New York City's Mayor Michael Bloomberg addressed the press 11:00 a.m. (see full video here), outlining key points for New Yorkers to deal with during the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. The mayor warned, “the worst of the storm has passed but conditions are still dangerous.” Getting the power grid and public transit repaired were listed as a top priority, as were lifesaving operations — putting out fires, restoring power to hospitals and nursing homes, and search and rescue efforts. Bloomberg implored New Yorkers on behalf of the safety of first responders to stay away from parks and beaches.
“I know it’s fun to challenge nature” he said, but “nature proved more powerful than we are.”
Transit and Power:
Subways and airports remain closed. The mayor estimated it would be at least “three to four days until ConEd and the subways are running,” however, he also noted that it could take up to five days before the systems are fully operational.
An executive order was issued authorizing cabs to pick up multiple passengers even if people are already in the car. Livery and black cars with TLC licenses are also authorized to pick up customers anywhere in the city. A subsequent press conference by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that bus service will begin at 5:00 p.m. and will be running on a Sunday limited schedule. No fares will be charged for buses today or tomorrow.
Mayor Cuomo announced that all bridges are now open except those in the Rockaways, but citizens are urged to stay off the road if possible.
School and Office Closings:
Schools will remain closed today as well as Wednesday. Many federal offices are still closed however HRA centers are open for anyone seeking replacement food stamp vouchers. The mayor instructed that only those who can safely travel to work should do so. Wall Street remains shut down.
Bloomberg urged citizens to use 911 only for “life threatening emergencies, not trees,” in order to not overload the system. To report downed trees or branches send a text to 311. The city is currently dealing with 4,000 tree service requests, mostly in the Queens area. The damaged crane on West 57th street is currently stable, however the street will not reopen until after winds die down and the boom can be firmly secured.