Archive for the tag 'sandy'

(Source: Sheepshead Bay’s Randazzo’s after the flood)

New York City, New York State and New Jersey may have to compete for more than $1 billion in promised Superstorm Sandy relief that the federal government is now looking to redirect to victims of other natural disasters.

The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is considering sending off $1 billion of an as-yet unspent $3.5 billion in Sandy relief funds to other parts of the country that are dealing with their own natural disasters. This decision could leave New York City short of funds at a time when there is a renewed effort by local politicians to pick up the pace on programs like Build it Back, potentially throttling the program just as it’s poised to hit its stride.

When Superstorm Sandy hit, Congress set aside about $60 billion in 2013 for Sandy aid. More than $15 billion went to HUD for distribution on the local level to help relief efforts and get people back in their homes. Since then, about $10.5 billion has been spent, leaving $3.6 billion still available, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The Journal reports:

HUD officials recently briefed members of Congress on a proposal that would create a national resiliency competition to more widely distribute about $1 billion to $2 billion of the remaining Sandy aid to areas that have recently suffered disasters. It would be the first time HUD held a national competition for federal disaster money. The contest would reward projects that make communities more resilient against future disasters, according to people familiar with the plans.

Senator Charles Schumer said yesterday that he will fight any attempt to take money away from the region’s aid relief.

“We will fight to ensure that every one of New York’s needs are met before a national competition sends a single Sandy relief dollar elsewhere,” Schumer said via Bloomberg News.

And Schumer isn’t the only one who said that he will fight this possibility. Bloomberg News writes:

Representative Michael Grimm, a New York Republican whose district includes Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn, has been in “constant contact” with Donovan [the Secretary of HUD] to stress his district’s needs, said Nick Iacono, a spokesman for the lawmaker.

Grimm and other Congressional representatives sent a letter yesterday to HUD’s Secretary Shaun Donovan asking for more information about the proposed reallocation, The Journal reported yesterday.

The letter to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan was signed by 13 members of the House of Representatives. They expressed “concern with the lack of consultation and briefing between HUD and members of the House and their staff on this issue.”

The announcement comes at a time when city officials are paying renewed attention to relief efforts. Initiatives like the Build it Back program, which had been in a lull until recently, have become the center of attention. The program is partially funded by HUD money and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has recently announced intentions to repair the homes of all those who qualify, rather than just the financially neediest applicants – greatly increasing the estimated cost of the program.

The Journal reports:

In the city, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration has set an ambitious goal of getting 500 Sandy-damaged homes rebuilt by the end of the summer; currently only nine homes have started construction. City officials have said they need $1 billion in additional federal money for the Sandy recovery, and even more to complete a city resiliency plan.

“We’re working closely with HUD and our federal partners to ensure that we have the resources to fully recover and rebuild. It’s vital that funds get to the NYC homeowners and public housing residents who need them,” a city spokeswoman said in an email.

De Blasio has criticized HUD’s decision. “The legislation was passed to serve the needs of people in New York and New Jersey who were devastated by Sandy. And it was about both getting people back on their feet and providing the resiliency we need for the future,” de Blasio said via the Daily News.

The feds, however, expressed puzzlement at the reaction, saying that the bill authorizing the $60 billion aide package explicitly stated that a portion of the funds could be redirected to other disaster zones, and that the Sandy region should never have relied so heavily on the third and final round of funding. The Journal notes:

Federal officials said the city and states have overestimated their remaining needs. They said local representatives shouldn’t have expected the third round of funding to provide a significant infusion of new funds based on how the $60 billion Hurricane Sandy Relief Bill passed in 2013 was written.

In the three years covered by the Sandy aid bill, 208 major disasters have been declared by the federal government. A person familiar with the proposal said 48 states would be eligible for the national competition, along with Puerto Rico, District of Columbia and 18 other areas including New York City and Joplin, Mo., which was hit by a tornado in May 2011.

A portion of the third round of funding would also likely go to Rebuild by Design, a regional resiliency competition that HUD launched with much fanfare. Secretary Shaun Donovan, a former New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development commissioner, is said to have been inspired by his work under Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who had a propensity for holding competitions to generate excitement around government work.

The next meeting of the Manhattan Beach Community Group (MBCG) will be Wednesday, April 23 at 8:00 p.m. inside Public School 195, 131 Irwin Street at Hampton Avenue.

Guest speaker, State Senator Marty Golden, will discuss and answer your questions on topics including:

  • How does the New York State budget affect you?
  • Will your property taxes go up?
  • What is New York State doing to make sure your home is not flooded again?
  • Is the legislature allocating more funds for Sandy-damaged communities?

The MBCG encourages members of the community to attend and participate in their monthly civic meetings. For more, contact MBCG at (718) 200-1845 or manhattanbeachbrooklyn.org@gmail.com, or visit www.manhattanbeachbrooklyn.org.

THE BITE: It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is tomorrow. This has been one tough year and I’m having a hard time coming up with things to be thankful for. As I reflect on all I’ve faced this year, an interesting conundrum has arisen. With all the crisis I faced – hell, we all faced – this year, yet lived through, is there really a reason to be thankful? It all depends on how you look at it.

Which brings me to this week’s Bite. One of the results of Sandy’s visit was the lack of food available in the neighborhood during and immediately after the hurricane. Some homes and businesses were wiped out and had to rely on the kindness of strangers for their daily meal. In some cases that kindness came in the form of a “Meal Ready to Eat,” or MRE, courtesy of the federal government. 

Keep reading to see what this is all about. It ain’t pretty.

One of the bay’s bungalow communities. Source: Brooklyn Ski Club

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy’s devastation, we’ve all seen the images reflecting the fear of widespread chaos and looting. Luckily, according to NYPD data released in a New York Daily News report, the level of major crime post-Sandy has been down, and looting, the crime most feared during a week of recovery, has only shown a minor uptick.

The encouraging numbers reflect the smart decision the NYPD made in deploying its units in preparation for dealing with the storm’s aftermath. A police source told Sheepshead Bites that approximately 125 additional police officers were dispatched to our area in the days following the storm. The main objective of the expanded police presence was to prevent looting by keeping a high profile. They were mostly dispatched to hard hit residential areas such as Gerritsen Beach and Manhattan Beach, as well as Emmons Avenue, but high police visibility was the goal throughout all of Zone A.

The efforts to combat the potential crime and looting seems to have paid off according to the crime report. Grand larceny was down 48 percent, robberies were down 30 percent, and felony assaults were down 31 percent. The only area of crime that saw a minor increase was burglary, as it rose three percent compared to the same week last year.

“The fact that burglaries are up is not surprising,” NYPD Spokesperson Paul Browne told The Daily News. “There are a lot of unlit areas.”

This minor increase in burglary aside, Browne added that the crime and looting rate during the post-Sandy recovery week doesn’t even compare to previous blackouts New York City suffered in the past.

From Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz’ Facebook page:

I will be co-sponsoring a FEMA Application Assistance Training at the Kings Bay YM-YWHA, 3495 Nostrand Avenue between Avenues U and V. Volunteers from the Kings Bay Y, Kings Bay Y at Windsor Terrace and Congregation Beth Elohim in Park Slope will be learning how to assist victims of Hurricane Sandy with filling out FEMA applications and guiding members of the community who have been affected. We’re all uniting to help our neighbors move forward.

The FEMA Application Assistance Training will be held in less than an hour from now at 1:00 p.m. If you need assistance with filling out FEMA applications due to destruction of property from Sandy, the Kings Bay Y is the place to be.

For further information, call (718) 648-7703 or email info@kingsbayy.org.

The Mayor’s Office has put out a general summation of what’s closed, what’s blocked and what’s delayed. It’s a mess out there folks. Your best bet, stay home.

From NYC.gov

NYC Weathering Sandy – Stay Inside
The City is closely monitoring Sandy, which is bringing dangerous storm surge and high winds to New York City Monday night and Tuesday. For the latest Sandy forecasts, visit the National Weather Service or the Hydrometeorological Prediction Center.

At this time, all NYC residents should stay inside, avoid using elevators, and stay away from windows.

Electricity

Con Edison has reported power outages to a large section of Manhattan stretching from East 39th Street to the lower tip of Manhattan. The outage was caused by flooding in company substations and engineers are working to correct the problem.

Con Edison said approximately 250,000 customers in Manhattan are without power.

Con Edison has begun the process of shutting off electrical service to a portion of Lower Manhattan, a move that will protect both company and customer equipment, and allow for quicker restoration after Sandy passes.

Customers can report downed power lines, outages, and check service restoration status by computer or mobile device at www.conEd.com. They also can call 1-800-75-CONED ( 1-800-752-6633).

Transit/Transportation

Alternate Side Parking regulations (street cleaning) will be suspended citywide on Tuesday, 10/30. Payment at parking meters is also suspended throughout the city on Tuesday, 10/30.

The MTA has shut down all subway, bus, and commuter railroad service and likely will remain closed throughout Tuesday. For more information, visit the MTA website.

The Staten Island Ferry service is suspended until further notice.

East River Ferry service is suspended. Learn more.

NJ Transit has implemented a gradual system-wide shutdown of all bus, rail, light rail, and Access Link service. Learn more.

All PATH train service and stations have shut down. Learn more.

Amtrak has canceled Northeast Corridor service north of NYC, and nearly all service on the eastern seaboard, including

Acela Express Northeast Regional, Keystone and Shuttle trains. Learn more.

The Holland and Hugh Carey (formerly Brooklyn-Battery) Tunnels are closed. Learn more.

The Tappan Zee Bridge is closed.

FDR Drive from Battery to 155th Street is closed.

The George Washington, Verrazano-Narrows, Throgs Neck, Whitestone, and Henry Hudson Bridges are closed.

The East River Bridges – the Brooklyn, Manhattan, Williamsburg, and Ed Koch-Queensboro bridge – have closed. After 7 pm, only emergency vehicles will be permitted on those bridges.

Schools/Colleges

All NYC public schools will be closed to students Tuesday, 10/30. For more information, visit the Department of Education website.

All City University of New York (CUNY) Colleges are officially closed Tuesday, 10/30, and all classes are cancelled. For more info, visit CUNY.edu.

Miscellaneous

In preparation for Sandy, City parks, playgrounds, and beaches are closed. Surfing is prohibited at all beaches throughout the course of the storm. Learn more via the Parks website.

This is a breaking news story and may contain inaccuracies. We will update it as more information becomes available. If anyone has more information or additional photos, please send them to tips (at) sheepsheadbites (dot) com.

Photo by Rovshan Danilov

Sheepshead Bay Road and Voorhies Avenue.

Do you have photos of Hurricane Sandy’s aftermath? Send your pictures to tips@sheepsheadbites.com

The Worst Is Over


Well, folks, we survived. It’s a bit past midnight and from what we can see, the waters are beginning to recede, power is coming back slowly and the long clean up is beginning. Hell, Jay Leno is back on the air.

But, we’re not done yet. The water level of the ocean and bay is still higher than normal and the winds are still gusting. Tomorrow morning will bring a new high tide and another surge.

Thank you for all your tips and photographs. We’ll be putting together more posts full of your photos in the coming days. While we love getting information from your vantage points, please don’t endanger yourself to get us tips. Use your head when taking photographs. Don’t enter any standing water. Stay away from downed wires. The winds may be gone, but the danger is still there. Stay safe.

Stay home if you can and keep reading Sheepshead Bites for the latest news on Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath.

BREAKING NEWS: 10:21 PM This just over the radio – report of main building of Coney Island Hospital is on fire. Units are trying to respond but are reporting that streets surrounding the hospital are flooded and un-passable.

EDIT: 10:31 PM. FDNY is reporting that Coney Island Hosptial is surrounded by “three to four feet of water.”

EDIT: 10:33 PM. Reader James W is reporting that “Ocean Parkway from Ave W south as far as I can see, is flooded. There is a huge emergency response.”

EDIT: 10:41 PM. FDNY is reporting that they are unable to access Coney Island Hospital at this time. Dispatch responded with “no boats available.”

EDIT: 10:50 PM. Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny is reporting on Facebook, that the fire is currently unconfirmed.

EDIT: 11:20 PM. The FDNY has just tweeted “units are on scene at Coney Island Hospital. No confirmed fire or reports of injuries at this time.”

EDIT: 11:43 PM. Reader Lisa P writes in, “spoke with a friend working there tonight. It was a car fire outside and they put it out with fire extinguishers. They are w/o power and working off generators.” Reader Jennifer R writes, “I was worried to death for my mom, i just called her and they actually had signal. Apparently the power went out and the fire is from an outside car and NOT from inside of the building, thank you for scaring me.”

Sorry for the scare Jennifer.

This is a breaking news story and may contain inaccuracies. We will update it as more information becomes available. If anyone has more information or additional photos, please send them to tips (at) sheepsheadbites (dot) com.

BREAKING NEWS: A fire has just been upgraded to a “2 alarm” at 2800 East 29th Street. FDNY response is being hampered by flooded streets.

This is a breaking news story and may contain inaccuracies. We will update it as more information becomes available. If anyone has more information or additional photos, please send them to tips (at) sheepsheadbites (dot) com.