Tag Archives: storm

Hardware stores report no spike in sales despite storm


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

By Alexa Altman

As the city braces for Nemo, hardware stores report no spike in the sale of storm essentials.

Peter Lee, manager of Platz Hardware in Ridgewood, said dwindling foot traffic in his western Queens store is due to residents recycling the salt and shovels they bought for previous storms.

“The funny thing is we’ve had a lot people prepared already so it’s been a slow day,” said Lee. “We were preparing to have a busy day but so far it’s been a dead. There’s not even traffic outside the store.”

An employee at Metropolitan Lumber & Hardware in Astoria said they hadn’t seen an increase in business before the storm either.

Steven Kandel, of New York Lumber and Building Supply, said his business has seen a steady demand for goods to weather the storm. His business, which supplies salt and shovels to the hotels surrounding JFK International Airport, ran half a dozen deliveries yesterday and four so far today.

“We bring it in by the truckload and we keep selling it,” he said.

Kandel said that while many residents are most likely already equipped, the devastation of Sandy has cautioned many against being unprepared.

“After [Superstorm] Sandy I guess you can’t just put these things on the shelf and say it’s not going to happen,” said Kandel. “It’s certainly scaring a lot of people. I hope it’s not a big storm.”

 

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Queens Morning Roundup


| brennison@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Friday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 40. Northwest wind 13 to 15 mph. Friday night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 30. Northwest wind 5 to 9 mph becoming light north after midnight.

EVENT of the WEEKEND: Jazz Night at New York’s Legendary Metropolitan Room

The incomparable Stix Bones will be hosting two Jazz Nights during December at the renowned Metropolitan Room in NYC. Jazz Night is a seventy-five minute performance highlighting music from the forefathers of Jazz such as Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Dizzy Gillespie, and original compositions by drummer Stix Bones. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Man dead after train push horror in Queens

A man was killed tonight after a woman pushed him into the path of an oncoming train in Queens, police sources said. The tragedy occurred at the elevated 40th Street station, near Queens Boulevard, in Sunnyside at around 8 p.m., sources added. Read more: NY Post

Sandy Hook funeral-fund scam outrages, feds charge Nouel Alba

The innocent blood spilled on the floors of a Connecticut elementary school was still warm when a Bronx woman hatched a sick scam to profit off the tragedy. Nouel Alba, 37, was busted after allegedly posing as an aunt of 6-year-old Noah Pozner — one of 20 children massacred inside Sandy Hook Elementary School — to collect money for the child’s “funeral fund,” authorities said. Read more: Daily News

Official: Endangered whale beached in Queens dead

A 60-foot whale was found dead on Thursday after getting stranded on a beach in a coastal enclave of New York City that was ravaged by Superstorm Sandy. The animal — part of an endangered species known as finback or fin whales — was severely emaciated but clinging to life when it was discovered Wednesday stranded on the bay side of Breezy Point. Volunteer firefighters sprayed water on the whale as it sat halfway out of the water. Read more: NY Post

Wednesday storm causes more issues for residents of two Jamaica homes

Wednesday’s storm caused more problems for some Jamaica residents whose homes were severely damaged by Hurricane Sandy. Natasha Francis and her two kids are staying with family and friends. She said Hurricane Sandy damaged her roof, and now there’s water everywhere. Read more: NY1

2 armed robbers terrorize Queens shopkeepers

Cops say two men have been very busy this holiday season from terrorizing six Queens shopkeepers. On December 5th, Nisha Sharvo was minding her business behind the back pharmacy counter of Quick Script Drugs in Hollis, when on her security monitors she watched the men hold up the front counter and order staff and customers to the floor while robbing them – all before making a beeline for Sharvo. Read more: ABC Local

 

How to help the victims of Hurricane Sandy


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Hurricane Sandy wrecked havoc throughout New York city, downing trees, flooding streets and knocking out power, though some neighborhoods received a greater brunt of the devastation.

Those that made it out relatively unscathed have now sprung to action to help neighbors who were not as fortunate.

Here’s a list of ways to help:

  • For those that would like to volunteer, email nycservice@cityhall.nyc.gov with your name, email address and borough. There will be ways to volunteer today and over the next week as opportunities arise.
  • Click here to volunteer at a Queens park cleanup.
  • To donate blood visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). To give blood, you must be at least 17, meet weight and height requirements and be in general good health.
  • The Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City is accepting financial donations for those that would like to donate money to support relief efforts.
  • Councilmember Peter Koo’s office will be collecting new blankets, slightly used clean coats in good condition and non-perishable food items at his district office, 135-27 38th Avenue, Suite 388, Flushing, and the phone number is 718-888-8747.
  • Assemblymember Rory Lancman and candidate Nily Rozic are sponsoring a food and supplies drive and will be accepting donations in the form of unopened nonperishable food and new and used clothing in good condition daily between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. until the end of the week at Lancman’s district office at 159-16 Union Turnpike, Suite 210 in Hillcrest. If you are unable to drop off donations during these hours, food and clothing will be accepted at other times through pickup by calling Lancman’s office at 718-820-0241 or Rozic’s campaign office at 646-389-6459. Lancman’s office will also be issuing free Shabbos meals for Hillcrest families in need; you can call his office for details.
  • Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley’s office is working with Atlas Park to gather donations of canned foods, clothes, and cleanup supplies. Drop off is 8000 Cooper Avenue at the former Borders Bookstore site in Glendale. Donations can be dropped off between 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. through Sunday.
  • Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer is collecting water, food, blankets, warm clothes, batteries and cell phone chargers at his district office, 47-01 Queens Boulevard, Suite 205, Sunnyside. The office is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m.–6 p.m. The office will also be open  Saturday, November 3 from 10 a.m.–2 p.m.
  • Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Blvd., is a drop-off location for hurricane donations, noon – 5 p.m., for as long as needed.
  • The NYPD will collect non-perishable food, clothing, and other donations in the parking lot of 110-00 Rockaway Boulevard in Jamaica. Officers will be accepting the donations daily from 10 a.m to 6 p.m. Money cannot be accepted. Anyone who wants to give is urged to donate canned goods, canned milk, bottled water and other non-perishables; paper products, personal and baby care products, trash bags, cleaning products, linens and towels, flash lights, batteries; clothing for colder weather.
  • The Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association is collecting blankets, shirts, socks, sweaters, jackets, old sneakers, non-perishable food, pet food, cat food, dog food at 84-20 Jamaica Avenue.

From the ashes: Breezy Point residents search for hope


| editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Alexa Altman

BY ALEXA ALTMAN AND MAGGIE HAYES

Sifting through the charred remains of his life-long Breezy Point home, Kieran Burke searched for something left behind.

“You’d be surprised what survives,” he said, soot-encrusted shovel in hand.

Burke’s home, along with 110 others, burned down in the fire that spread throughout the charming beachfront neighborhood during Hurricane Sandy. The storm, displacing thousands, left residents searching through the shattered pieces of their lives on the way to recovery.

Residents of the area claim Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)’s post-storm presence has been minimal. Several received literature, indicating sources for food, clothing and shelter. Others say the agency is nowhere to be found.

See the pictures of Sandy’s devastation

Liz Bianco filled three jugs of water at a Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) installed station with her two young daughters, Julian,9, and Leigh,4. The trio’s home, while spared from the blaze, was infiltrated by three feet of sea water. As waves crashed against her front door, she saw embers falling from the sky.

“It was like being in a fire storm,” said Bianco.

All she could think, she said, was to get the hell out.

Nearby, Burke continued to dig.

“There’s going to be a lot of red tape, a lot of politicians and a lot of people with ulterior motives,” said Burke about restoring the hometown he always knew.

Burke, 40, a member of the FDNY, paused his search for a moment to examine a pile of documents spared by the flames. Flipping through the few unscathed sheets, he gasped at an untouched photograph.

The picture — two smiling men on a pristine beach nearly 20 years ago — was Burke and his best friend Matthew, who died in the attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

“It’s going to be alright,” he said through tears. “Now I know it’s going to be alright — Matthew’s going to take care of us.”

During the storm, Burke and his wife Jennifer, 39, stayed with his parents in their nearby home. When he saw the fire break out from a few blocks away, Burke immediately ran to help quell the rising flames. Within 15 minutes, his home was ablaze. With only a few minutes to spare, he grabbed their laptop and a few important papers.

Now, with only blackened rubble left, he continued his search for that which was left behind — his wife’s wedding ring.

East River bridges closed to cars with less than 3 passengers; Schools to reopen Monday


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Those who want to enter Manhattan by car over one of the East River bridges will need to bring at least two other passengers.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced the restrictions at his press conference updating residents on the city’s response to the storm.

The restriction — which will be enforced by the NYPD — will be in effect between 6 a.m. and midnight on Thursday and Friday to ease traffic in the city and will only apply to cars going to Manhattan, not leaving.

Some other updates from the Bloomberg press conference:

  • FDNY search and recovery missions are continuing in the Rockaways with workers going house to house. “Hopefully they will not discover any more tragedies,” said Bloomberg.
  • Schools will remain closed for the remainder of the week and will reopen on Monday.
  • Parks are still off-limits to the public as they are being inspected and will likely reopen this weekend.
  • The Sanitation Department is collecting trash and removing debris; recycling collection is postponed until further notice.
  • 125 senior centers will be open tomorrow.

No timetable for return of subway; limited bus service to resume at 5 p.m.


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Photo via Facebook

Extensive flooding in the city’s subway system continues to knock out service with no timetable for trains to be up and running.

“The New York City subway system is 108 years old, but it has never faced a disaster as devastating as what we experienced last night. Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on our entire transportation system,” said MTA Chair and CEO Joe Lhota.

The storm caused extensive flooding in all under river subway tunnels, said Mayor Michael Bloomberg.  Some railyards also suffered from flooding.

“That’s going to be a big problem to get them going,” Bloomberg said.

Lhota said the MTA is currently assessing the extent of the damage on the lines.

“Once we complete or assessment we will know more about when the system is up and running,” Lhota said.

If the agency can restore some parts of the system, those lines will resume service when possible, he said.

Buses will be used where train are unable to run.

Buses will resume with limited service today beginning at 5 p.m., said Governor Andrew Cuomo.  By tomorrow, he said he hopes all bus routes will be running.  There will be no fares on buses today and tomorrow.

 

 

Friends, brother remember Flushing man killed during Hurricane Sandy


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

A Flushing man was crushed to death by a tree that crashed into his home Monday night during Hurricane Sandy, police said.

Tony Laino, 29, was pinned in his bedroom at around 7 p.m. on October 29, police said.

The tree ripped through the upper left portion of the two-story home at 47-34 166th Street, according to neighbors.

“The mother came outside screaming,” said Howard Senior, who lives across the street. “There were trucks, lights, all sorts of emergency vehicles. It was a mob scene. Somebody went upstairs, but there was no noise from the room. They didn’t hear a thing. It just crushed him.”

Another neighbor, who did not want to give her name, said the victim’s mother ran down the street and rang her doorbell that night asking for help.

“He was just pinned underneath the tree. There was nothing that could be done,” she said. “The poor mother was helpless. It took a very long time to even try and get in there — that’s how big the tree was.”

The collapse rendered the rest of the house unstable, the neighbor said, adding that emergency responders pulled out “very quickly.”

“The winds were blowing. It was just terrifying,” she said. “It’s just a tragedy.”

Laino lived with his parents and one of two brothers, neighbors and friends said. There were no other reported injuries in the home.

A man who identified himself only as Laino’s brother wept outside the scene on Tuesday morning.

“He was an amazing person,” he said. “He always wanted to help people. He was a great man.”

Neighbors and an overwhelming outpouring of Facebook friends remembered Laino — the youngest of three brothers and a driver for Ace Party & Tent Rental — as an idol to kids on the block and a funny, cheerful person.

“Although my heart is heavy, I’ll never forget how you made me smile,” friend Deirdre Mooney posted on his Facebook wall Tuesday morning. “I hope you’re one of [the] first faces I see on the other side.”

Danielle Esposito wrote about how Laino “always made me feel happy and beautiful and endlessly made me laugh with his antics.”

“Honestly have no idea how we are going to do this,” she said.

Friend Adam Lombardi told the Courier Laino was a “go-getter, always looking to improve himself.”

“I think I speak for the entire neighborhood when I say it’s a tragic loss and he’s going to be missed,” he said.

Family and neighbors said the tragedy could have been averted. The Lainos tried time and time again to get the city to remove the towering threat, they said.

“I’ve been telling them to take this tree down for 20 f—–g years,” Laino’s brother said.

The Parks Department directed comment to the city’s joint information center, which did not immediately respond.

Senior said the tree was “too big, too dangerous” as he watched it sway during the storm.

“It’s a solid tree, but it started to rock,” he said. “I said ‘Son of a gun, that’s going to come down.’”

Hurricane Sandy updates: Subway “has never faced a disaster as devastating” as yesterday: MTA CEO


| editorial@queenscourier.com

storm

10:30 a.m.

Statement from MTA Chairman and CEO Joe Lhota:

The New York City subway system is 108 years old, but it has never faced a disaster as devastating as what we experienced last night. Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on our entire transportation system, in every borough and county of the region. It has brought down trees, ripped out power and inundated tunnels, rail yards and bus depots.

As of last night, seven subway tunnels under the East River flooded. Metro-North Railroad lost power from 59th Street to Croton-Harmon on the Hudson Line and to New Haven on the New Haven Line. The Long Island Rail Road evacuated its West Side Yards and suffered flooding in one East River tunnel. The Hugh L. Carey Tunnel is flooded from end to end and the Queens Midtown Tunnel also took on water and was closed. Six bus garages were disabled by high water. We are assessing the extent of the damage and beginning the process of recovery. Our employees have shown remarkable dedication over the past few days, and I thank them on behalf of every New Yorker. In 108 years, our employees have never faced a challenge like the one that confronts us now. All of us at the MTA are committed to restoring the system as quickly as we can to help bring New York back to normal.

10:15 p.m.

A second person has been reported dead in Queens from Hurricane Sandy, according to authorities.

Police said a woman was electrocuted at 105th Avenue and 135th Street in Richmond Hill at approximately 7:45 p.m.  Reports indicate she stepped in an electrified puddle, though police could not confirm at this time.

A man was killed earlier when a tree fell on his house in Flushing.

10 p.m.

Bloomberg updated residents on Hurricane Sandy:

- Con Ed expects outages to last at least through the morning, possible longer.

- New York University Hospital power is out along with a backup generator, patients are currently being moved.

- 9-1-1 is receiving 10,000 calls per hour, 10 times the normal rate.  The calls are overflowing their lines.  Bloomberg said that unless you are in an emergency, do not call 9-1-1, dial 3-1-1.

8:20 p.m.

According to the National Weather Service, Hurricane Sandy has made landfall along the coast of Southern New Jersey.

7:45 p.m.

A 30-year-old man died after a tree fell on his Flushing house near 46th Avenue and 166th Street at approximately 7 p.m.  There were no other injuries reported in the incident, police said.

6:50 p.m.

About 100 firefighters are on scene as part of an 8th Avenue building has collapsed.  According to the Daily News, no injuries are being reported at the four-story, 25 unit building on 8th Avenue and 14th Streets.

5:55 p.m.

Public transportation likely to remain shutdown through tomorrow.

5:50 p.m.

The highest surge in the Rockaways, in the Battery and on Staten Island between 6:30 and 10:30 p.m., said Bloomberg. In parts of the city that are on the Long Island Sound, the peak surge will be between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m.

5:45 p.m.

Bloomberg asked residents to call 3-1-1 for downed trees and limbs, not 9-1-1, so the lines can remain open for emergencies.

5:30 p.m.

Mayor Bloomberg updates New Yorkers on Hurricane Sandy.

 

4:10 p.m.

The Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge will close immediately due to high winds. The George Washington, Verrazano, Marine Parkway, Whitestone, Henry Hudson and Throgs Neck bridges will close at 7 p.m.  Midtown Tunnel and RFK Bridge to remain open for now.

4 p.m.

Governor Cuomo held anothe update on Hurricane Sandy

“Storm is as expected so far,” Cuomo said. “Sandy’s fury is still coming to be coming tonight.”

The worst of the storm may begin at 6 p.m. this evening.

Cuomo announced the deployment of 1,000 National Guardsman, mostly on Long Island.

3:20 p.m.

Governor Cuomo announced the Tappan Zee Bridge will close at 4 p.m.

3:15 p.m.

Danny Ruscillo, president of the 100 Precinct Community Council, said there was flooding around manhole covers in some areas of Breezy Point and Neponsit this morning, but it seems to have subsided.

The Parks Department was still out trying to build sand barricades this afternoon. Some of the barricades, however, were destroyed by this morning’s surge, according to Assemblymember Phillip Goldfeder. The Parks Department has been trying to restore the damages before the next major surge.

Firefighters have been going around the peninsula to help people evacuate or get to their homes, the assemblymember said.

2:30 p.m.

All CUNY schools cancelled classes through tomorrow.  The stock market will also be closed for the second consecutive day due to the storm.

12:50 p.m.

President Barack Obama briefed the country on the storm expected to make landfall over the next couple of hours.

“This is going to be a big and powerful storm,” Obama said.

He said the fact that governors and local officials have had a couple of days of coordination has allowed municipalities to be prepared as best they can.  He also said resources will be available following the storm for areas hit hardest.

12:10 p.m.

The city will continue to run buses at public housing in Zone A for the next hour attempting to evacuate all residents before it becomes too dangerous to do so. Evacuation centers throughout the five boroughs are still accepting residents.

About 3,100 people — 73 pets —are currently in one of the centers along with about 3,000 volunteers.

The city has also increased effort to reach homeless residents on the street.

“Its just dangerous to be out on the streets when the winds are this high,” Bloomberg said.

Noon

Senator Charles Schumer is asking FEMA to expedite aid to New York.

“No question we will need the $26 million limit,” Schumer said. The senator wants the agency to skip the preliminary steps and pronounce a major disaster declaration for the area.

11:50 a.m.

Sanitation workers were out today collecting garbage and will pick up tomorrow where possible. Crews will also be attempting to clear roads of downed limbs.

11:40 a.m.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that city schools will remain closed tomorrow.  He said there is no chance public transportation will be running by tomorrow morning.

After-school activities and Public Schools Athletic League events will also be cancelled.

11 p.m.

Storm surges have already approached Hurricane Irene levels, said Howard Glaser, director of state operations, with Hurricane Sandy still hundreds of miles away.  The total storm surge New York saw in last year’s storm reached about nine and a half feet.  Predictions for Hurricane Sandy forecast up to an 11.7  foot surge, which would break the record 10.5 foot surge of Hurricane Donna in 1960.

Governor Andrew Cuomo spent yesterday touring the state and is confidant in New York’s preparation for the storm.

“In a cruel irony, the consistency of the exposure has helped us getting more prepared,” Cuomo said.

Despite preparation, the storm still presents great danger, he said.

“Citizens do not have to be on the road,” Cuomo said. “You do not need to be going to the beach to take pictures. Don’t be fooled by looking out the window and saying its not that bad.”

10:45 a.m.

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the Holland and Brooklyn-Battery tunnels will close today at 2 p.m. Bridges will remain open as of now.

9:15 a.m.

The Food Bank for New York City will continue to  to distribute food to operational soup kitchens, food pantries, senior centers and agencies in non-evacuated parts of the five boroughs.

“Food Bank For New York City is actively working to fulfill two main priorities: services to our members and services to the clients of our kitchen and pantry,” said President and CEO Margarette Purvis. “The storm takes on a whole new dimension for our network because we’re at the end of the month when many families find themselves using our programs because their resources have run out. With this in mind, maintaining services for our neediest neighbors during this time of crisis is critical. We’re also contacting our most active member agencies to determine food supply needs and are preparing to send emergency trucks as available.”

8:45 a.m.

Con Edison is reporting a power outage in Rosedale, Queens that is affecting 1,022 customers there, and is currently responding to it. To report any service loss, call ConEd at 1-800-752-6633.

8:00 a.m.

All U.S. stock and options trading will be closed on Monday because of Hurricane Sandy and may be closed on Tuesday as well. It’s the first time the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) has shut down for an entire day because of weather since 1985 when Hurricane Gloria hit the city. Yesterday, sandbags  were placed in front of the NYSE in anticipation of the storm.

10:40 p.m.

The National Weather Service (NWS) issued a high wind warning for the area as Hurricane Sandy’s gusts are expected to pick up beginning tomorrow morning.

The warning will remain in effect from Monday at 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday.

Sustained winds are forecasted to reach 30 to 50 mph with gusts up to 80 mph, according to the NWS.  The strongest winds are expected Monday afternoon through the night.

A significant threat to life and property exists from winds of this strength, the NWS said.

Downed limbs, trees and power lines could be widespread in this weather.

10:15 p.m.

Along with high schools and grade schools closing tomorrow, Queens colleges also cancelled classes.  Queens College, York College, Queensborough Community College and LaGuardia Community College are all closed tomorrow.

8 p.m.

President Barack Obama granted Governor Andrew Cuomo’s request for a federal emergency declaration as Hurricane Sandy is about to strike New York.

The declaration allows the state to receive assistance and resources to aid in evacuation, sheltering and other measures.

“Once again, I thank the president for his quick response to my request for a federal emergency declaration which will apply to the entire State of New York. We appreciate the federal government’s support as we continue to prepare for Hurricane Sandy,” Cuomo said.

Cuomo declared a state of emergency in New York yesterday ahead of Hurricane Sandy.

6:30 p.m.

The Staten Island will cancel service beginning at 8 p.m. from the St. George Terminal and 8:30 p.m. from the Whitehall Terminal. East River Ferry Service is suspended through tomorrow. PATH trains will shut down at midnight.  Amtrack will cease operating northeast corridor serivce at 7 p.m. and nearly all service on the eastern seaboard on Monday, including Acela Express, Northeast Regional, Keystone and Shuttle trains.

4:30 p.m.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg held another press conference at 4 p.m. to update residents on preparations for Hurricane Sandy.

“If you have not yet left Zone A, please get to public transportation as soon as possible,” the mayor said.  Zone A areas must be evacuated by 7 p.m. tonight.

Buses are being sent to all public housing in Zone A to transfer residents to evacuation centers throughout the borough.

Fliers have been posted and staffers are knocking on doors and making calls to ensure residents leave NYCHA housing in the vulnerable areas.

Elevators, water and heat will begin being shut down at 7 p.m. in these buildings.

There are no plans to close bridges or tunnels at this time. the mayor said.

Western Queens braces for Hurricane Sandy


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Alexa Altman

A few brave locals in makeshift trash bag ponchos trekked across Gantry State Park in Long Island City to witness Hurricane Sandy’s wrath.

One storm chaser, who lives just across Vernon Boulevard in Zone B, said she wasn’t afraid of the storm, even though officials speculated the worst was yet to come. She bought a few supplies — batteries and bottled water — but didn’t think Sandy would live up to officials’ predictions.

Around 12:30 p.m., police officers began taping off the park, broadcasting over a loudspeaker that a mandatory evacuation of the pier was in order. A police officer said the worst was expected to hit around 3 p.m., and that while the water line was receding during 1 p.m.’s low tide, the surf would eventually rise over the dock.

Along Vernon Boulevard, businesses were boarded up, surrounded by sandbags and plastic sheets. Windows of the all-glass high rises along the waterfront were reinforced with tape.

Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer toured Long Island City on Monday, stopping to check in on residents at the Queensbridge Houses. The councilmember visited Associated, the main grocery store for Queensbridge residents, which closed around 2 p.m. after a barrage of shoppers scoured the establishment for storm essentials.

“It’s really important that people be inside now and hunker down to ride out the storm and remain calm,” said Van Bramer.

Richard Mazda of LIC’s Secret Theatre said all of the spaces’ productions would be postponed, adding that he hoped they could still hold scheduled Halloween events on Wednesday.

Over in Astoria, even the consistently bustling Steinway Street was nearly empty.

At William Cullen Bryant High School, city officials set up a shelter for those displaced by the storm. A worker said roughly 15 people had taken refuge from Sandy inside the school, many of whom were stranded at airports and train stations due to cancelled departures.

Stocked with cots, blankets, food and toiletries, the shelter was prepared to hold people for several days.

“Everyone is cared for and everyone feels safe,” said a shelter worker. “We have an amazing group of people who are giving their time and talent. We’re fortunate the mayor has some place for people to go.”

Many Rockaway residents ignore evacuation, remain home


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER?Photo by Terence Cullen

Despite calls from elected officials in the area, many Rockaway residents say they’re staying, and have hunkered down for the impacts of Hurricane Sandy.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced earlier today that NYCHA would begin shutting down elevator service, heating and hot water in the 26 housing developments within Zone A as a means to drive people from the flood zones and into shelters.

John D’Arrigo said he and his wife Ruthanne are staying put in their beachfront apartment — although they evacuated last year for Hurricane Irene.

“Last year we kind of evacuated,” he said on the boardwalk of Rockaway Beach, “but this time we’re going to stay here.”

D’Arrigo, like many others who plan to stay, said he stocked up on necessary items and will wait out the storm.

“We’re hoping for the best and preparing for the worst,” he said.

Likewise, Oscar Izquierdo said he was not worried about the storm, or flooding in his third floor apartment. His concern right now was potential flooding or water damage to his car.

Some, however, said they are closing up and heading to higher ground.

Elizabeth Bethea said she was helping to close down her cafe, Veggie Island, and heading out to Brooklyn.

The city has been working all weekend to build sand barriers around potential flood sites on the southern coast of the peninsula, particularly around Beach 116th Street and Rockaway Beach Park.

“I’m just hoping the barricades do hold up here,” said Danny Ruscillo, president of the 100th Precinct Community Council.

Neighbors are working together to fill sand bags to prevent flooding, Ruscillo said, adding that “everybody’s helping everybody.”

Elected officials and staffers have been throughout the peninsula this weekend reaching out to residents and urging them to move to designated evacuation centers.

State Senator Malcolm Smith voiced concern that people were lax about staying put for a storm expected to devastate the area. He added that 90 percent of the residents he spoke to said they decided to stay where they were.

By staying in the area, Smith said residents were not only putting their own lives at risk, but those of the first responders who would have to return to the peninsula to save them.

“We don’t want this to be another Katrina,” Smith said.”They didn’t treat Katrina serious and you saw many lives in loss, and this is what could end up being here. The problem is people don’t feel any rain, it’s just a slight wind so think we’re going to be fine. I think preparation is sound, I just would hope people understand how serious this is, and do not put their families at risk and our first responders.”

Surfers trying to capitalize on the growing waves have been continually urged to stay out of the water.

“They [surfers] want to catch some great waves, but they’re putting their lives in jeopardy, and also they’re putting other people at risk: the first responders, and the people that have to drag them out of the water when it becomes too rough,” said Councilmember Eric Ulrich.

Assemblymember Phillip Goldfeder said he’s spoken to Governor Andrew Cuomo about continued assistance from the state and FEMA in preparation for Hurricane Sandy, and to co-ordinate relief efforts for the colossal effects it’s projected to have.

“I’m confident that the city, state and federal government will work together to bring the aid to people as soon as possible,” he said.

Shoppers flock to stores for last minute supplies


| brennison@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Toni Cimino

With Hurricane Sandy expected to hit New York City beginning tonight, residents flocked to hardware stores and supermarkets to stock up on goods to get them though the storm.

Locals lined up dozens deep at area stores for water, batteries and sandbags preparing themselves for the hurricane that is forecasted to bring gusts of winds up 80 mph and multiple inches of rain per hour.

The Fresh Meadows Key Food has seen about 1,000 more shoppers each of the past two days than average, said an assistant manager, though more residents flooded the store last year in the lead up to Hurricane Irene.

The Home Depot in Long Island City has sold out of generators and sandbags and Ace Hardware on Francis Lewis Boulevard is out of batteries.

A designer at the Bay Terrace Waldbaum’s said the shoppers have remained well behaved during the rush that has brought lines usually reserved for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

- Additional reporting from Alexa Altman, Melissa Chan and Toni Cimino

Evacuation centers in Queens


| brennison@queenscourier.com

The mayor has already ordered the mandatory evacuations of vulnerable areas in Queens ahead of Hurricane Sandy, and others may want to head to an evacuation center just to be safe.

Here are the 16 evacuation centers in Queens:

• John Adams High School- 101-01 Rockaway Blvd., Ozone Park.

• Grover Cleveland High School- 21-27 Hinrod Street, Ridgewood

• Aviation High School- 45-30 36th Street

• Bayside High School- 32-24 Corp. Kennedy Boulevard

• Belmont Racetrack- Hempstead Turnpike and Cross Island Parkway

• Flushing High School- 35-01 Union Street

• Forest Hills High School- 67-01 110th Street

• J.H.S. 185- 147-26 25th Drive

• Hillcrest High School- 160-05 Highland Avenue

• Newcomers High School- 28-01 41st Avenue

• Newtown High School- 48-01 90th Street

• P.S. 19- 98-02 Roosevelt Avenue

• Queens College- 65-30 Kissena Boulevard

• Queensborough Community College- 222-05 56th Avenue

• William C. Bryant High School- 48-10 31st Avenue

• York College- 94-20 Guy R. Brewer Boulevard

City schools closed Monday, possibly Tuesday


| brennison@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/photo by Mike DiBartolomeo

With the city’s transportation shutting down tonight, the mayor also announced the closure of schools on Monday.

Heavy rains and strong winds have also forced evacuations of low-lying areas throughout the five boroughs.

“Due to anticipated inclement weather conditions from Hurricane Sandy, all New York City public schools will be closed to students tomorrow, October 29. Administrative offices will be open. All after-school activities and Public Schools Athletic League events will also be cancelled. We are asking that school staff and employees assigned to a shelter site to report to their posts,” said Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott.

A decision has yet to be made regarding school openings on Tuesday, though the mayor said he hopes that children will be able to return by then.

 

 

Mayor orders mandatory evacuations for Rockaways, Hamilton Beach and Broad Channel


| brennison@queenscourier.com

File photo

With Hurricane Sandy making its way for New York City, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has ordered the mandatory evacuations of Zone A areas which includes the Rockaways, Broad Channel and Hamilton Beach.

Parts of other low-lying Queens areas are also being evacuated.  Click here for the map of the evacuation areas. The low-lying coastal areas are most vulnerable during the storm that is expected to see large surges at sea.

The evacuations are set for 7 p.m. tonight.

“They are not only endangering their own lives, they are endangering the lives of other,” the mayor said of those who choose to ignore the order.

There are 16 evacuation centers throughout Queens.  Click here to find one near you.

“Do not wait until the last minute to get public transportation,” the mayor said.

Public transportation will be shutting down tonight; The last train will depart at 7 p.m., buses at 9 p.m. tonight.

 

City agencies prepping for “Frankenstorm”


| brennison@queenscourier.com

With Hurricane Sandy barreling toward the city, city agencies are preparing for the possible massive storm.

The heavy rain and strong winds can cause unsafe conditions throughout the public transportation system and on the city’s bridges and tunnels.  No decision has been made yet as to whether there will be any service stoppages during the storm.

“We are hoping for the best but preparing for the worst,” said MTA Chairman and CEO Joe Lhota. “Whatever happens, we’ll be ready.

They MTA last suspended operation during Hurricane Irene. The MTA’s hurricane plan calls for “an orderly shutdown of service before the arrival of sustained winds of 39 mph or higher.  Sustained winds are forecasted to be between 40-50 mph.

Those high winds and rain falling at 1-2 inches per hour may also knock out power.

“This is a large unpredictable storm, so be prepared for outages,” said Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.

Con Edison has crews prepping for the conditions that could effect the city’s electric, gas and steam systems.

Customers can report downed power lines and outages at www.conEd.com. They also can call 1-800-75-CONED (1-800-752-6633).

In the event the hurricane hits our area, Con Edison offered the following safety tips:

  •  If you see downed electrical wires, do not go near them. Treat all downed wires as if they are live. Never attempt to move or touch them with any object. Be mindful that downed wires can be hidden from view by tree limbs, leaves or water.
  • Report all downed wires to Con Edison and your local police department immediately. If a power line falls on your car while you’re in it, stay inside the vehicle and wait for emergency personnel.
  • If your power goes out, turn off all lights and appliances to prevent overloaded circuits when power is restored.
  • Check to make sure your flashlights and any battery-operated radios are working. Also, make sure you have a supply of extra batteries. Weather updates and news on power outages can be heard on most local radio and television stations.
  • Avoid opening your freezer to see if food is still frozen. Every time you open the door, room-temperature air enters and speeds the thawing process. Most fully loaded freezers will keep food frozen for approximately 36 to 48 hours; half-full freezers will keep food frozen for approximately 24 hours.