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Hurricane Update: MTA Stops at Noon, Evacuation in Zone A

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Workers are busy loading in supplies for a Hurricane Irene shelter at Seward Park High School on Grand Street this afternoon.

 As Hurricane Irene approaches the North Carolina coast this afternoon, New Yorkers are scrambling for provisions and pasting duct tape on windows. At Seward Park High School, workers unloaded pallets of water, baby supplies and other emergency provisions from large trucks, in preparation for the hurricane’s arrival in the Big Apple tomorrow evening. The Grand Street school is one of 91 sites being put to use as shelters as of 4 p.m. today, in the wake of Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s evacuation order for residents of all “Zone A” low-lying areas, including those along the East River in the Lower East Side. In the excerpt of the zoned flood map below, Zone A is defined by the dark gold color; a full map of all five boroughs is online here (PDF). See our story here for more details.

Bloomberg also announced this afternoon that all MTA buses, subways and railroads would begin shutting down as of noon tomorrow, as city officials move vehicles to safe storage. Bloomberg advised that the system may not be back up to full capacity in time for Monday’s morning rush hour, and cautioned employers to monitor its status. On the motorist front, alternate side parking rules and meters will be suspended Sunday and Monday.

In other storm-related Lower East Side developments this afternoon:

  • The East River Ferry is suspending service for the weekend.
  • Local restaurants have begun announcing closures for tomorrow and Sunday, so if you have plans to dine out, call ahead to ensure your destination is open. So far, closures for the weekend include: The Doughnut Plant, Stellina, Sorella, Freeman’s, Peels and Cocoron.
  • The Educational Alliance at 197 E. Broadway, the New Museum and the South Street Seaport will all be closed tomorrow and Sunday.
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