LET me bring you up to date on the recovery from Hurricane Sandy.

There are two distinct sets of problems created by Sandy that remain.

For New Yorkers who weren’t in the areas flooded by the storm, the problems have been the disruption of mass transit, the widespread loss of power, and the suspension of public school classes.

There are ongoing processes in place in resolving those problems.

As you know, the subway system has largely been brought back on line.

There’s still a few that aren’t working, but generally most are.

Not all lines are back.

MTA chairman Joe Lhota said they’re not going to have as many trains on tracks as they usually have, but you should be able to count on getting to work using mass transit, just allow a little bit of extra time.

Let me remind everyone that carpool regulations for driving into Manhattan have been lifted.

There’s none of this HOV-3 anymore.

Having said that, the fewer cars on the streets, the better we all are.

And you’ll use less gasoline as well.

Power is coming back.

The story is very different for those in the areas hit hardest by the water Sandy.

That’s what really did most of the damage.

This was not a storm where the winds were the problem; it was the water coming in from the ocean or coming down Long Island Sound.

The people who were killed generally were in areas where they had very high water.

There were some deaths in other areas where trees came down, but when you talk around the city the places where the devastation is the greatest are those along the shoreline.

Our prayers are with those who lost loved ones, and our sympathies are with those who lost their homes or have been forced to leave because of flooding.

We know neighborhood businesses have been hard hit, but many of those who have gone back to their homes have gone back to find the power is still out and many will remain without power in the days ahead.

One of the great fears we have is with cold weather, we have to make sure that people can stay warm.

Among hardest hit are the Rockaways and Staten Island, a lot of places that don’t have electricity but are going to experience the cold.

In the Rockaways, I talked with many concerned residents.

I assured them we’ll do everything possible to get power back on.

Our team has been working with the Long Island Power Authority, which provides electrical service on the Rockaways.

The rest of the city is pretty much taken care of by Con Ed.

We’ve urged them to commit more resources to getting power back to the Rockaways faster, and I’m glad to report that we are seeing some progress.

LIPA has agreed to our request to add more crews to this job.

That should speed up the process.

They’ve also delivered 10 generators to Hammel Houses, a public housing development I visited.

And we’ll continue to provide LIPA with all the support we can.

Some 45,000 public housing residents, you should know, live in the coastal areas designated as Zone A; many of them live in the Rockaways.

Over the past two days we’ve been going block-by-block to identify the issues that are blocking power from being turned back on. 

We’re resolving issues one block and even one house at a time.

Even when power can be turned back on, some buildings are going to be out of commission for a long time because of damage to boilers and electrical systems.

And that’s not just public housing; it’s private apartments and individual houses that have been impacted as well.

So we’re working to take care of the immediate needs of food, water, warmth and safety, and we’ve also started to address the process of long-term recovery.

I went back to Staten Island.

At Staten Island University Hospital, I visited and talked with a city sanitation worker who received an electric shock from a downed power line while he was on his sanitation route.

His name is Michael Lewery.

His condition is stable.

And the accident he suffered shows that there are still dangerous conditions out there — and despite these dangers, city workers like Michael are out there working on our behalf, around the clock, and they really do deserve our gratitude.

By the way, Lewery lives in New Dorp on Staten Island and his home was severely damaged.

But that did not keep him from serving his fellow New Yorkers and Staten Islanders, and he was on the job helping to clean up the debris.

Borough President Jim Molinaro, State Senator Andy Lanza, Councilman Jimmy Oddo and I walked the streets of Midland Beach.

We saw some of the damage done by Hurricane Sandy to homes there and also the massive clean-up effort that’s being led by the Departments of Sanitation, Transportation, Parks the NYPD, FDNY and other city agencies, and also members of the National Guard.

I had a cup of coffee with General Tom Bostick and his team with the Army Corps of Engineers.

They are helping to pump water and restore power.

They are people that know how to deal with disasters, and it’s great to have them here and they are helpful.

We also went to a food distribution center and met with volunteers; four of them had been there for 48 hours straight without any sleep.

We talked with residents whose homes had been badly damaged.

I went inside a few to look and see what the basements looked like.

We visited the Oasis Christian Center, where volunteers were handing out food and supplies and I thanked them for their efforts.

Add comment

Security code

Latest comments