Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Jersey City Under Lockdown


After 24 people were arrested last night on charges of breaking into stores, Jersey City has imposed a city-wide curfew on pedestrians and all businesses overnight, officials said today.

"We have to provide for the welfare and safety of all our residents" during the recovery from Hurricane Sandy, Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy said. "This limitation will assist us in achieving this goal."

Pedestrians must be off the streets in all areas of the city from 7 p.m. tonight until 7 a.m. tomorrow, Jersey City spokesman Stan Eason said. All businesses in the city must be closed during that period, Eason said.

Originally, businesses with power were allowed to operate during their normal hours. Under the new curfew policy being implemented tonight, "all" businesses must be closed without exception, Eason said.

As much as 75 percent of the city has been without power since Monday. PSE&G officials said that power is expected to be fully restored by Monday, Nov. 5.

An update tonight said 65% of the city is without power - so 10% have gotten their power back.

The city is still really dark.

It's eerie out there.

The lone open Starbuck's closed for the curfew.

Shop Rite closed.

It's a lockdown.

Feels a little like Mad Max.

But on the third night without power and water, I get it.

We'll see how long the power holds here. 

But I want to repeat, I am eminently grateful for all that I have tonight.

Power In And Out

The power is in and out where I am. 

Most of the city seems to still be without power, although down by Exchange Place and around Grove seems to mostly have power. 

Beyond that, there's a lot of darkness for a third night in a row.

I'm grateful, even for intermittent power that may go out again at any time. 

We went out for pizza tonight in Paulus Hook and you almost could believe nothing had happened the other night. 

But talking to people in the restaurant, a lot of people are still without power, even in downtown JC.

They, like we, were grateful for hot pizza and a place to go and watch the news.

We saw some sad things on the way to the restaurant.

A little ice cream place that got flooded out last year during Irene sustained major damage once again this time around.

It breaks my heart to see that.

Meanwhile Goldman Sachs looks impervious over on the JC waterfront, all powered up and sandbagged.

It's the kind of thing that happens.

200 schools were damaged during Hurricane Sandy but somehow Tweed and City Hall remained unscathed.

No wonder Walcott and Bloomberg are bringing teachers in for a Friday PD session.

From where they are, things look rosy.

From where I am, they don't look so rosy.

I see a lot of destruction around here and I'm reading some heartbreaking stories about destruction elsewhere.

Seems like the least they could do is let people try and get their lives together before bringing them in for some Common Core work.

That would taken common decency, though, and that's something that Bloomberg and Walcott are both lacking.

Bloomberg Says School Is Open For Teachers On Friday

Gotham Schools is reporting that school will be closed for both students and teachers tomorrow but will be open on Friday for teachers:

Schools will remain closed for students for the rest of the week following Hurricane Sandy, Mayor Bloomberg announced this afternoon.

But he said the city is asking teachers and school staff to report to schools on Friday.


Bloomberg said the Friday teacher workday would allow teachers and school staff to prepare for students’ return after an interruption of unprecedented length.

In a press release, Walcott said the department would “provide more information to our staff, including those who may be required to report to a site other than their school.”

How many will make it in?

I have to come from Jersey.

The PATH isn't running.

I have no water and the electricity has been in and out all day.

My school in Manhattan is without power.

Much of Long Island is still without power.

Petulant little man can't bear to see people off with pay so he's going to force people to come in even though there are no students, many schools are still without power and transit is limited.

And you know he'll wind up adding five additional school days at the end because students missed five days.

Will the UFT do anything about this?

Will Bloomberg Open Schools Thursday? SECOND UPDATE

Much of downtown remains without power.

Trains will not be running below 42nd Street on Thursday.

Traffic was gridlocked in Manhattan today as people tried to get around.

The PATH trains are still down.

NJ Transit and the LIRR have limited schedules for tomorrow.

A second hospital just had to be evacuated because of power loss.  First NYU Medical was evacuated, now Bellevue is being evacuated.  ABC News reports Bellevue is actually "Katrina-esque".

Things are not so good out there.

People not dealing with the power outages, the water outages or the destruction aftermath may not realize how dicey things still are in many places.

Given all of this, can Bloomberg open schools tomorrow.?

You know he wants to.

But can he?

He'll add a week of school at the end anyway, and really, given how bad things are, he should call school for at least Thursday and probably Friday as well.

Monday sounds like the day when most things will be back up and running as close to normal as is possible after the Hudson and East Rivers and Atlantic Ocean destroyed tons of New York City infrastructure (as well as homes and possessions.)

But just because something is common sense and even the right thing to do, that doesn't mean Mike Bloomberg, billionaire extraordinaire, will heed that call.

Mike makes his own calls and when you have two SUV's ever gassed up and idling wherever you go, you don't really think too much about how people are going to get somewhere.

I won't hazard a guess as to whether school is opened tomorrow but if it is, I wonder how I make it from where I live.

I can swim, but the Hudson is pretty treacherous and I bet there's a lot of spilled sewage in their right now.

There's always the Goldman Sachs ferry from Paulus Hook to midtown, but that'll cost me 16 bucks and I'll still have to walk a mile after that.

Better than swimming though.

I guess that's just what I'll have to do if he makes the open call.

Dunno how we'll open since our school still has no power and many students come to school from Brooklyn via the subway, which won't be running that way except for the lines that go over the Manhattan Bridge (if those lines actually run.)

I guess we'll just have to see what the Mayor of Money does.

It doesn't make sense to open schools tomorrow.

But as I noted above, common sense and Mike Bloomberg do not meet very often.

Remember, he said last week that schools would be opened on Monday during the storm even if the MTA was shut down.

That's the kind of nonsensical and insane thinking you get out of the Little Mayor.

UPDATE: No train service from Brooklyn at all - just bus shuttle service. 

SECOND UPDATE: - Missed this earlier, from Gotham Schools:
Schools will remain closed for students for the rest of the week following Hurricane Sandy, Mayor Bloomberg announced this afternoon.

But he said the city is asking teachers and school staff to report to schools on Friday.

Chancellor Dennis Walcott, who appeared with Bloomberg at the afternoon press conference, said 200 of the city’s 1,400 school buildings had suffered some damage because of the storm. Most of the damage was minor, Bloomberg said, but other schools were hit harder.

“There’s an awful lot of schools that have received damage or don’t have power,” Bloomberg said. He added, “Hopefully by Monday everything will be back perfect.”

The 200 damaged schools are currently “not operational,” according to Erin Hughes, a Department of Education spokeswoman. Eighty-six schools currently do not have power, she said.

Bloomberg said the Friday teacher workday would allow teachers and school staff to prepare for students’ return after an interruption of unprecedented length.

In a press release, Walcott said the department would “provide more information to our staff, including those who may be required to report to a site other than their school.”

 So no students, but teachers on Friday for PD.

Chris Christie

As you may know, I am not a fan of Chris Christie.

I was critical of his handling of the Boxer Day Blizzard in 2010 when he took a vacation to Disney World with his family.

I have been critical of his handling of schools and education policy and a host of other things.

I think he can be boorish and insulting, thin-skinned and a bully.

That said, I think he has handled the Hurricane Sandy disaster extremely well (though criticism of his handling is coming from some quarters- including The Guardian and Slate.)

Yes, he's still his blustery, charming self, ripping the mayor of Atlantic City for ignoring a mandatory evacuation order from the state and allowing people to stay on a barrier island during the storm or telling people who are stuck in areas that were under mandatory evacuation orders that he wouldn't put first responders' lives at risk to save them.

But you know what?

He's fucking right about that.

I took this storm very seriously before hand, loading up on water and supplies, getting ready for the potential of 7-10 days without water and electricity and I live in Flood Zone B.

But a lot of people around me didn't do that.

Some didn't know a storm was coming.

Some decided the only provisions they needed for the coming storm was a case of vodka, tonic water and candles.

Nothing like drunk people wandering carpeted hallways in the dark with candles in a building where the staff has been telling people to unplug the smoke detectors because the carbon monoxide alarms are going off because of a system overload.

And that's the kind of stupid shit you saw happening in places like Atlantic City.

There was one video making the rounds of a bunch of college aged guys jumping in their bathing suits into a puddle of water as a TV reporter was doing a live update.

The storm was just about a couple of hours from landfall - at Atlantic City!

Listen, I wasn't on the Jersey Shore, so I dunno how many people stayed or were prepared for the storm.

But Christie was right to ream the Atlantic City mayor for letting people stay on a barrier island after a mandatory evacuation order and Christie was right to warn people "Before you do anything - if it seems stupid, it probably is stupid."

Jason Farrago read that as bluster in his piece about Mayor Bloomberg today.

I read that as Christie's exasperation with stupid people.

I side with Christie on that.

Also I would note that while Bloomberg declined a visit from Obama today, claiming he couldn't spare the police, Christie was gracious in his handling of the president's visit, going out of his way to thank Obama for the extra help he is sending New Jersey.

Bloomberg was being petulant because he can't stand Obama. 

That's fine, but it's the sort of thing you expect out of Chris Christie and we didn't see that.

Finally I would note that Christie was taking this storm very seriously from the beginning and he was telling people to do the same.  He seemed very much in charge before the storm, during the storm and now in the aftermath.

Bloomberg, on the other hand, seemed to need Cuomo's prompting to finally make the evacuation order official on Sunday morning (would Bloomberg have ordered the evacuation unless Cuomo had already made clear he was shutting down the MTA at 7 PM?)

He also seemed sedated during his live updates - the one time he showed any spark was when a reporter dared to question Bovis' crane operation when a crane nearly toppled down 90 stories and took out most of 57th street!  God forbid anybody question a private crony company.

Listen, I don't like Cuomo, I don't like Christie, and I don't like Bloomberg.  I don't like their policies and I don't like these men personally.

That's a fact and you can see the things I've written about these men and their policies on this blog.

That said, I have come away from my Sandy experiencing disliking the Little Mayor even more than I already did as he desperately spins his piss-poor handling of the pre-storm and some in the media, perhaps thinking Bloomberg is soon to buy up the NY Times AND the Financial Times, buy that revisionist spin.

I have come away with a begrudging respect for Christie and his bluster, however - at least in these circumstances.

First, because I think the bluster was warranted.

Secondly, because he really seemed to have a handle on the storm, knew what he was talking about before it hit (all the meteorologists on the weather forum were saying he was by far the best informed of the politicians dealing with this), and has seemed really on top of things since.

I'll go back to despising Christie after this (and from Jersey Jazzman's latest post, I see good reason already), but I wanted to get my thoughts down about Christie now, before he says something stupid and makes me regret thinking and saying good things about him.

Back To Sort Of Roughing It

Lost water again when the water pump in the building went on fire.

Seems to have been damaged in the flood.

Unfortunately I had let all the water we had in the tub drain and didn't refill it after showers because there are some rust spots that noticeably worsened during the time I was using the tub as a water container.

I guess that was a mistake.

They're pumping six feet of water out of the elevator shafts of my building, so we're still walking up and down eleven flights.

I can live with that - it's the people with dogs and children on the upper floors who I feel bad for.

Then the power went out again while I was out trying to mail something important.

We were walking up the stairs when all went dark - luckily we had brought our flash lights.

Didn't get too bad a surge, so the computer didn't get damaged , but again, something to think about:

Shut computer off before leaving.

It's amazing how easily I can get lulled back into "Everything is O.K.!" - put my water and power back on and all seems liveable.

But things are still tenuous here.

The power is in and out and many parts of the city still seem to be without.

The ties to our technologized civilization are thin indeed.

I must remember that before I leave the house again with my computer on!

Anyway, will continue to post as I am able.

I saw a lot of damage around my neighborhood.

I have heard of some very bad damage suffered by my friends and fellow ed bloggers.

My thoughts are with you.

It is truly not "just a regular work day."

Bloomberg Inexplicably Emerging As Hero

I've been without power for 28 hours, so maybe I missed something, but I see an emerging media narrative that Mayor Michael Bloomberg is a hero for how he has handled the storm.

Jason Farrago says Bloomberg is striking just the right chord while Christie, Cuomo and Molloy are grandstanding.

I disagree.

Part of the reason people didn't take the storm as seriously as they should have is because Bloomberg didn't take it as seriously as he should have.

On Saturday he told city residents that the storm was not going to be as dangerous as Irene.

Let me repeat that: on Saturday he told city residents that the storm was not going to be as dangerous as Irene.

Most meteorologists said quite the opposite - they told people the storm was going to be worse than Irene, that the surge would be devastating near rivers and the coast.

Those meteorologists were right and Bloomberg was wrong.

He didn't make the call for mandatory evacuations of Flood Zone A until the next morning at 11:30 AM.

The MTA was shutting down at 7 PM, so many people had just a few hours to get out before mass transit would be down.

That was his second mistake.

Third mistake - Sunday morning when they knew the surge was going to hit Zone B, they did not share that information with the rest of the city.

Bloomberg is lucky that there were not mass fatalities in this city due to his poor preparation for the storm and ho-hum downplaying of the storm before it hit.

The media narrative that is emerging that Bloomberg has been magnificent in his handling of the storm relies on a revisionism of what the city and Bloomberg did before the storm.

Go back and review the tapes of the press conferences Bloomberg gave on Friday and Saturday and see the lack of concern about the storm emanating from him.

Yes, he says people should heed the warnings on the storm, but he also said things like:

Monday would be "just a regular work day."

The storm would hit in Delaware or Maryland (when all the reliable forecasters had it for South Jersey - where it actually hit.)

The storm was "less dangerous" than Irene.

Schools would be opened even if the MTA shut down.

People should try and go to work.

City offices would be opened and city employees were expected to be come in to work.

These were not the statements of a man who a) had gotten good information about the storm and b) was informed about just had bad things were going to get.

Sorry, maybe I missed something here and I have been without power for a while so I missed lots of things going on on in the media, but quite frankly, I think Andrew Cuomo and Chris Christie were the political figures who handled the storm response well, not Michael Bloomberg.

I can't speak to Bloomberg's handling of the aftermath of the storm because all I heard were a couple of press conferences on WCBS 880.

But I do know that he ho-hummed the storm beforehand and the tapes from Friday and Saturday show that.

I will have more later on the political figure who in my opinion really handled this storm well -and that figure is New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

28 Hours In The Dark

The electricity here went off about 9 PM Monday night.

The building I live in has a generator for the hallways, stairwells, and common areas, so at first it wasn't too bad.

The one problem with the power going out is the water no longer works - the pump that brings it up is run by electricity.

But we had filled the bathtub with water, as well as stockpiling water in various pots and pans, so we had water to use to flush the toilet (though we wound up saving most of it, not knowing how long the water and electricity would be out.)

The water outside kept rising for a while past the high tide Monday night, submerging cars along the side streets and in a parking lot across the street from my apartment.

At first, people in the building, stunned by the flood around them, nonetheless kept spirits up by congregating in the common areas where light remained.

But as the water kept rising, and as the transformers kept exploding in the distance, it was hard to keep spirits up.

I tried to go down to the lobby to see what the water level was, but saw about three feet of water in the stair well and went back upstairs

And then the fire alarms starting go off.


They had been set off by the loss of electricity and some glitch in the system.

The man working the front door of the building was in the fire station, on the phone with the fire department to tell them that alarm system was being set off at the control panel and not by an actual fire, when somebody opened the door to the fire station and water rushed in

He told the fireman on the phone, "We're okay.  Water's coming - gotta go!" and ran up to the second floor.

The water only reached about three feet in the lobby and first floor, but as it was coming in, who knew how far it would go?

Later that night was when we noticed the smell from the building generator was becoming a problem on the lower floors. 

That was also when the carbon monoxide detectors began to go off around the building. 

The fire department came out and did a check of the building and said "You've got to shut the generator off - there's carbon monoxide in the building."

When the generator was turned off, we were plunged into total darkness.

That would last until the power went back on around 1 AM this morning.

It's one thing to live in a house without electricity. 

You can walk down the stairs and make your way through the dark without too much trouble.

Not so in a building with 30 floors and hundreds of apartments. 

The hallways and stairwells are dark, the common area becomes more of an obstacle course than a place to hang out.

 Once the lights went completely dark, most people returned to their apartments for the night.

Around 3:00 AM, I noticed that the waters around the cars outside had subsided greatly.

I went to bed, hopeful that the morning's high tide would not bring more flooding.

After a few hours sleep, I awoke to find that the waters had receded completely back to the Hudson and all that was left were some large pools of water here and there and the destruction wreaked by the water upon cars and property.

But the lights in the building were still out.

I noticed somebody coming back from Shoprite carrying a bag of groceries and decided to make my way out to see what was opened and what the streets looked like.

Things didn't look too bad, except for the remnants of the flood, the sludge, the upturned port-a-potty from the construction site across the street, the torn up lights and stop signs.

One bar had a large, garage sized window literally torn off the sides and pushed inward about four feet.

But the glass, weirdly enough, hadn't broken.

I got to Shoprite just as they were putting out some ice, grabbed a few bags, grabbed a few more bottles of seltzer - water was long gone - and a few other items and made my way back home.

The generator was still off, so up eleven flights in the dark, through two winding stair cases.

With Shoprite opened, I was hopeful that maybe other places would eventually open too.

Not that it would be a "regular work day," but at least there would maybe be a sense that things could be back as close to normal as possible within a few days.

But later in the day when I went out again, I saw that Shoprite and BJ's were the only large stores that had opened.

A few smaller bodegas had also opened.

So had two pizza places.

The lines outside these stores were very, very long.

We saw a panicky situation at a gas station by the Holland Tunnel where a motorist out of gas was trying to fill up from pumps that didn't work because the electricity was off.

A lone gas station attendant started to call one of the cops who was guarding the Holland over until the guy said "All right!  All right!" and left his car there, dead.

Everywhere we went we saw people, but nobody had any news.

When would the electricity go back on?  When would the roads open?  When would some of the larger stores open?  Would the stores be able to get deliveries?

A cop outside the Holland Tunnel said he didn't know any of the answers to those questions.  He said he knew less than we did.  He thanked us for telling him Shoprite was open, however.  Now he had a place where he could send people when they asked what was opened.

Shoprite became the town center as darkness descended.  They pulled out extra circuits and hook-ups and let people charge their phones and laptops.  People were buying prepared foods and eating it on the benches in the store.  People were buying up what little was left on the shelves.  And some people were just hanging out in the aisles, plugged into the hook-ups and reading an ebook or playing a computer game.

It was a surreal experience - Shoprite, the town square. 

You could see people making their way there, a steady stream of flashlights bobbing in the dark.

I'm not in the habit of complimenting corporations, but Shoprite really handled this thing well by not only allowing people to use the electric hook-ups but by adding additional ones to facilitate as many people as possible.

They certainly did a much better job than the city government did at responding to the storm.

The only news we had of what was happening in JC was from an NBC affiliate reporter doing a taped segment outside City Hall.

She told us the power was going to be out for a minimum of 3-4 days, that nobody could seem to find the  emergency command center the city was supposed to be running and that the mayor wasn't around either.

As the sun set last night, the feeling slowly began to sink in - we could be without power for days, the food and water had pretty much run out at Shoprite, no one seemed to know if deliveries would be coming tomorrow or if there would be electricity to open the stores, and going to the bathroom was going to be a major issue after the water ran out. 

As for showering, that was out of the question.  Towel bath or baby wipe bath - take your pick.

We passed a line outside a pizza place that stretched half way down the block and went back into our darkened building, up eleven darkened flights and into our darkened apartment.

That's when we noticed the carbon monoxide detectors were going off all over the building.

The building people told us the fire department had already been out to deal with the problem and said it was another glitch to the system caused by the power outage.

I had every window in the apartment opened, so we were well ventilated, but with the generator emitting carbon monoxide earlier and with it having been turned on for a short period in the afternoon, we weren't so sure this was just a system glitch.

And when you're in total darkness and carbon monoxide alarms are going off all over the building, it's a little scary.

The building guy told us to just unhook the alarm.

That didn't seem like a good idea to us.

We spoke to a PATH cop outside and he didn't think that was such a good idea either.

"Nope," he said, pulling out his radio.  "Better check it out."

The FD arrived a few minutes later and checked for carbon monoxide levels. 

Everything was fine.  It was a system glitch. 

Still, better to be safe then sorry. 

Carbon monoxide kills and turning off a carbon monoxide fire detector in a building without electricity where everybody is using candles didn't seem like a good solution to the problem.

The FD told me that these glitches were happening in all the big buildings in the city.

We got ready to turn in for the night as more people began to leave the building with bags.

The concern that we would be without power, without running water, and perhaps, without a source for fresh supplies that wouldn't require a Soviet-style line, had people spooked.

I knew the feeling.

We called all the car places but there were no rentals available anywhere in the area.

Amtrak was shut down.

So was Greyhound (at least for our area.)

The PATH was going to be down for days, if not weeks,

We weren't going anywhere in the short term.

And maybe the long term.

The garbage in the building was already beginning to build up.

What would it be like after a week?

As we went to bed last night, I said to my wife, "I feel like this day has been 48 hours long."

Sometime around 1 AM, the power went back on for our building.

We could flush the toilet and not have to replace the water from our bathtub supply.

Hooray for the important things!

The power is still up this morning, though it is spotty around the area. 

We can see some streets with power, some without. 

I think there may have been a street or two that never lost power at all (either that or the Marbella and the Portofino have big ass generators that powered all the apartments as well as the common areas!)

I'm thankful for little things today - like being able to flush the toilet and run the water.

This experience wasn't all that serious for us. 

People in Breezy Point and the Rockaways, people on Long Island and in Connecticut, people in Battery Park City and downtown Manhattan have had a very difficult time of it - especially Breezy Point.

Hoboken was really bad. 

So were some spots of downtown JC - especially for people on the ground floor or, worse, in basement apartments (saw one of those being pumped out - what seemed like hundreds of gallons of water!)

And of course the Jersey Shore is devastated.

And yet, by last night, after just about two days of storm and storm aftermath, I was feeling completely exhausted and drained.

We had prepared for this storm, had stocked up on water and food, gotten flashlights and batteries, candles and the like.  We were in a storm mode mindset and yet, after two days of it, we were physically and emotionally drained.

I am grateful the electricity is back on and we might be able to have some semblance of normalcy today.

We're going to finish cleaning up the house and hope for the best in the near term.

There was a rumor going around that part of JC is being evacuated because of a sewage spill.

Dunno where that is and can't seem to find any news of that.

Hoping the lights stay on and they go on for everybody else soon.

I can live without the PATH for a while, I can live without opened stores or restaurants for a while, I can live without TV and Internet for a while, but I'll tell you, fresh, clean running water is not negotiable after awhile.

I remember a movie from the 80's that ran on Cinemax back when I was in college called "The Mosquito Coast."

Harrison Ford said more than once in that movie "Ice is civilization!".

I would add, so is the ability to flush a toilet and not have to replenish the water in the tank from a stockpile you have in your bathtub.

Hope everyone else made it all right - more later.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Hudson River Now Past Marin, Heading For Grove Street

Transformers continue to blow. 

Just helped people in my building lobby move all the furniture and rug. 

Talked to News 12 guy and said, "You ever see anything like this before?" as water flowed up Columbus. 

He said "Yeah - in the movies."

Cops were outside Grove PATH and I said, "How long after high tide will it take for the water to recede?"

He said "Dunno - but we're supposed to wait until 10 PM here at this place."

Right at that moment, they got the call to pull back to Grove.

The water was coming.

This is unlike anything I have ever seen in real life.

It's like the movies or disaster scenes you see on the TV news.

Dunno if I'll have power for much longer.

Surprised it's stayed on this long.

Water Up To Marin Blvd In JC

Okay, the water has made it to my building.

Still one more hour to the high tide.

Wow - God knows what the subways downtown look like. 

Or the PATH.

I think our Great Leaders seriously underestimated how much damage this storm could do.

Still Got Power, But Transformers Are Blowing All Over

Power out over lots of downtown Jersey City.

Transformers just blew over Hoboken.

Green lightning all around (i.e., exploding transformers)

And Lee Goldberg on WABC 7 says we have one more hour until the high tide at the Battery.

And now the announcement is made in my building - we are being flooded and the elevators are being shut down.

Electricity is next to go. 

The areas all around are without power.

Lots of emergency vehicles all around.

This is serious.

I'll try to update if we can keep the power going here.

Crossing my fingers.

Wow - this is something else

Downtown Jersey City Flooded (UPDATE)

WABC 7 reporting the Hudson River is now three blocks up Columbus Drive.

Lights are flickering badly here.

We'll see how much longer we have power.

UPDATE - 7:36 PM: Water now one block from where I live and moving fast.

If the water comes any closer, they will be cutting power to my building.

I think this will be the last update for a while.

Hopefully not for a long while.

Good luck everybody.

We still have a few more hours of the surge.

Partial Building Collapse On 14th Street And 8th Avenue


No one injured.

Bloomberg Defends Bovis, Says Nothing To Worry About Toxic Sludge In Gowanus

Watching the latest Bloomberg press conference.

The one time he actually showed life is when a reporter connected the crane collapse at One57 to the Deutsche Bank Building - he defended Bovis as an excellent company with a great safety record.

 "Bovis is one of the best and biggest construction companies in the world."

Sure - tell that to the families of the dead firemen from the Deutsche Bank Building.

Nothing angers Mayor Mikey more than criticizing one of his favorite crony companies.

He was also asked about the Gowanus canal that is flooding into the surrounding neighborhood and whether it is a concern because of toxins.

He says no, shouldn't be a problem.  It's just a little flooding, will get cleaned up fast.

Keeps saying over and over, this has been a successful response - this has been as bad a storm as we have ever seen, but so far there have been no fatalities so far

So he finally admits this isn't just another "regular work day," which is a minor miracle in and of itself, but he still won't explain if this is the worst storm the city is ever seen in modern day why he brought city employees into work today.

I can't seem to wrap my head around that.

As for the Gowanus flooding, the Bloomberg stooge who took over the response from the mayor certainly didn't inspire much confidence in his answer - he hemmed and hawed the whole thing.

Lots of Reports About Lights Flickering Around City, Over 1 Million In Area Without Power

One in four LIPA customers without power.

LIPA outage website reports close to 295,000 without power.

Over 400,000 without power in New Jersey.

And lots of people are reporting flickering lights in the city.

We have at least a few more hours of very strong winds - some gusts at 90 mph.

The lights just flickered here where I am.

Will continue to post so long as we have power.

Right now, the wind is howling and I wonder how much longer we'll have it.

More Bridge Closings

Battening down the hatches for the final approach of Sandy:

Half a dozen bridges in and around New York City are closing, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced Monday afternoon.

The Tappan Zee Bridge over the Hudson River, about 20 miles north of New York City, closed at 4 p.m.

The George Washington Bridge, the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, the Throgs Neck Bridge and the bridges to the Rockaways are closing at 7 p.m., the governor said.

The Holland and Brooklyn-Battery Tunnels closed earlier in the day.

For now, the Lincoln and Midtown Tunnels will remain open, along with the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge and the Bayonne, Goethals and Outerbridge crossings.

But he added, “If the winds continue to increase, and the weather conditions get worse, they can close on very, very short notice.”

It's very windy where I am right now. 

Just got one gust that really rattled the cage. 

And the winds are started to be sustained a bit.

Sandy supposed to hit our area at 8 PM.

One57 Crane Never Properly Secured

So said Donald Trump's wife, Melania.


"All weights are on crane's wrong side --- very precarious below, move out!"

Dunno if her credibility is any better than her husband's, but at yesterday's press conference, Bloomberg said the city had made sure all major construction sites were secure.

Except for this one, at the second most prominent construction site in New York City after the WTC.

Heckuva job, Bloomie.

Heckuva job.

He had better hope that thing doesn't come down during the storm.

That could be one big wreck.

And that's assuming it doesn't cause any casualties.

Jersey City

Just went jogging there yesterday afternoon.

The water was high yesterday.

Not surprised it's come over already.

I hate to think what that's going to look like in a few hours when the storm surge ramps up.

BTW, this weather forum is a great resource.

One57 Crane Collapse - Bloomberg Said The City Had Made Sure All Construction Sites Were Secure

Somehow they must have missed one of the more high profile sites at the 90 story condo with the apartments so expensive that the cheapest one goes for $7.35 million.

The NY Post reports the following:

Police are evacuating the area surrounding a super luxury high-rise under construction near Carnegie Hall as a rooftop crane dangles precariously in the wind on the roof.
Police have closed off Seventh Avenue between 58th and 55th Streets. All occupants of buildings on West 57th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues have been advised to move to the lower floors.
The unfinished tower known as One57, at 157 W. 57th St., will be the city’s tallest residential building when completed and available only to the uber-rich.
Public records show the site has been rife with complaints for building violations, including a crane violation from Sept. 21, when someone reported that the rooftop crane was leaking oil on to an adjacent building.

At yesterday's press conference, Bloomberg was asked if the city had made sure that all major construction sites around the city had been secured.

He responded they had.

Somehow they missed this one.

That's a very dangerous situation over on 57th Street, what with the hurricane coming ashore in the next few hours at Atlantic City and wind gusts and sustained winds expected to increase.

Regular work day indeed.

Tappan Zee Bridge Closing At 4 PM

High winds forcing closure of the Tappan Zee.

Crane Collapse On 57th Street

75 stories, crane dangling in the air at building between 6th and 7th Avenue.

The building is the heralded One57 - where the Daily News reports the cheapest apartment goes for $7.35 million.

So Why Are City Offices Opened?

Stay indoors, Bloomberg recaps: "This is a storm that could easily kill you."

No kidding.

And yet, you opened city offices and told city employees this:

 “We need the city workers,” Mr. Bloomberg told a reporter. “We all take great pride in our dedication to serving the public, and this is something that we are going to have to do. It may be inconvenient, hopefully it’s not dangerous, but city workers are here to help others, and I think they all understand that.”

Which is it, Mike?

A dangerous storm that can kill you?

Or a good time to come out and get that marriage license without having to wait in too big a line?

Maybe there's a third option.

Maybe Bloomberg despises people who work for city government and just doesn't give a shit what happens to them.

I suspect it's something along those lines.

Governor Christie Offers Some Hurricane Advice

Christie gave a 12:00 PM update:

Governor Christie said during a 12 p.m. briefing Monday that conditions will worsen as Sandy makes landfall and anyone who stayed along the coast to ride out the storm are “now in harm’s way.”


The governor urged residents to stay off the roads, use caution and heed warnings.

The Governor also had a warning regarding power outages.

“If you do not have power, please do not choose today to tap into your creative juices and jerry-rig a [power source],” said Christie.

“If it looks stupid, it is stupid,” said Christie.
 You can take it from Governor Chris Christie - he knows stupid.

Although to be fair, the guy who really knows stupid is Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Ocean Meets The Bay In Ocean City

It's never happened before, according to city officials.

Now it has.

And the storm is nowhere near landfall yet.

One of the models actually has it slowing down.

Winds are picking back up, rain is coming down in torrents where I am.

I saw some people on the Internets questioning whether this storm got oversold by the meteorologists.

If you're anywhere near the storm surge, you know that is not the case.

The rain was never supposed to be the main problem with this storm for NYC.

Since we're north of where landfall is supposed to be, the problem is going to be the winds and the tides.

We'll see where we stand tomorrow morning after a night of the storm, very high winds, and a high tide on the full moon.

City Offices Are Open, But There's Nobody At City Hall

The Times went looking to see if Bloomberg's decree to have city offices opened and staffed was having Herr Mayor's desired effect.

Here's what they found:

City Hall itself was almost entirely deserted, although its stoic French Renaissance facade appeared unruffled in the morning winds.

The interior hallways had a ghostly feel. The office of the City Council speaker, Christine C. Quinn, was completely empty, although its gate remained open.

Good to see city employees stayed home.

Now on to the an important question:

Why is Bloomberg insisting New York City government offices are opened when it's clear they're really not.

Here was his rationale for keeping the offices opened:

The mayor’s insistence that city employees go to work on Monday — despite closed schools, no mass transit and a general encouragement from public officials to stay inside — raised eyebrows among some municipal observers. But asked about it at a Sunday news conference, Mr. Bloomberg said the city must function when its denizens need it most.

“We need the city workers,” Mr. Bloomberg told a reporter. “We all take great pride in our dedication to serving the public, and this is something that we are going to have to do. It may be inconvenient, hopefully it’s not dangerous, but city workers are here to help others, and I think they all understand that.”

Cuomo just updated us to say it is dangerous, the worst is yet to come and people should stay in if at all possible.

The governor of Maryland said he was afraid there were going to be more than a few fatalities as a result of this storm.

And Bloomberg?

City offices are opened, come on in an and get that contingent building license you need.

Bloomberg: NYC Schools Closed Again Tomorrow, City Government Offices Are Open

Says city government workers are here to serve.

Oh, yeah - Bloomberg cares a lot about serving New Yorkers.

Ever see how much he cares at a PEP meeting?

It's Bloomberg First. Always.

His way or the highway.

Clearly he's got some point to make here by making sure you can go in and get, as one commenter at the NYC Twitter site put it, a conditional building permit in the middle of a hurricane.

I'd say he's being an asshole about this, but that would be unfair to assholes.

As for the schools thing, if he has to close schools for any other days this year, you can bet the regular school year will be extended into July.

Tunnel Closures Start

2 PM today for the Holland and Brooklyn Battery Tunnels.

Hope New York City employees who came in to work today don't need to use either of those crossings when they stop working on Mikey's Farm tonight.

Just A Regular Work Day Redux

The wind is howling.

The rain is coming down.

Many places began to flood last night even before the rain started to fall.

The high tide is coming tonight.

It is a full moon.

Sandy has made her turn westward and will make landfall sometime later this evening.

Unlike many hurricanes at this stage of their trek, Sandy is strengthening.

All transit in the area is shut down.

The airports are shutting down.

The bridges and tunnels will shut down when the gusts hit 60 mph.

The NYSE and the NASDAQ have both shut down today (and probably tomorrow as well.)

A good part of the nation has come to a standstill as a result of this storm.

Somebody on the weather forum posted this at 4:59 AM:

It just looks ominous outside... the sound continues to get louder- and it's more continuous now.. In addition we're having occasional power surges..  This is a storm we are going to be talking to our grandchildren about.. I have a very bad feeling in my stomach right now...

And Michael Bloomberg told us yesterday that today New York City offices would be opened and many people would be making their way into work later in the day.

This came after he waited until almost the last possible moment to declare a mandatory evacuation of Flood Zone A in the city.

His hand may have been pushed on that, as Governor Cuomo had already declared the MTA would shut down by 7 PM at a press conference an hour before Bloomberg was set to update the city on the storm.

Is there any public official more clueless than Mayor Michael Bloomberg?


Flooding In Hoboken, Flooding In Gowanus

And we're just at the beginning of this.


We'll see what things look like in the morning.

NYSE Decides No Trading Tomorrow, Probably Tuesday As Well

This news will make Mayor Mike very sad:

The New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ have decided not to open for trading tomorrow because of Hurricane Sandy, according to CNBC and Reuters. Reuters Tweeted, "More: Decision to close U.S. stock markets come because of concerns about market integrity - source #breaking"

NYSE had previously said the trading floor was be closed but electronic trading would continue, but now NYSE Euronext says, "The dangerous conditions developing as a result of Hurricane Sandy will make it extremely difficult to ensure the safety of our people and communities, and safety must be our first priority... We support the consensus of the markets and the regulatory community that the dangerous conditions developing as a result of Hurricane Sandy will make it extremely difficult to ensure the safety of our people and communities, and safety must be our first priority."

Bloomberg said earlier that he thought Monday would be just another work day and people would eventually make their way into work as the day progressed (even though the MTA will be totally shut down.)

He still has city offices opened tomorrow.

Now even the NYSE is saying "No trading, electronic or otherwise, takes place tomorrow.  We're closed for business!"

You see, even they're not as insane as the Mayor of Money.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Not Good

 From the Hoboken Facebook page:

The plaza by Hoboken Terminal is already flooding, and much more is expected. Please take this storm extremely seriously. If you are in a ground floor unit, please evacuate to higher ground (photo by Carter Craft).

Hoboken is prone to flooding, but if that's what it looks like this early in the storm process, before any rain has fallen, before the serious storm surge has started - whew!

Look out.

Looks Like Bloomberg Is Getting Ready To Announce Teacher Layoffs

Seriously, nothing could get him as excited as he appeared to be at today's Hurricane Sandy press conference except for impending teacher layoffs.


Very, very creepy.

Picture of the Day

A sign posted at Bloomingdale's announcing an early closing due to the storm.

A comment at the Weather Channel website where the picture was posted:

From Bloomingdale's: We appologize if this announcement was not spellchecked. We were busy safeguarding the overpriced Chinese-made apparel.

Funny - and who doesn't need a little humor now?

Multi-Hazard Analysis For New York City

Great resource from the city government back in 2009, posted at the weather forum here.

Speaking of money, along with New York City offices, which Bloomberg has so refused to close, the New York Stock Exchange will be trading tomorrow, but the physical building and trading floor will be closed.

Even the New York Stock Exchange realizes it's a dangerous situation.

The mayor of Philadelphia shut the entire city down tomorrow.

But Bloomberg still seems to think it will be, as he said, a "regular work day," with most people going into work.

Off For One Final Run

We're loaded up on water, food, batteries, flashlights, candles.

Ice in the fridge to keep it cool for a while longer if the power goes. 

Got a solar powered radio with flashlight attached to get information.

Cell phone is charged.

Laptop is charged.

Got tarps and plastic just in case (dunno if that'll help if the windows break from the storm, but got them anyway.)

We're on a moderately high floor, so I worry a little about the windows if the wind gusts are as strong as advertised.

Doubt the tarps and plastic will save much in the case of a break, but what the hell, I feel better having them just in case.

I hope the power doesn't go out, but we're as ready as we can be for that if it happens.

I think we're as ready as we can be here - but I'm heading out for one last provisions run.

All right - I want to get a little junk food and a big soda.

Ssssh - don't tell the mayor.

Landfall set for Central New Jersey some time tomorrow night.

It's supposed to move very slowly across the area.

The pressure of the system is very, very low.

It's going to be intense.

I hope they're wrong about this tracking and forecast.

I do know one thing.

Tomorrow is not going to be a "regular work day" and people will not be going to work.

No matter what Bloomberg thinks.

NWS Forecasts Largest Water Level For Battery Ever

  From the weather forum:

NWS now OFFICIALLY forecasting largest water level ever recorded at the Battery (11.7) for tmoorrow night, breaking Hurr Donna 1960 10.1 ft

Irene was 4.5ft -5.5 ft.

If the surge is anywhere near that NWS forecast, expect the subways to take some very serious flooding.

Worrisome, especially because Bloomberg seems to be ho-humming this storm response so far.

I wonder if Bloomberg realizes the subways could be down for a long time if they take significant flooding from salt water?

Bloomberg Finally Announces Mandatory Evacuations (THIRD UPDATE)

Bloomberg updated the city on the storm and just announced mandatory evacuations for flood zones in the city.

Bloomberg said the surge forecast has changed from last night to today (not true - there were forecasts showing a stronger storm surge last night as well.)

Everybody in Zone A flood areas has to leave by 7 PM tonight.

I'm glad he has finally made the call for a mandatory evacuation, but why wasn't the evacuation call made earlier?

Subway shutdown in seven and a half hours.

People in Zone A without cars have a very brief window to get out.

Schools are closed tomorrow, city offices are opened. 

Bloomberg says he is confident he has taken all the necessary precautions for the storm and the city is ready for whatever it faces.

We'll see.

UPDATE: Bloomberg gets a question at the presser about why he waited until now to give the mandatory evacuation order.

He says it's not a problem, that cop cars with speakers will get the information out in time to people in Zone A.

SECOND UPDATE: Another question for the mayor - why are city workers asked to come in to work tomorrow?

Bloomberg said city workers have to serve the public, so they have to come into work, even if it's inconvenient.

Third question - Bloomberg asked to compare Irene to Sandy.  Bloomberg still says the storm is not as dangerous as Irene .  He still says the forecast has not changed for wind, rain or storm track.  Only the storm surge forecast has changed.

He is still lowballing the effects of this storm.

He thinks the damage will be minimal in the city and the storm is going to do more damage inland.

He says most people in New York City will go to work tomorrow.

He says it's a shame that he has to close schools tomorrow, but those will be closed.

But "most people will go to work tomorrow."


The subways and buses are shut down.

The tunnels and bridges will most likely be shut down as well.

But somehow Bloomberg is still saying that "most people will go to work tomorrow."

This guy is crazy.

The newscaster on FOX just said this evacuation call has been made too late.

Nick Gregory just said the same thing - plus the surge forecast last night was serious enough for Bloomberg to have made the call last night for mandatory evacuation.

So Bloomberg getting criticism for this late decision from FOX.

And the mayor is still on record as saying "most people will go to work tomorrow."

What information is he getting that the rest of us do not seem to be getting?

Maybe he's right, maybe he's handled this the way he should have.

But I guarantee you that there will be people in the flood zone who won't hear about the mandatory evacuation order until very late in the game.

THIRD UPDATE: Gothamist puts together a montage of criticism from weather experts and meteorologists over Bloomberg's delayed evacuation response to the storm here.

Why Hasn't Bloomberg Announced Mandatory Evacuations Yet?

Bloomberg was supposed to update the city about the storm at 11 AM.  So far, no Bloomberg, but as I watch the TV weathercasters talk about this storm, they are ALL saying this storm is so much worse than Irene was last year.

For a storm of this size this late in the season to move east to west is almost unprecedented (Nick Gregory said maybe 3 times in the last 200 years.)

The storm surge is going to hit at high tide on a full moon.

Nick Gregory just said even though the city hasn't made evacuations mandatory, people should do the prudent thing if they live in a flood zone and get out on their own.

That sounds right to me.

Why hasn't Bloomberg already made evacuations mandatory?

Why has he been downplaying this?

Cuomo isn't.

Christie isn't.

But up until now, Bloomberg has.

He still has time to change this.

He needs to do it soon.

Just A Regular Work Day (UPDATED)

Mayor Bloomberg downplayed the strength and intensity of Sandy yesterday, saying that the storm is not going to be as strong as Hurricane Irene was when that storm hit the city last year.

Even though many storm tracks are pointing to landfall on the Jersey coast (Accuweather says Sandy is "headed on a crash course with New Jersey") , Bloomberg said the storm will hit much farther south near Delaware or Maryland.

Bloomberg said the storm surge from Sandy will be slower and less intense than if the storm were still a hurricane, so he was not as concerned about flooding as he was last year for Irene.

The mayor has said there are no planned evacuations of flood zones in the city as of this time, though he may change that decision later.

The mayor also said city offices will be opened Monday and he planned to have New York City schools opened on Monday as well, though a final decision on that would be made Sunday night.

Bloomberg said people should consider Sandy a dangerous storm but he expected the city to get through this "very nicely".

That was yesterday evening.

The National Weather Service sent out the following forecast this morning:

636 AM EDT SUN OCT 28 2012







Bloomberg seems to believe Sandy is a "less dangerous" storm than Irene was because it is no longer categorized tropical.

Those were the words he used to describe the storm when he updated the city last night - "less dangerous."

And clearly that is the storm response he and his team of geniuses are following because they have decided no evacuations of flood zones are necessary as of this time and the city is going to open on Monday morning as if it's just another rainy day in October.

But that's is not how the National Weather Service and other meteorologists are forecasting the storm will play out.

While the corporate news media hasn't picked up on Bloomberg's downplaying of the storm, The Weather Channel did.

Bryan Norcross said he was "baffled" by the city's response to the storm while Jim Cantore, down at the Battery, said the mayor's message about the storm didn't jibe with what weather experts believe may happen to the city.

Over on the weather forum, posters were all over Bloomberg last night for not taking the storm as seriously as he should and for not ordering evacuations for today.

The fear is that by the time Bloomberg and his geniuses do realize they need to evacuate people in flood zones, it will be too late to get everybody out.

If the MTA starts to shut the subways and buses down late this afternoon/early this evening, as is expected, and the bridges get shut down because of heavy winds, as may happen late this evening, how does the city get everybody evacuated from flood zones in time?

Bloomberg didn't seem to be too concerned about any of that last night.

And yet he should be.

The National Hurricane Center has increased the surge potential from the storm to 6-11 ft along Long Island Sound and in New York Harbor.

That kind of surge would easily top the walls and flood the subways.

You would really want to have people off the Rockaways and low-lying areas around the city before that kind of thing happens.

And if the city loses power due to the high winds while they're still trying to evacuate people - well, that would really be horrific.

I know I'm a big critic of the mayor on a whole host of issues, and so I'm sure some will say, "Oh, he's just criticizing like he usually does, Bloomberg is handling this fine."

But it's not just me questioning his judgement.

The weather casters at The Weather Channel and lots of people on the weather forum are questioning it too.

So far we have not seen a very strong response from the city for this storm.

The pressure for the storm as of 8:00 AM was 951 mb.

That's a similar pressure to the storm in the 90's that lasted for days and it's much lower than many hurricanes have.

This is a serious storm with tropical force winds extending out 400 miles and a storm surge expected to top 6 feet or more.

And Bloomberg said Monday is just going to be another regular work day.

Whatever information he is getting on the storm, it seems to be at odds with the information at the National Weather Center, the National Hurricane Center, The Weather Channel, Accuweather, and a host of others are getting about this storm.

Bloomberg had better hope he is right about this

UPDATE - 10:19 AM: Mayor Bloomberg is supposed to be updating the city at an 11:00 AM press conference.

The MTA has announced a 7:00 PM shut down tonight.

And one poster at the weather forums reports the following:

 "Just saw a massive nypd convoy near my house coming from rockaway, esu mobile command center flood light".

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Sandy Tied For Second Largest Tropical Cyclone Since 1988 (UPDATED)

Sandy's tropical storm-force winds extend out 450 miles.

This is a very large storm.

And it's about to take a westward turn.

The Weather Channel's latest tracking, as of 9:51 PM, has it landing somewhere between Maryland and New York City.

UPDATE - 10:55 PM:  Via Jim Cantore's Twitter account:

Storm surge model from Stevens Inst Technology shows higher surge at The Battery in Manhattan than during Irene.

Cantore added:

Jim Cantore@JimCantore I am very concerned about Mayor @MikeBloomberg decision on No evacuations. Wondering if a hurricane warning would have changed that. #Sandy

Here is what Bloomberg said earlier about this storm that he says is "less dangerous" than Irene:


To reiterate what I said before, Bloomberg better hope the information he's getting is the correct information, because the info that's coming from The Weather Channel, Stevens Institute and elsewhere sure is contradicting what our mayor is saying.  

Why Is Bloomberg Downplaying Sandy? (UPDATED)

At his 6:30 PM news conference on the city's preparations for Hurricane Sandy, Mayor Michael Bloomberg downplayed the significance of the storm, saying more than once that it is not as serious a storm as Hurricane Irene was last year.

Bloomberg says the storm is going to hit Maryland or Delaware, not New Jersey or New York City as some storm models are still showing.

He also said the storm is not going to be either a hurricane or a tropical storm, so the surge will be slower than it would be if it were a hurricane.

He said there are no plans for any evacuations of any low-lying areas in the city, though the city will monitor the situation and that could change in the future.

The key takeaway from the press conference:  "Monday will be a regular workday."  City offices are opened, schools are opened, everybody should expect to go to work.

Bloomberg is seriously downplaying the threat here, which is odd because some of the models of the storm track are taking this thing right to Sandy Hook or elsewhere on the Jersey Shore.

If the storm hits there, the storm surge in New York Harbor is going to be very heavy.

Many areas up and down the coast have been evacuated or will be evacuated by tomorrow.

The Director of the National Hurricane Center told reporters on Saturday that there is no way to avoid a huge storm surge event over a large area.

Meteorologist Jeff Masters wrote at 5:30 PM today that the surge may flood New York City subways.  

Masters also wrote that if the hurricane "hits near New York City, as the GFS model predicts, the storm surge will be capable of overtopping the flood walls in Manhattan, which are only five feet above mean sea level."

Bloomberg doesn't seem to be too worried about any of that as of tonight.

Bloomberg's fellow politicians around the area, including Governor Christie of New Jersey, have been ringing the alarm bells on this storm.

For some reason, Mayor Michael Bloomberg is not.

Can't say why this is - perhaps he really does think the storm will hit well south of the city and we'll ride this out fine.

But as I wrote earlier today, it's not as if he hasn't ho-hummed a storm before, so I'm not sure I totally trust his judgment on this.

Time will tell.

But if it turns out he needs to evacuate everybody tomorrow, he certainly hasn't laid much groundwork for that action tonight. 

POSTSCRIPT: The Weather Channel hammered Bloomberg after his presser, saying they were shocked and baffled by the information he had given.  Jim Cantore questioned Bloomberg's judgment on the storm, saying he thought the city shouldn't let its guard down given the hybrid nature of this storm.

Glad to see I'm not the only one questioning Bloomberg's judgment.

Yeah, I get not overreacting to this.

But the downplaying he's done with this storm, saying basically Monday is just another workday, just bring an umbrella - well, we'll see how this turns out.

The mayor had better hope to hell whatever information he is getting is correct.

UPDATE - 10:21 PM: Eric Holthaus, a Wall Street Journal writer who covers weather and climate for the newspaper, tweeted the following: 

A NOAA analysis ranks 's wave/surge destructiveness at 5.7 on a 6.0 scale. I have never seen a value that high.

The "Hurricane/Tropical Storm" designation may not be around it by the time it gets here, but this is one powerful storm.

29th Of October, NYC (Sandy)

Maybe this storm forecast is overblown.

Maybe we're just getting hyped by the meteorologists who are looking at the models of Sandy tracking north, and then northwest as it meets up with another burst of storm energy from the north, and buying into some nightmare storm scenario that isn't going to happen.

Maybe they're wrong about a central New Jersey/NYC landfall for Sandy.

Maybe they're wrong about the nightmare storm surge that could push into New York Bay and Long Island Sound, causing widespread flooding along the coast, in downtown Manhattan, on Staten Island, on the Jersey Shore and along the Hudson County coast.

Maybe they're wrong about the tropical force winds spreading out 200 miles from the center and bringing down tons of trees and power lines along the way.

Maybe they're wrong about the 6-10 inches of rain that could fall, or the duration of the storm, which some meteorologists say could last for as long as 5 days.

Maybe they're wrong about the power going out and it taking as long as a week and a half to get it back on.

Maybe they're wrong about all of that.

But what if they're not?

It's one of the ugliest looking hurricanes you'll see, but Hurricane Hunters and satellite measurements confirm that its still tropical enough to be a hurricane... and its on track to cause a pile of trouble.

Two atmospheric processes are counteracting each other at the moment. Strong upper winds are trying to tear the storm apart, but a split in the upper flow is causing, essentially, a strong suction from above which is helping the storm keep going. This situation will likely result in some weakening... which would mean Sandy would drop below hurricane strength. But then the polar jet stream takes over and re-energizes the storm increasing the winds and growing the size. A sharp dip in the jet stream will pick up the reinvigorated Sandy and swing it toward the East Coast. At least that's the plan.

There are some ifs and maybes in that scenario, but the best computer forecast models independently insist that this is what's going to happen... and the not-so-reliable ones say the same thing. So, beginning immediately, it comes down to figuring out how to deal with it.

The ocean will rise along the coast as Sandy makes it's way north, but the biggest coastal problems will come when the center makes landfall. We're unlikely to know exactly where that will be until Monday, but this is critical. The ocean will be pushed toward the coast north of that point and away to the south. The onshore flow of water is exaggerated where bays, inlets, or the shape of the coastline focus the water to make it rise even higher. The most prominent problem spot is New York City, where Long Island and New Jersey make an "L".

Raritan Bay and New York Bay and the south end of Manhattan are especially susceptible to rising water if the center of Sandy comes ashore in New Jersey or south. Much as we saw in Irene, it is potentially a monstrous problem due to the threat to NYC infrastructure and transportation. There are tough decisions ahead for the Mayor and his people.

Right now, the odds favor that southern track. The threat from this situation is serious as a heart attack for anybody near the rising water.

Then there's the wind which is expected to be MUCH higher than Irene at the skyscraper level. The city will also have to be thinking about the threat to people in tall buildings.

The winds... expected to be at or near hurricane strength at landfall... will spread inland for hundreds of miles either side of the storm center. It's hard to imagine how millions of people are not going to be without power for an extended period of time.

Widespread rainfall of 3 to 7 inches with some places getting a foot or more will cause extremely dangerous flash flooding.

And then there's the snow. Heavy wet snow is forecast for the mountains of West Virginia and southwest Pennsylvania, mixed with rain at the lower elevations.

The winds will increase Sunday night in the Tidewater of Virginia and spread north through the day on Monday. The best guess right now is that the peak winds will come in overnight Monday night... near high tide and under a full, flooding moon. A triple whammy.

Let me think, what other disastrous thing might happen. It's storm overload, I know... and nobody likes to think about these kinds of things. Nothing here is certain, of course, just becoming more likely with every new piece of data. But one thing is for sure... if this all happens as forecast, and you and your family are stuck in the cold and dark without food and light and communications because you didn't run to the store and get ready... excuses are going to spectacularly hard to come by.

Is New York City ready for this kind of hit?

Can the city handle the storm if it's as bad as feared by Bryan Norcross and some other meteorologists?

Can the city handle extended periods of rain and flooding?

Can the skyscrapers withstand seriously strong winds for a couple of days before windows start to break and plummet to the street below?

Can the subways handle the flooding?

Can the infrastructure handle extended periods of tropical force winds?

I hope the storm makes a sharp eastern turn, heads out to sea, and we never have to find out the answers to these questions in our lifetimes.

But I have to tell you, listening to Bloomberg tell us yesterday that all was well, he was on the job and so far, we should all just expect a normal Monday morning, with the subways running, schools opened, and everybody heading off to a wet but safe start to the work week, I wondered if he was just downplaying the threat to stave off unnecessary panic or if he's getting cocky because last year's response to Irene went so well.

Let's be honest, he's gotten blase about storm preparation and response before.

During the Bloomberg Blizzard of 2010, he couldn't get the outer borough streets plowed for days and told people to stop whining about this and go catch a Broadway show.

He had just gotten back from Bermuda minutes before the airport got closed for good (they actually kept the airport opened later so he could land), and his deputy mayor was coordinating the storm response from his Washington D.C townhouse, so I suppose we couldn't expect much better than that.

A few people died as a result of the mayor's inability to get the streets plowed in time.

I'm hoping Bloomberg sent the cocky part of his ego that ran the Bloomberg Blizzard of 2010 response to Bermuda for the weekend and he's on top of this the way he ought to be, with rapt attention, humility in the face of nature, and surrounded by people slightly more competent than former Deputy Mayor Steven Goldsmith, the guy who coordinated New York City's response from Georgetown.

Maybe Sandy will turn out to be nothing and all really will be well.

Maybe we'll all be at work, school or wherever on Monday saying "Gee, those weather people really blew that forecast!  What hype!"

But maybe the storm will be as bad as feared and maybe New York City really will face the kind of nightmare scenario some weather people are fearing.

If that happens, I don't want the blase Bloomberg, bored by his third term, cranky at having to deal with the day-to-day particulars of being mayor and already thinking about his post-mayoral philanthropy and political scheming, to be in charge of the storm response.

The city says it's ready.

I hope that's right.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Alex Pareene: How Come Bloomberg Not Held Accountable For Schools Disaster?

Alez Pareene mocks both Michael Bloomberg and The Atlantic in his Salon column for the latest example of a media suck-up to Bloomberg:

If you hate Michael Bloomberg you will find a lot to hate in his conversation with the Atlantic’s James Bennet, part of the magazine’s gag-inducing “Brave Thinkers” issue. What makes Bloomberg a “brave thinker”? Banning soda, it seems like. (Also, lord, no one needs another Bloomberg interview. If you want to know what he thinks about things, he is on the radio every week and he owns a news outlet that has an opinion section devoted in part to opinions he agrees with.)

You will also find some things about Bennet to be annoyed with, like his complete indifference to Bloomberg’s approval of the NYPD’s various major violations of civil liberties and general complete lack of oversight. The words “NYPD,” “Muslim,” “frisk” and “surveillance” never come up once in the full transcript of the interview.

New York’s billionaire mayor is as self-satisfied as ever, and he is very proud of his low approval ratings.


There are a bunch of other things that conveniently don’t come up (New York’s poverty rate and severe wealth gap, the taxpayer-funded stadium bonanza Bloomberg ushered in) but the most annoying omission is that Bloomberg, who has always wanted to be known as the man who saved New York City public schools, is not actually held accountable for the fact that after three terms under mayoral control, Bloomberg’s policies have not actually demonstrably improved public education in New York, and the huge gains Bloomberg trumpeted in his first two terms were shown to be largely illusory. (And hey, remember Cathie Black? Bloomberg’s biggest media fans don’t!)

Bloomberg does volunteer, himself, without prompting from Bennet, that “[we] haven’t improved the schools as much as we want.” Or, arguably, at all! Oddly, that has not led to any sort of reexamination of his beliefs on education policy — beliefs that both major political parties basically share.

But as the mayor kicks off his last-year-in-office national media victory tour, I imagine we won’t hear a whole lot about the failure of his signature policy goal. (Or, you know, everyone will just blame teachers unions.)

No, we probably won't hear much about those failures because most people in the corporate media (or the wanna-be corporate media) are afraid that someday they may need a job from Bloomberg, the media mogul, so instead we get suck-up pieces like this crap from The Atlantic.

Or this one from Martha Stewart's Whole Living that celebrates Bloomberg as a "Food Visionary" for banning biggie soda drinks.

You'll note how the latest phase of the Bloomberg media suck-up has dubbed Herr Bloomberg as a "visionary" "thinker".

Meanwhile members of the city council exploded on the D.O.E.’s chief academic officer Shael Polakow-Suransky over the DOE's lack of transparency and its refusal to take responsibility for mistakes or policy.

Instead they blame others - teachers, principals, networks.

Nothing "visionary" about any of that.

That's just an old-fashioned shirking of responsibility and a refusal to be held accountable to the same standards that they hold everyone else accountable to.

That's a marked trait of the Bloomberg administration and of Bloomberg the Man himself.

But you never hear about that in the Bloomberg suck-up pieces.

Or about CityTime.

Or the NYPD ticket-fixing scandal.

Or the $2 billion 911 system that is years overdue and a billion overbudget.

Or the various other consultant scandals.

Or the people who died during the Bloomberg Blizzard of 2010 because Bloomberg The Visionary couldn't get the outer borough streets plowed and emergency vehicles couldn't get through.

Just once I'd like to see the Oprah or Martha publications (or the Times, Post, Daily News, Atlantic, etc.) cover those topics while they're sucking up to the mayor.