Posted by TRB on Wednesday October 31, 2012 - 9:05 am (4 years, 7 months ago)
By Columnist TRB - Rockaway, that NYC neighborhood just within the boundries of Queens. Breezy Point, those blocks of homes in Rockaway mostly populated by NYC cops and firefighters, was devistated the other night by a hurricane wind-inspired fire, a monster blaze that totally destroyed more than 100 homes as the owners watched helplessly from the street. Hundreds of journalists interviewed the desperate victims, collecting as much of the tragedy as they could for the nightly news. Most had lost everything, in some cases even their cars in the fire, believed to be one of the worst in New York City's history. Global warming meteorologists called Sandy a "Super Storm," and one could not argue its tremendous size - 1000 miles long and 1000 miles wide some measured. Traveling at 15 to 18 miles per hour with hurricane force winds it is still out there days after hitting Atlantic City - and coming from the East. Meteorologists described Sandy as a "Nor'easter with a hurricane wrapped around it. No one could remember seeing anything quite like it.
People from New York and New Jersey will tell you hurricanes don't come from the East; they come up the coast from down South. And Sandy was no different. The storm had a surprise though. Its route. It stayed at least 100 miles offshore right up until the time it moved on NYC. No one could remember seeing a storm behave like this, i.e., staying out to sea then suddenly executing an abrupt "left turn for the East Coast. (This occured because another weather system blocked Sandy's path - otherwise it probably would have just kept on going North and out to sea.)
Then it was anything but quick. Sandy lurked offshore for more than a day churning up the water, seemingly not completely allowing the tides to go in and out on a regular basis - pushing, always pushing water back inland.
It brought this water with it, tore up the boardwalk in Atlantic City, inundated the city and moved on to punch NYC right in the nose. Suddenly Battery Park was 11 feet underwater, the Lower East Side was flooded as the East River rose. The lights went out when the lower Manhattan power station blew up. The entire facade of a Lower East Side townhouse crumbled onto the sidewalk. The new World Trade Center flooded, The subways flooded.
People were stuck in elevators in hundreds of buildings and the fire department was busy freeing them and pulling parked cars out of the water. Roadways under bridges were flooded. It was decided to suspend Wall Street trading yesterday, the first time the weather has caused that in more than a century. Even today, Wall Street is working with the aid of electrical generators and computers located out-of-state. Many people living in street-level and basement apartments in lower Manhattan lost everything to water damage. Thousands of cars were ruined.
A rooftop crane broke in half and rocked back and forth 1000 feet up over the roadway. Down below people took photos. There were rooftop cranes on other buildings too, some of them even higher. It made you wonder. You couldn't help but ask why Mayor Micheal Bloomberg, considered a genius by many (probably too many) had not ordered contractors to take the cranes down before the storm arrived. A reporter asked Bloomberg this very question. The mayor replied that taking the cranes down and putting them back up would cost too much. This was obviously the businessman side of the mayor answering the question - not the genius.
Rooftop cranes have been bothering Manhattan residents for a long time. People argue that they need to perform more safety inspections on the cranes. But as usual contractors get what they want from City Hall. Just last year more than a dozen people were killed in accidents related to these cranes. Maybe the destruction of this crane by the hurricane will shine a brighter light on the use, misuse and neglect of rooftop cranes. And just maybe the mayor will order them removed for the next hurricane.
Sandy left 750,000 households without power just in Manhattan alone. There were nearly 10 million people without electric power on the East Coast and as far West as the Great Lakes. Sandy dropped two and a half feet of snow on West Virginia. The Super Storm carved a subtle new face on the profile of the East Coast, eating entire shorelines, swallowing homes.
It is estimated that the storm took 50 lives and that the damage it created will cost $50 billion or more.
It threw the Presidential election in the back seat for a few days. Its only favor.
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