Sandy Destroys Around Two Dozen Trees in Corlears Hook & East River Parks

Hurricane Sandy destroyed hundreds of trees in parks across New York City.  The other day we posted a few photos from Corlears Hook Park, across from the East River Park bandshell.  Today we got the chance to survey the damage first-hand.  About a dozen trees toppled, many being completely uprooted.  Today the park remained closed. Almost all of the pathways are blocked by tree trunks, branches and other debris. The dog run is also off limits. See our series of photos after the jump:

Also Open For Dinner Tonight: Yunnan Kitchen, Alias & Clinton Street Baking Co.

Yunnan Kitchen.

Our friends at Yunnan Kitchen are excited to be back open as of noon today. They write: We will be open this weekend! We will have a special LUNCH service for this weekend only- starting Saturday at 12PM and will stay open through dinner til 9PM. We plan to resume normal business hours next week. Please stop by for a comforting bowl of fried rice.

Also opening back up this evening: Alias, on Clinton Street, with a limited “post-Sandy menu,” beginning at 6pm, and the Clinton Street Baking Company will be back to serving pancakes and burgers.

Corlears Hook Park Devastation

The scene in Corlears Hook Park is pretty devastating. About a dozen trees destroyed from one end if the park to the other. We will be posting a series of photos in a little while.
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Another View of East River Park Damage

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Trees Uprooted in East River Park

A sad scene in East River Park. Many trees have been uprooted and toppled.
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Stories From Sandy: Notes From the East River Co-op

A charging station in the community room at the Seward Park Co-op, much like the one in the East River Co-op. Photo by thelodownny.com.

Editor’s Note: This story is from writer and filmmaker Laurie Gwen Shapiro, who lives in the East River Housing Co-op on FDR Drive.  If you have a story about how you got through Hurricane Sandy on the LES, share it with us at: info@thelodownny.com.

The name goes clunkily off the tongue: “East River Housing M Section Community Room.”  And until last week, not only was the name un-beautiful, it was a misnomer — because it was mostly unused by residents. Then came Sandy.

At first, I didn’t believe the rumor of a generator-lit room on Grand Street.

My family lives in the apartment building I grew up in, the East River Housing Co-op building closest to the Williamsburg Bridge. I have never made it past the flying monkeys part of The Wizard of Oz, let alone taken the stairwell down 21 flights, solo, even in the light.

A little Facebook indulgence allowed me to read of the possible promised land. “I hear you can even charge your phone!” posted a stranded neighbor in Hillman Housing two blocks away. “And read a book! Can someone check it out and post if true? ”

With the cell reception weak, even five minutes of virtual contact meant one bar of power left. My husband was not available to be my stair escort because he was sound asleep with battery-operated radio headphones on his ears. I took pity on him as I shut the radio off to conserve the precious batteries for news updates. A nap is an excellent way to pass time in a blackout.

Around eight in the evening, my disabled father heard from one of his concerned sisters. After a long reassuring talk with her that all would be okay, he called out that his phone was now dead too. A charged phone was needed, especially with my daughter sleeping uptown at a friend’s. I had promised my child that when I shipped her off to the electrified Upper East Side, I would call every night at 9:30 until the crisis was over. She understood we could not leave and desert Grandpa, but the phone call was imperative to her.

Pathmark Open On a Limited Basis

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Pathmark on Cherry Street is open but customers are only being let in in small groups. There is no refrigerated food. We understand the building suffered some damage in the storm. This store, of course, is slated for closure by the end of the year.

FEMA Meets With Local Elected Officials

The following info is in from Council member Margaret Chin: She and State Sen. Dan Squadron met with FEMA officials this morning. They’re figuring out where federal aid sites will be established on the LES. Elected officials want to make sure both small businesses and residents get the financial assistance they need to get back on their feet. Chin said its not enough for the government to offer loans. Businesses, she said, need grant money to pay for repairs and recoup losses. Federal legislation is being drafted to aid NYC. Chin said she and her colleagues in government will be working to make sure Lower Manhattan gets its fair share.

After Sandy: Madison Street

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There are a lot of volunteers standing by at 200 Madison Street, the Rutgers Houses community center. They are no longer handing out meals at this location. But volunteers are delivering food to home bound residents in nearby buildings.

Tenement Museum Open For Tours Today

Our friends at the Tenement Museum are offering tours on a limited schedule today.   They write: Free Tenement Museum tours today, Saturday, November 3, for Lower East Side residents:  We’ve been through a lot together over the last several days. As you work to return your lives and your homes to normal, please feel welcome at our home, the Tenement Museum if you’ve got time to spare this afternoon. We’ll be offering tours today from 1- 6 p.m.

After Sandy: Hester Street

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At CAAAV‘s office on Hester Street lots of people are showing up with donations. They’re now re-routing food and blankets to other harder hit areas such as Red Hook and the Rockaways. Volunteers here are still checking on seniors, especially in walk up buildings.

After Sandy: Grand Street

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National Guard troops unload water at Grand and Clinton streets. Another big line here for food and water.

After Sandy: East Houston Street

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The line for food at the Hamilton Fish Rec Center stretches for two blocks at East Houston and Pitt.

After Sandy: Henry Street Settlement’s Distribution Center

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Here’s the food distribution site at the Henry Street Settlement HQ, 265 Henry Street. It’s open until 3pm. No more volunteers needed at this location.

Hurricane Recovery Help For Small Businesses

From Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer’s web site:

As New York City begins its recovery from Hurricane Sandy, business owners face daunting challenges. They need to know what programs are available to help them recover from the effects of the storm.

Here are some key sources of assistance that are coordinated by the New York City Department of Small Business Services and the New York City Economic Development Corporation:

  1. For small to mid-sized businesses that are facing business interruption, NYC Business Emergency Loans will be available, with loans capped at $10,000. For information, click on this link or call 311.
  2. For businesses facing displacement, the City is making short-term “swing” office space available at the Brooklyn Army Terminal, free of charge for 30 days. EDC has about 40,000 square feet of space at the Terminal that is now available for this use. Learn more.
  3. For businesses requiring other emergency assistance the SBS Business Outreach Team and Emergency Response Unit is available to help impacted small businesses. Learn more.
  4. For mid-to-large-sized businesses that need to undertake rebuilding, an emergency sales tax letter from New York City Industrial Development Authority (IDA) is available to allow businesses to avoid payment of New York City and New York State sales taxes on materials purchased for rebuilding. Please contact Shin Mitsugi at smitsugi@nycedc.com for information.

In addition, the following Federal Aid Programs for State of New York Disaster Recovery are available:

  1. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides loans for business property losses not fully compensated by insurance, and for small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives and most private, non-profit organizations of all sizes that have suffered disaster-related cash flow problems and need funds for working capital to recover from the disaster. To learn more contact the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at www.disasterassistance.gov or by calling (800) 621-3362.
  2. In addition, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) provides loans to individuals, families and businesses in an area whose property has been damaged or destroyed following a Presidential-declared disaster (such as Hurricane Sandy), and whose losses are not covered by insurance. To learn more, contact the SBA’s Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center by calling (800) 659-2955.

Further information about these programs and others is available in Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s Guide to Disaster Assistance and Relief Funding and Senator Charles Schumer’s Hurricane Sandy recovery website.