Tag Archives: storm

Major snowfall, freezing temps target NYC


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

Updated 11:40 p.m.

New York City was set for its second significant storm of the month Tuesday, with heavy snowfall and freezing temperatures predicted.

This storm is on pace to be larger than the previous storm, Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a press briefing Tuesday night.

The National Weather Service (NWS) issued a winter storm warning from 12 p.m. Tuesday until 6 a.m. Wednesday. The snow, however, was already falling by the morning commute.

By the evening, the storm had intensified and 10 to 14 inches of flakes are now expected in the city, the mayor said.

Governor Andrew Cuomo Tuesday afternoon declared a State of Emergency for New York City as well as Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester and Rockland counties.

De Blasio said he wanted  “New Yorkers to stay in to the maximum amount possible this evening” so the sanitation department can do its work.

“The safest thing to do tonight is stay home,” he said.

The New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY) issued a snow alert, starting at 9 a.m. Tuesday.

More than 2,000 sanitation are out now, working 12-hour shifts, and 450 salt spreaders have already been deployed, the mayor said. There are also more than 1,700 vehicles with snow plows that are being deployed as the snow accumulates.

To track the progress of DSNY clearing operations throughout the five boroughs, click here.

Alternate side parking is suspended Wednesday to facilitate with snow removal, but payment at parking meters remains in effect

Trash and recycling pickups are also suspended for Wednesday.

The New York City Office of Emergency Management (OEM) is warning motorists to drive slowly, monitor weather and traffic, use major streets or highways, and have the name and number of at least one local towing service. A hazardous travel advisory is in effect for Wednesday.

For anyone traveling on public transportation, the MTA has plans in place to deal with any adverse weather conditions.

After express subway service was “curtailed” after the evening rush hour Tuesday, the MTA said service should be near normal Wednesday, with express service restored during the morning rush hour. Buses will operate at 80 to 90 percent of normal levels depending on customer demand, and service will be subject to delays based on local road conditions.

Fastrack work on the E,F,M,R Queens Blvd. Line has been canceled for the remainder of the week to free up personnel for snow fighting and cleanup after the storm.

The Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) reduced service after 8 p.m. Tuesday on a branch-by-branch basis. After 8 p.m., service was also reduced on the Metro-North.

On Wednesday, Metro-North will operate 80 to 85 percent of its normal weekday service, with some trains combined and some delays possible based on the condition of track and power systems. The LIRR will operate on a weekend schedule.

For more information, or to see any additional MTA service changes, click here.

The snow is not expected to taper off until 3 or 4 a.m. Wednesday.

The city’s public schools, however, will be open tomorrow, Chancellor Carmen Fariña announced late Tuesday night.

The mayor cautioned New Yorkers about the bitter cold that is accompanying the snow. Temperatures will be very low and wind chills will make it worse, he said.

The low Tuesday night will be around 19,  but with gusts as high as 33 mph, wind chill values will be low as -11, according to NWS.

Though the snow will end by Wednesday, highs will remain in the high teens and lows in the single digits and teens for the next few days, with wind chill factors below zero.

 

Cuomo vows to continue fight against extreme weather


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Governor Cuomo's Flickr

As temperatures plummeted in New York on Tuesday, Governor Andrew Cuomo gave a heated speech outlining plans to build a new weather detection system, seal subways from floods and deputize citizens as emergency responders in the ongoing fight against extreme weather.

“[We are] reimagining New York for a new reality because we are facing a new New York after what we went through,” Cuomo said.

“Extreme weather is the new reality, like it or not.”

The governor was joined by Vice President Joe Biden, who, Cuomo said, represented the federal government’s support in the state’s efforts to recover from the super storm last year.

“None of it would have been possible if we didn’t have the funding from the federal government,” Cuomo said.

Cuomo’s $17 billion plan included a more sophisticated weather detection system, with more stations throughout the state.

He also outlined the first massive reconstruction of the city’s subway system since it was created more than 100 years ago, with better protection of train yards. He said the state was looking into experimental seals to stop water from entering subway openings.

The energy system also showed vulnerability during Sandy, he said, prompting an urgency to raise substations out of flood zones, particularly on Long Island, and for critical underground lines to be strengthened.

Cuomo emphasized restoring coastal protection through natural green infrastructure by “replacing what Mother Nature had there in the first place.”

We need to revisit how we design homes near the coast, and other flood zones, and consider building structures on stilts, the governor said.

Following the fuel crisis during Sandy, backup generators were mandated downstate and New York became the first state to establish a strategic fuel reserve, which is now on Long Island. Both those initiatives will be extended statewide, Cuomo said.

The Governor said he wanted the state’s emergency responders and its citizens to be prepared for the next storm by establishing the first-ever statewide training program for emergency personnel and the country’s first college for emergency preparedness.

The state is also going to create a “Citizen First Responder Corps,” with the goal of training 100,000 New Yorkers for “what to do in case of an emergency,” he said.

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST

Friday: Snow this morning will give way to some clearing this afternoon. High around 15. Winds NNW at 20 to 30 mph. Chance of snow 80%. About one inch of snow expected. Friday night: Clear skies. Low around 0. Winds NW at 10 to 15 mph.

NYC public schools closed Friday

All New York City public schools are closed Friday due to Snowstorm Hercules, education officials announced. Read more: The Queens Courier

Hercules flexing his muscles in first storm of 2014

Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a statewide state of emergency Thursday afternoon to prepare officials for winter storm Hercules, which is forecasted to bring five to nine inches of snow to the city. Read more: The Queens Courier

For NYC schools head, a focus on middle school

The new leader of the nation’s biggest public school system started her job Thursday with storm clouds brewing — the clouds that had a new city administration weighing whether to call a snow day for 1.1 million students. Read more: NBC New York

New York Attorney General Schneiderman warns against price gouging

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman warned businesses Thursday against price gouging as Tri-State area residents stocked up on major supplies ahead of the first snowstorm of the new year. Read more: CBS New York/AP

NYPD union lawyers seek quicker stop-frisk appeal ruling

Forget about the new mayor having a grace period with the NYPD. Read more: New York Post 

Hercules flexing his muscles in first storm of 2014


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

Updated Friday, January 3, 7:05 a.m.

The year is starting out with a shot of nasty weather that is predicted to bring near-blizzard conditions to the city.

Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a statewide state of emergency Thursday afternoon to prepare officials for winter storm Hercules, which is forecasted to bring five to nine inches of snow to the city.

“To ensure an effective and rapid response to this winter storm, I am declaring a statewide state of emergency, so resources can get to communities where they are needed as quickly as possible,” he said.

The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a winter storm warning until 1 p.m. Friday.

Cuomo also announced the Long Island Expressway will be closed from midnight to 8 a.m. on Friday from the Queens/Nassau County border and east. The Northern State Parkway and all MTA bridges and tunnels will remain open.

“As this winter storm unfolds, bringing heavy snow and high winds to many parts of the state, I strongly urge all New Yorkers to exercise caution, avoid travel and stay indoors,” he said.

Mayor Bill de Blasio emphasized the “forecast could change at any moment.”

“That’s why it’s so important for everyone to pay close attention to updates in the coming hours,” he said at his administration’s first press conference Thursday evening.

Alternate side parking has been suspended Friday to facilitate with snow removal, but payment at parking meters remains in effect.

All express subway service will run local for the start of the morning rush hour, until all stored trains are moved from the express tracks. Riders should expect delays on city buses due to the weather. The Long Island Rail Road is operating on a weekend schedule effective 12:01 a.m. Friday. The Metro-North is running on a reduced schedule after 8  p.m. Thursday, and a Saturday schedule on Friday. To see any additional MTA service changes, click here.

The weather is also affecting air travel. All flights at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) were suspended as of about 6:12 a.m., but the airport will remain open. Flights could resume in a couple of hours, said the FAA. Thousands of flights have reportedly been canceled across the country Friday, and travelers are urged to check with their carriers before heading to the airport.

City officials have no plan to close specific streets yet, but will monitor that need as the storm progresses, de Blasio said.

The City of New York Department of Sanitation (DSNY) has put 2,300 workers on 12-hour shifts, and 1,700 trucks with snow plows will be deployed once two inches of snow hit the ground. To track the progress of DSNY clearing operations throughout the five boroughs, click here.

Kew Gardens and South Ozone Park had accumulated more than 5 inches of snow as of 4 a.m., according to NWS.

Senior centers throughout the city will be closed through Friday, and de Blasio urged city residents to keep a close eye on the homeless population.

Joe Bruno, the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) commissioner, said the NYPD, FDNY, EMS and other emergency officials will “work around the clock until this is over.”

OEM has issued a hazardous travel advisory for Friday, and is warning motorists to drive slowly, monitor weather and traffic, use major streets or highways, and have the name and number of at least one local towing service.

Temperatures will be blustery, with a high Friday of 17 and low around 8. Wind chill, however, could make the weather feel as cold as 10 below zero, de Blasio said.

Borough residents hit grocery stores and gas stations Thursday afternoon to prepare for the impending storm. People were piling into the Waldbaums on Francis Lewis Boulevard just “picking up extras,” but said “the crazies” would be sure to clear the shelves in the hours to come.

“I’m getting extras just in case,” said Anita Oberwiler, who anticipated frantic shoppers to come rushing through as the afternoon pressed on.

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST

Thursday: Cloudy. Light snow likely this afternoon. Temps nearly steady around 30. Winds NE at 15 to 25 mph. Chance of snow 40%. Thursday night: Periods of snow. Low 16. Winds NNE at 20 to 30 mph. Chance of snow 90%. 5 to 8 inches of snow expected.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Pop Americano!

From the creators of “Comedy Outliers” comes “Pop Americano!” a fun, interactive show where a panel of comedians breakdown current pop culture and political news. Propelled by it’s use of news clips, sound bites and a quick round of pop culture trivia, “Pop Americano” is a show you can’t miss! 10 p.m. at The Creek and the Cave in Long Island City. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Storm bringing near-blizzard conditions to NYC

The year is starting out with a shot of nasty weather that is predicted to bring near-blizzard conditions to the city. Read more: The Queens Courier

NYPD: Queens shooting is city’s first murder of 2014

A man shot to death in Jamaica Wednesday is the first homicide of the year, police said. Read more: The Queens Courier

De Blasio sworn in as 109th mayor of New York City

New York City’s 109th mayor, Bill de Blasio, was sworn in during a ceremony at his Park Slope, Brooklyn home just after midnight Wednesday, followed by a formal inauguration on the steps of City Hall later that day. Read more: The Queens Courier

Freed ailing ex-terror trial lawyer arrives in NYC

A dying former civil rights lawyer convicted in a terrorism case but released early from prison has arrived in New York City. Read more: AP

Three Rangers named to U.S. Olympic squad

The New York Rangers will be well-represented at the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, at least as far the U.S. Men’s Hockey team is concerned. Read more: ABC New York

 

 

City to get another round of snow


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

Get ready for some more snow.

For the third time in a week, another round of flakes will hit New York City.

The New York City Department of Sanitation has issued a “snow alert” starting at 4 a.m. Tuesday and will be deploying its snow fighting equipment as needed. Alternate side parking has been suspended Tuesday to facilitate with snow removal, but payment at parking meters remains in effect.

The New York City Office of Emergency Management has also  issued a “travel advisory” for tomorrow.

According to the National Weather Service (NWS), 2 to 4 inches of snow are expected Tuesday.

The flakes will start falling after 3 a.m., but could mix with rain before tapering off in the afternoon. The high tomorrow will be around 35.

Tuesday night the low will be around 24 with a chance of snow, mainly before 7 p.m.., according to the NWS.

 

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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


By Queens Courier Staff | 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


By Queens Courier Staff | 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


By Queens Courier Staff | 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.”