A local resident noticed this letter from Con Ed hanging at Village East Towers on East 10th Street. It reads:
Dear steam customer,
We understand that this has been a challenging time for all of our customers, and we sincerely apologize for any inconvenience these outages have caused. Please be assured that our employees have been working around the clock to restore steam service. Unfortunately due to storm damage there is limited steam generation capacity at this time. With a cold front expected on Monday and Tuesday… we do not have enough capacity to meet our forecasted demand. Therefore, we are not able to restore any additional customers until more of our steam production units are brought online. We are working to bring additional steam supply into service so we can restore all of our customers. Once the system is capable of handling additional load we will begin restoring customers. We will work to return all customers to service as quickly and safely as possible, and a full system restoration is expected by November 11, 2012. Thank you for your patience and support.
Charles Veimeister, Steam Business Development
The Forward Building. Alan Hochman, Collection of the Lower East Side Tenement Museum.
Editor’s note: Just as New Yorkers try to shake off the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy, the city shifts its attention to today’s presidential election. While most of us will be glued to the television or to our handheld digital device tonight, waiting to see whether Barack Obama or Mitt Romney will be our next president, it’s worth recalling the way Election Day used to play out on the Lower East Side. Writer and filmmaker Laurie Gwen Shapiro takes us back to the year 1912:
At the start of October, my lifelong political junkie father and I were anxiously weighing Obama’s chances en route to Café Petisco on East Broadway. I was keeping pace alongside his moving electric scooter when Dad curiously slowed to a halt in front of The Forward Building, former headquarters of the once powerful Yiddish newspaper, and more recently the site of luxurious condos owned by the likes of Tatum O’Neal.
“I bet you didn’t know how the Lower East Side got our election results before TV? Before the internet? On the Forwartz building. They projected the results on the side of the building. On a giant white screen. You can’t believe what a big deal it was.”
I am a New York City history junkie, and pressed Dad for details, right in the middle of the street.
“Ah, I don’t know anything. Let’s eat lunch, I’m not a historian.”
It wasn’t a pretty sight inside the Central Parking garage at 227 Cherry Street in the hours after Hurricane Sandy came ashore. More than 50 cars were swamped by flood waters that rushed across South Street and turned the facility, located below the Pathmark store, into a lake. Today the owners of those cars have still not been allowed inside to inspect the damage.
This morning we spoke with Melissa Nguyen, who has been helping to organize more than two dozen of the owners to get some answers from Central Parking about events that led up to the flood. According to Nguyen, the company ordered the garage locked at 4 p.m. Sunday. Some people, herself included, were at work or unable to remove their cars in the afternoon for other reasons. She said Central Parking was incredibly unsympathetic and inflexible about their predicament. In the aftermath of the storm, car owners have not been granted access to the facility for the purpose of filing insurance claims. The group is now exploring legal options.
Taylor 2 will present a free performance at Abrons Arts Center this weekend. Photo by Tom Caravaglia.
It’s been a terrible week for New York with Hurricane Sandy barreling through, leaving so much destruction. For some of us in the L.E.S. lucky enough to have only lost power and water, it all seems like a time warp—a mere, yet strange, interruption in our everyday lives. But many of our neighbors and friends lost their homes—some even loved ones, and for them the recovery continues. As I write this, thousands of people in the LES are still without heat or hot water. A lot of us have been helping out, volunteering to assist the elderly and the less fortunate. (Follow the Lo-Down for updates!)
As far as the arts downtown, everything below 34th Street was closed last week. You may have read about flooding in some of the Chelsea galleries in the NY Times. In our hood alone, the New Museum, the Museum at Eldridge Street and the Tenement Museum were shuttered. Abrons Arts Center, La Mama, Drom, The Public and Dixon Place, to name a few theater spaces, were dark and are just now slowly re-opening. Fortunately, my Arts Watch pick for last week (which wasn’t posted due to the hurricane), Yvonne Rainer and Group at Danspace Project, has been rescheduled for January 24, 25, and 26, 2013.
Rutgers Street near South Street.
Here’s our Monday morning status report on the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy on the Lower East Side and a rundown of resources available as New Yorkers recover from the devastating storm. We already reported the latest on Con Ed’s efforts to restore steam-powered heat and hot water to thousands of apartments downtown. School is back in session today (without heat in many locations), the F train is finally running again and most businesses and non-profit organizations have reopened.
- Even as the massive recovery effort continues, city officials are refocusing their energies on running a smooth Election Day tomorrow. Lots of polling locations have moved due to Sandy but there’s only one LES change. The polling location at Bard High School (525 East Houston) has been shifted to P.S. 188 at 442 East Houston. To check your polling station, click here.
- Anyone still in need of food, blankets or water can go to the distribution site at the Hamilton Fish Rec Center (Pitt & East Houston) today from noon-4 p.m.
- Volunteers: most local organizations are now re-routing volunteers and donations to harder hit communities like the Rockaways and Staten Island. Click here for a list of volunteer opportunities. Donations are still being accepted by GOLES at the 6th Street Community Center, 638 East 6th Street (until 6 p.m.)
Grand Street, last night. Photo by Roey Ahram.Here’s the latest this morning from Con Ed on the restoration of steam below 14th Street.
Here’s the text of a notice going out to around 550 Con Edison customers (many of which are large residential buildings on the LES):
We are working hard to restore all of our steam customers and expect to have additional steam supply capacity available starting Monday morning. We will be restoring customers starting Monday, and expect to have the full system restored by November 11. Customers will be brought onto the system as additional generation capacity becomes available. We will contact you to coordinate steam service restoration. We urge you to limit your use to reduce further strain on the system and prevent more interruptions.
Local resident Roey Ahram got some photos last night showing Con Ed crews at work on Grand Street. They told him they were “turning on the steam.” At least one manager of a large residential complex, Frank Durant of the Seward Park Co-op, said he expected a lag time between the steam actually coming on and heat and hot water being restored. There were some hopes it could happen as soon as last night, but (at least at Seward Park) residents are still waiting.
A Con Ed crew works last night on Grand Street. Photo by Roey Ahram.
This morning thousands of downtown residents are still without heat and hot water as the temperatures hover in the 30’s and a nor’easter threatens to hit the region by mid-week. It’s 39 and cloudy now; we’re expecting sunny skies by afternoon and a high of 48. Coming up: a complete update on hurricane recovery efforts, including the latest on Con Ed’s timetable for restoring steam on the Lower East Side.