IT’S A BROOKLYN CYCLONE: The borough’s definitive Hurricane Sandy liveblog

DOWN AND OUT: A tree has fallen on Bay Ridge Parkway near the office of state Sen. Marty Golden, who tweeted this image.
Twitter / SenMartyGolden

The storm is here.

As Hurricane Sandy barrels through our borough, our staff will keep you posted with live updates. We’ll be here until the power goes out, so check in with us whenever you can spare a minute from taping your windows, filling pots with water, or fielding concerned phone calls from relatives in inland states.

And keep us posted about what it’s like out there! Let us know in the comments, or e-mail us at newsroom@cnglocal.com

7:53: Deputy Editor Tom Tracy’s power is out in Mill Basin. Deputy Editor Ben Muessig’s internet is out in Ditmas Park. We’ll get back to you as soon as possible. Stay safe, Brooklyn.

7:05: Five new photos of Coney Island and Sheepshead Bay from photographer Elizabeth Graham.

6:45: Five open bars in the vicinity of Prospect Heights:

1. Washington Commons

Regular happy hour to 8 pm two dollars off. “Why do people think we’re doing hurricane specials,” said a bartender. Well, why not?

TAKE A WALK: Peter Cusack, center, and Mel Bermudez walk their dogs Teague, left, and Molly at Fulton Ferry Landing.
Associated Press / Mark Lennihan

[748 Washington Ave. at Park Place]

2. Bar Sepia

Happy hour until 8 at this neighborhood stand-by that was in Prospect Heights, before it became the hip, wait-out-the flood neighborhood that it is.

[234 Underhill Ave. at Lincoln Place]

3. The Bearded Lady

“The hurricane special is we’re open,” said a bartender. Happy hour all night; $4 dollar pints all night and everything is a dollar off.

[686 Washington Ave. at St. Marks Place]

4. Franklin Park

The Crown Heights hot spot is having a “hurricane party,” according to their Facebook page.

[618 St. John’s Pl. between Franklin and Classon avenues]

5. Crown Inn

RAIN DANCE: Nancy Lee and Steven Stone explore the waterfront on Huron Street in Greenpoint.
Photo by Bess Adler

Open for a bit longer, grab your $4 beers while you can.

[724 Franklin Ave. between Sterling and Park places]

Eli Rosenberg

6:31 pm: Correction: Sheepshead Bites is not reporting the Travolta thing. We jumped the gun there a bit just in case. Our apologies, but you can never be too careful.

6:30 pm: Sheepshead Bites is reporting that John Travolta is singing about the hardships of Sandy at the local drive-in (see video).

5:51 pm: The peak of the storm surge will hit the city at around 8:15 pm, according to Mayor Bloomberg.

5:50 pm: Con Edison may cut power to parts of Southern Brooklyn in an attempt to protect equipment, Mayor Bloomberg said.

5:45 pm: “The time for relocation or evacuation is over,” Mayor Bloomberg says at a press conference.

5:41 pm: Plywood and scaffolding surrounding the Shore Theater at the corner of Surf and Stillwell avenues in Coney Island collapsed earlier today, according to Councilman Recchia (D–Coney Island) — who fears Brooklynites are still on the beaches.

“People have to be responsible,” said Recchia. “We can’t put our first responders at risk, because we’re going need them later on. High tide’s coming back in, the waves are going higher and higher, and the wind’s picking up. It’s only going to get worse.”

GET OUT: Cars race from Manhattan, a low-lying borough, to the relative safety of Brooklyn.
Associated Press / Mark Lennihan

— Will Bredderman

5:30 pm: The Williamsburg, Manhattan, and Brooklyn Bridges will close tonight at 7 pm, according to the Mayor’s Office.

5:14 pm: The Brooklyn Heights Promenade and Fulton Ferry Landing have both been closed by police, according to reports on Twitter.

4:54 pm: The National Weather Service warns that Hurricane Sandy’s “life-threatening storm surge” and “potentially flooding rains” continue to approach the borough. The center of the storm is now about 140 miles south of New York City.

4:42 pm: A falling tree limb hit a 30-year-old woman as she jogged outside Prospect Park this morning, sending her to Kings County Hospital in serious condition, according to the blog A Walk in the Park.

At a later press conference, Mayor Bloomberg said she would be “okay.”

4:29 pm: The Verrazano–Narrows Bridge will close at 7pm, Gov. Cuomo announces.

4:08 pm: Flatbush is still bracing itself for the worst of Hurricane Sandy. About 1,500 Brooklynites living between Clarendon and Glendwood roads and E. 45th and E. 46th streets lost power this morning, according to Councilman Jumaane Williams’ office. But Con Edison reportedly restored service quickly.

Trees have fallen across Flatbush and leafy Ditmas Park, which lost some foliage in last years’ Hurricane Irene scare.

Reports indicate there’s already toppled trees on E. 16th Street near Newkirk Avenue.

But that hasn’t shut the neighborhood’s businesses down.

HOT DOG: The storm approaches Coney Island.
Associated Press / Craig Ruttle

The infallible Sycamore on Cortelyou is open for all your hurricane-induced craft beer and flower needs, as is San Remo Pizza for Italian food. Then there’s the Salahi convenience store on Cortelyou Road and Argyle Road — where employees claim they haven’t closed for a day in 20 years, according to BuzzFeed head honcho and Ditmas Park resident Ben Smith.

There are two emergency shelters in the area at PS 249 [18 Marlborough Rd. at Caton Avenue in Ditmas Park] and IS 246 [72 Veronica Pl. at Snyder Avenue in Flatbush].

No part of Flatbush is located within a Zone A area — areas Mayor Bloomberg ordered evacuated — but a fair amount of Midwood and Flatbush streets are located within a Zone C area, where streets could flood during a more severe hurricane, according to the officials.

“A lot of people have been saying, ‘Oh, with Irene, nothing happened.’ We said you can’t take the last hurricane and compare it to something that is completely new,” said Chaim Deutsch, the founder of the Flatbush Shomrim.

3:41 pm: Reporter Danielle Furfaro checked in with Brooklynites across the borough to learn about their last-minute preparations and thoughts before the storm hits:

“We stocked up on batteries, water, food, and alcohol — including enough beans and rice to feed 30 people. We brought in all our backyard furniture and sandbagged our back door. Moved Ralph the rabbit away from the window. Called Mom multiple times to reassure her.” — Sandra Fredricksen of Bedford–Stuyvesant

“I’m just loving the huge tree branch right outside my window that is doing some serious shaking and moving. Not sure if I want to sleep in my bed tonight.” — Rebekah Havrilla of Bushwick

“The winds are crazy, its raining and lots of branches and leaves are on the ground. Just went for a walk and it was kind of fun!” said Roxanne Rogers of Park Slope

“Whiskey, internet, water and more whiskey. Maybe some granola to keep it healthy.” — Priscilla Grim of Sunset Park

“Power on: Borderlands 2, X-COM: Enemy Unknown, Netflix. Power off: Osmos on my tablet and a huge stack of comics I haven’t read yet.” — Jonathan Dawkins of Bensonhurst.

— Danielle Furfaro

BREAD LINES: If you were looking for a loaf of bread at the Key Food on Fifth Avenue in Park Slope at 3 pm on Sunday, you were out of luck.
Photo by Benjamin Muessig

3:25 pm: Sheepshead bites is the first to report on a Con-Edison power outage map that now appears to show 1,109 homes in Gerritsen Beach and Marine Park without electricity. The power company aims to restore service by 9 pm.

2:58 pm: Feeling unprepared for the arrival of Sandy? You’re in luck, because a Bedford–Stuyvesant entrepreneur has you covered until the very last minute.

The wine shop Breukelen Cellars is still open and offering “Hurricane Wine Delivery” to thirsty Brooklynites living in Prospect Heights, Crown Heights, and Bedford–Stuyvesant.

“A lot of our regulars have nowhere to go, so they’re going to hang out with old friends and a bottle of wine,” said owner John Samuel, owner of the Bed-Stuy wine cellar.

“We’ll be here at least until dark,” said Samuel. “And then we’ll see.”

— Danielle Furfaro

2:31 pm: What’s it looking like out there in your neighborhood? Let us know in the comments, or at @Brooklyn_Paper.

2:08 pm: Here are some storm updates from across the borough:

• The woman struck in the head by a falling tree branches this morning in Greenpoint has been treated and released, according to the Daily News.

• A humongous arbor has fallen on Garfield Street between Sixth and Seventh avenues in Park Slope — and the blog Park Slope Stoop has the details.

• More trees are down in Bay Ridge; one at 78th Street and Colonial Road, and one on 75th Street between Fourth and Fifth avenues.

Waters rose on Neptune Avenue near W. 33rd Street around 9:30 am, and on Beach 48th Street around 11:30 am.

Both times, the swell retreated in less than 30 minutes,

Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny (D–Coney Island) hopes the same will happen when the brunt of the storm is slated to his Brooklyn tonight.

“So far, so good, but we’re crossing our fingers for what’s going to happen at 8 pm,” he said.

• Our Gravesend reporter ran into two police officers at Avenue U and Van Siclen Street who are based out of Williamsburg but were assigned to a 12-hour shift on the other end of the borough.

• As we previously reported, Emmons Avenue has been closed in both directions, and Manhattan Beach is shut down at West End Avenue.

Sandy is now less than 260 miles from New York City.

1:26 pm: Is it too early to start drinking?

No, our sources say.

With Brooklynites across the borough holed up inside their apartments waiting for Sandy to pass, many are turning to the bottle — or at least looking forward to the time when it is socially acceptable to do so.

And while safety is foremost to the Brooklyn Paper, our sources say 1:26 pm is not too early to crack one open (and safely weather the storm inside your own home).

SAFE AND SAND: A couple sits on the Coney Island Boardwalk safely (for now!) behind a man-made sand dune.
Photo by Elizabeth Graham

Journalist and Clinton Hill resident Michael McLaughlin says now is not the time to worry about etiquette.

“This is a survival situation so all normal rules are thrown out the window,” said McLaughlin. “Anything goes.”

One source who spoke on the condition that we not publish his name because he is “working from home” said a beer is helping him get through office-related e-mails and pre-storm jitters.

Others say it’s not too early start, but warn readers not to get blackout drunk before a potential blackout.

“During a hurricane it’s never too early too drink, but obviously you might put your safety at risk,” said Bushwick resident Brett Casper. “You probably shouldn’t be wandering to far from shelter drunk.”

1:04 pm: Jimmy Kimmel has cancelled tonight’s Brooklyn show at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Entertainment Weekly reports. The plan is to tape tomorrow.

1:01 pm: The Brooklyn Battery Tunnel will close in less than one hour.

12:52 pm: Experts say the real threat that Hurricane Sandy poses on Brooklyn is its potentially devastating storm surge, which could push water far ashore. The flooding itself is bad, but what happens when that water is mixed with the toxic sludge at the bottom of the Gowanus Canal? New York Magazine investigates.

12:36 pm: It’s getting hard to get around southern Brooklyn.

Emmons Avenue will be shut down in both directions due to rising flood waters in Sheepshead Bay, according to 61st Precinct Commanding Officer John Chell.

Shore Boulevard in Manhattan Beach will also be closed to vehicles. Chell says the only people who will be allowed in or out of the area will be residents, family members, and employees who have identification — and they’ll be routed south to West End Avenue, then to Oriential Boulevard.

The calm before the storm: Brooklynites enjoyed a last ride or jog — while city vehicles prepped for the cleanup.

— Colin Mixson

12:16 pm: More on that fallen tree in Bay Ridge from beat reporter Will Bredderman:

Winds from the hurricane uprooted a tree — and a chunk of sidewalk — on Bay Ridge Parkway between Fourth and Fifth avenues around 10 am and pitched it against the two nearby houses.

Stella Kokolis says she saw the tree fall and graze her home.

“I was by the door when I saw it start to come down. I got scared and went in, I didn’t know what was going on. I didn’t know if another tree would fall,” said Kokolis, who added that her neighbors — whose home got the bulk of the timber — had fled with their children.

Police and the Fire Department quickly arrived on the scene to make sure the tree posed no further danger, and notified the Parks Department. Kokolis said that the agencies had already removed the branches touching her property, and that she had yet to check for damage.

Fire Department spokesman Frank Dwyer warned residents to call 911 immediately when they see a tree fall, and to avoid arbors at all costs.

“In a storm like this, with such high and sustained winds, falling trees and branches are a definite hazard, and as officials have been saying for days, if you don’t need to be outside, stay indoors,” said Dwyer, who added that dropping timber often brings down live electric lines.

State Sen. Marty Golden (R–Bay Ridge), who notified us of the collapse and posted a photo on Twitter, repeated calls for residents to seek shelter.

“Everyone should be taking every precaution possible so to ensure their personal safety during the duration of Hurricane Sandy. There is no reason to put yourself or any emergency service workers in danger,” the official said.

— Will Bredderman

CATCH A WAVE: Coney Island beach looked more like Hawaii as the storm approached.
Photo by Elizabeth Graham

11:55 am: Some Brooklynites are showing their resolve in the face of Hurricane Sandy. Others are showing their snark. Here are some of our favorite storm-related witticisms:

• NEW YORK: i am building an ark with 2 of each new yorker archetype, to repopulate after #sandy. 2 brooklyn hipsters, 2 fat loud yankee fans — @mattomic

• It’s and REI and LL Bean fashion show #Sandy #ZoneA #Williamsburg — @AlexanderRea

• #Sandy hitting NYC; Brooklyn reports thousands of well-groomed mustaches blown astray. — @OneSadBastard

• um a hibachi grill and a bucket just landed on my fire escape #sandy #brooklyn — @iamrickylewis

We’ll add more throughout the day, so leave ’em in the comments or give us a shout at @Brooklyn_Paper.

11:45 am: Forget snow days — students public schools will get another “Hurricane Day” off of school tomorrow, Mayor Bloomberg announces at a press conference.

11:26 am: The waters look rough off of Seagate — see the above video!

11:03 am: Trees are coming down.

A big arbor has fallen on Bay Ridge Parkway near the Fifth Avenue office of state Sen. Marty Golden (R–Bay Ridge). Meanwhile in Greenpoint, a person on Freeman Street was struck by a falling tree, according to the city’s alerts system.

SMASHING: Huge waves crash into the Steeplechase Pier in Coney Island.
Photo by Elizabeth Graham

10:32 am: The Brooklyn Battery tunnel will close at 2 pm, Gov. Cuomo says.

10:26 am: Justin Brannan, an aide to Councilman Vincent Gentile (D–Bay Ridge) aide is taken a laissez-faire approach to storm preparation, writing on Facebook:

“I’m too lazy to tie down my porch furniture so I’m just going to write my name and address on it.”

10:08 am: We’re seeing pics of high water everywhere, from Second Street in Gowanus to the pier at the foot of N. Fifth Street in Williamsburg.

9:52 am: What’s it like in your neighborhood? Tweet us at @Brooklyn_Paper and let us know — and stay safe!

9:31 am: There are power outages in East Flastbush, according to the city’s alerts system. Have you lost your power? If so, let us know in the comments … oh, wait.

9:17 am: Any Bay Ridge residents who aren’t completely freaked out by neighborhood reporting legend Matt Lysiak’s terrifying photos of rising waters at the 69th Street Pier can brave the storm for a sweet reward: Leske’s Bakery on Fifth Avenue is open for business.

9:10 am: Caution drivers: there’s flooding on the Belt Parkway between Bay Eighth Street and Bay Parkway, according to CBS New York.

9:01 am: Councilman Brad Lander (D–Park Slope) tweets a picture of morning high tide on the Gowanus Canal nearing the Carroll Street bridge.

8:45 am: The water is rising in Red Hook — check out this amazing photo by @dustintodd.

8:31 am: Are you in an evacuation zone? Do you know where to find shelter in the event of an emergency? The New York Times has a handy interactive feature that can help you answer both of those questions.

KEEP OUT: The footbridge on Emmons Avenue is was closed by police.
Photo by Elizabeth Graham

8:24 am: Sandy is now less than 340 miles away from New York City and forecast to hit the New Jersey coast tonight, which, according to the National Weather Service, is a “worst case scenario.”

8:17 am: Prospect Park is quiet this morning with a few runners and cyclists getting in their last workouts before the storm — and the city staging vehicles for the impending cleanup.

7:52 am: Let’s talk provisions. Bananas, bottled water, and bread were hard to come by at the Key Food on Fifth Avenue between Baltic Street and Sterling Place. What items were hot commodities in your neighborhood?

7:35 am: Bored with the view out your window? Watch the storm as it rolls through DUMBO thanks to the design firm Oak Studios, which was kind enough to post a live streaming video from inside an evacuation area. We’ve embedded their video at the bottom of this page.

7:18 am: Here’s one guy who isn’t evacuating: Jimmy Kimmel. The late-night star will not cancel his much-hyped, week-long move of “Jimmy Kimmel Live” from Los Angeles to the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

“We are bringing in back-up generators and will be able to do our show in the event of a power failure,” a show source told Entertainment Weekly.

“We have had no audience drop-outs so far despite news of the storm.”

7:06 am: What’s it like out there? Tell us in the comments or e-mail newsroom@cnglocal.com!

6:47 am: Not everyone agrees with Mayor Bloomberg’s decision to evacuate low-lying areas. Manhattan Beach resident and Community Board 15 chairwoman Teresa Schavo says she is staying put.

“I’m not moving,” said Community Board 15 chairwoman and Manhattan Beach resident Teresa Scavo. “They tell you it’s a mandatory evacuation, but they do not have the resources to knock on your door and tell you to get out.”

Bloomberg said yesterday that evacuations from neighborhoods including Red Hook, Coney Island, Manhattan Beach will protect Brooklynites from a dangerous storm surge.

BAD MOON RISING: The water level creeps higher, and police close Emmons Avenue in Sheepshead Bay.
Photo by Elizabeth Graham

“I can’t stress enough that this is for your own safety, and that if you refuse to evacuate, you’re not only putting yourself at risk, but also the first responders who will have to assist you in an emergency.”

6:31 am: Good morning, Brooklyn. While we slept, Sandy got stronger. The storm’s maximum sustained winds have increased to about 85 miles per hour, with even more powerful gusts, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Sandy is about 385 miles away from New York City.

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