, director of VA NY Harbor Healthcare System (which includes local facilities including the Manhattan one), spoke to veterans about some of the ongoing projects at a town hall meeting on Tuesday morning.
The massive floodwall that began construction in 2015 is mostly done, including parts that can’t be seen like underwater pumps. It was originally supposed to be completed in 2016, but the VA has previously said underground excavation proved to be more complicated than expected.
New York State Department of Conservation project managers Gardiner Cross and Doug MacNeal at a public meeting last Wednesday (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)
By Maria Rocha-Buschel
With a contaminant recovery plan having been proposed for Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village, representatives from the State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) addressed concerns of residents last week at a public meeting.
This included making assurances that wells the DEC and Con Edison plan to build in ST/PCV to collect the leftover chemicals so they can be disposed of wouldn’t be intrusive. Con Ed has been working with DEC on what’s been referred to as a “remediation” for the site, which was once home to a manufactured gas plant (MGP).
The DEC had actually directed Con Edison to begin remediation for this project back in 2011. However, DEC project manager Doug MacNeal said during the meeting that the process was delayed for the last five years because of the changes in ownership at ST/PCV.
MacNeal said that exact locations haven’t been determined for the wells yet, but Council Member Dan Garodnick, who was also at the meeting, which held at Beth Israel last Wednesday, said that he would push DEC to site them as far away as possible from doors, windows and playgrounds.
One possible location for the wells, of which there will be 10 in Peter Cooper and six in Stuy Town, would be inside the garages. Meeting attendees burst into laughter when geologist and DEC project manager Gardiner Cross said that this was because the garages already have good ventilation. However, MacNeal backed up his statement, explaining that to be up to code, a garage has to have a functional ventilation system. If it doesn’t, he added, residents should contact DEC.
In 2012, New York City and Lower Manhattan in particular were swallowed up by Super Storm Sandy. The unprecedented rainfall left whole communities literally underwater for days and without electricity or steam heat for a week. The loss to local businesses was catastrophic. Repairs and renovations from the storm lasted for years. In fact, the work on the L subway line, which will cause some major disruptions, is directly related to the damage caused by the flooding of the subway tunnels. The costs soared into the tens of billions for the New York-New Jersey region.
Federal disaster assistance was applied for, which requires Congressional approval. Such financial help is common after devastating tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, droughts and other natural disasters. The response from Washington, DC is usually sympathetic, swift, and bi-partisan. That is until Texas Senator Ted Cruz got involved.
The building to be located at 13th Street and Avenue C broke ground last month. (Rendering courtesy of CTA Architects)
By Sabina Mollot
When Superstorm Sandy struck nearly five years ago, the buildings at Haven Plaza, a low and middle-income apartment complex located a block south of Stuyvesant Town, incurred massive damage. Following an explosion at the nearby Con Ed generating plant, Haven Plaza’s electrical system shorted out. Along with everyone else living in the adjacent communities, residents of Haven Plaza’s 371 apartments were trapped without elevator service, electricity or heat. Men and women of the National Guard shared field rations with residents, many of them seniors, until the power returned.
Following the disaster, the property underwent a much-needed $50 million overhaul in repairs and renovations. This included work on roofs and elevators that had to be replaced.
Then last month, another major project with a price tag of nearly $10 million began aimed at preventing future disaster-related damage on the property.
That project is a new, two-story infrastructure building designed to be disaster-resistant as well as associated resiliency upgrades at the complex, which is located on Avenue C between 10th and 13th Streets.
Re: Letter, “Why landscape fences make complete sense,” T&V, Aug. 22
John Giannone writes that irresponsible dog owners think “that it is ok for dogs to urinate on anything that grows and anything that does not — grass, bushes, trees, garbage cans, street posts, bench legs, the walkways, the legs of pedestrians. (Ok, so the last is false!)” John, are you sure “the last is false”? I witnessed my neighbor’s dog pee on her leg while I was speaking with her at the door of her apartment. So I know that man’s best friend (and woman’s too) does pee on the legs of humans. Some friend.
Also, it almost happened to me. I was sitting on a bench in front of the children’s playground in the Oval watching people walking their dogs in the “no dog area” gravel where the greenmarket is located on Sundays and where children play during the week. This was a weekday and I was watching a dog lift its leg to pee on the sign that read “no dog area” when a cute little dog, which bore a resemblance to my neighbor’s cute little dog, approached me. Thanks to my scientific background, I could discern that he was a male. His owner was watching her dog, which is unusual as most owners are too busy talking or texting on the phone or to a friend or themselves to notice what their dog is doing, as the little doggie approached my leg and started to sniff my foot. This dog was probably smelling some other dog’s doo doo that I had inadvertently stepped on; it’s so difficult not to step on a schmear or two of this fecal matter, wet or dry, in Stuy Town as it is left all over the walkways so that residents can bring these little gifts home for their children or cats to enjoy.
But I became anxious as her male dog got within inches of my leg. She did not pull the dog away from me, being of the school that advocates letting the little pet pissers live their lives to the fullest by smelling everything in sight. To avoid any unnecessary confrontations, as I might have been mistaken for a fire hydrant, I gently lifted my foot to shoo the dog away. But the owner barked, “What are you doing to my dog?” I replied, “I don’t like having urine on my pants. It’s not good for relationships.” Then she growled, “Well, you don’t have to hit him!” And then her dog led her away. She had her nose in the air while his was towards the ground, living his life to the fullest.