SANDY DAY 2: Brooklyn’s definitive hurricane liveblog

IT’S A BROOKLYN CYCLONE: The borough’s definitive Hurricane Sandy liveblog
Photo by Bess Adler

The storm has passed — and Brooklyn is out surveying the damage.

Hurricane Sandy swept across the borough last night, downing trees, damaging homes, flooding streets, and crippling an entire city. As Brooklynites assess the destruction and deal with the aftermath, we’ll be here covering it as best we can.

6:42 pm: We’re going to put our liveblog to bed — unless there’s breaking news. Thanks for reading and check back tomorrow for more storm coverage.

6:20 pm: Updates from Mayor Bloomberg’s press conference:

• There are about 36,000 Brooklynites without power, many of them in and around Coney Island and Brighton Beach, according to Con Edison CEO Kevin Burke.

• You can’t take the subway, but you can share a cab. Mayor Bloomberg will allow taxis to pick up multiple fares at one time, and permit livery cabs to make street hails in the aftermath of the storm.

• Want to volunteer? Register at Facebook.com/nycserviceassistance.

• Did the storm damage your home or business? Apply for federal disaster assistance at DisasterAssistance.gov.

6:01 pm: Sandy didn’t hurt the horses.

The historic equines at Jane’s Carousel in Brooklyn Bridge Park were not damaged by rising floodwaters, according to Jane Walentas.

“The wooden carousel and horses, as well as the building, are all fine,” she wrote on Facebook. “Unfortunately, however, the basement that houses all the electronics was totally flooded — five feet of water. As soon as we can pump it out we’ll assess the damage. We’re optimistic that the Carousel will be fine, but it will probably take some time to get it fully restored to happily prancing again.”

The carousel transformed from a popular amusement to a symbol of Brooklyn’s resolve when a photo showing the historic amusement surrounded by floodwater hit the web following the storm.

— Colin Mixson

5:52 pm: Coney Island USA founder Dick Zigun says he was hit hard by the hurricane.

Sandy cleared out his first floor gift shop and bar, destroying his freaky merchandise during a devastating storm surge that sent him dashing to safety.

“Thousands of Coney Island people, residents and businesses — whoever was on the ground floor — were hit with a Katrina-like situation,” said Zigun.

— Will Bredderman

5:26 pm: Traffic lights across Southern Brooklyn are on the fritz. Things are particularly dicey at the intersection of Ocean Parkway and Avenue U where stoplights not operating. Drivers heading across town should avoid Avenue U, and take Avenue T instead.

There are multiple trees down on Van Sicklen Street, at Gravesend Neck Road and between Avenues U and T.

— Colin Mixson

5:07 pm: Coney Island’s legendary Wonder Wheel suffered minor saltwater — but ride operator Deno Vourderis says fixing it won’t be cheap.

The amusement’s electronics, warehouse, and maintenance shop were hit, though the wheel itself fared well.

Still, the bills are adding up.

“We have no insurance, so all of our repairs will be out of pocket,” said Vourderis, who plans to apply for federal aid. “It’s going to be a major cleanup.”

— Will Bredderman

4:56 pm: Fear not, joggers: the ING New York City Marathon is not scared of Sandy.

The 26.2-mile race will start on Sunday as planned, the New York Times and Daily News report.

4:20 pm: A Brooklyn writer tied her apartment’s roof back on and held it down throughout the storm.

3:52 pm: The Observer has identified the woman and man killed by a falling tree in Ditmas Park as Jessie Streich-Kest and Jacob Vogelman.

The pair braved the storm to walk a dog, according to the Daily News.

3:32 pm: Still waiting on that food delivery you called in last night? The Huffington Post tells the story of the borough’s delivery men, and the hungry-but-unprepared Brooklynites who placed orders during the storm.

3:06 pm: Two Iraq War veterans rescued stranded Gerritsen Beach residents last night. Read about it at NY1.

2:55 pm: Park wherever you’d like tomorrow — the city will not enforce alternate-side parking rules or parking meters on Oct. 31.

2:28 pm: Getting to work is going to be difficult tomorrow with subways out of service — so the city must create emergency bike and bus lanes, according to the cycling and walking advocates at Transportation Alternatives.

The group is calling on Mayor Bloomberg to implement “emergency bus lanes” and “emergency biking lanes” on popular routes, Dana Rubenstein of Capital New York reports.

Firefighters inspect a fallen tree that took out power lines on 89th Street in Bay Ridge on Monday afternoon.
Photo by Elizabeth Graham

1:53 pm: Some buses will be back on the streets by 5 pm, according to Gov. Cuomo and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

It will be free to hop on and off the buses, which will operate on a Sunday schedule.

Buses will operate on a weekday schedule tomorrow — and they will remain free.

1:48 pm: The Park Slope Civic Council will cancel tomorrow night’s planned Halloween Parade, according to Community Board 6 district manager Craig Hammerman. It will not be rescheduled.

1:27 pm: Coney Island’s landmarked Shore Theater has seen better days.

1:15 pm: Can’t get a ticket to see Jimmy Kimmel tape his show in Brooklyn tonight (yes, it’s apparently going on as planned despite yesterday’s cancellation)? You can still catch a flick at the Brooklyn Heights Cinema or the Nitehawk Cinema (136 Metropolitan Ave. between Berry Street and Wythe Avenue in Williamsburg).

• The Brooklyn Heights Cinema (70 Henry St. at Orange Street in Brooklyn Heights) opens at 2:30 for a 3 pm matinee screening of “The Master” and “The Other Son.”

• Nitehawk Cinema (136 Metropolitan Ave. between Berry Street and Wythe Avenue in Williamsburg) open for all regular scheduled screenings of “Looper,” “The Master,” and “Seven Psychopaths.”

1:06 pm: Rep. Bob Turner (R–Sheepshead Bay) lost his home in the horrific fire that tore through Breezy Point, Queens last night.

12:45 pm: Will Hurricane Sandy postpone the Brooklyn Nets opening game at the Barclays Center on Thursday? New York Times reporter Howard Beck puts up the question, and the NBA deflects the answer.

12:30 pm: Ditmas Park Patch reports that the man and woman killed by a falling tree last night on Ditmas Avenue were out walking their dog.

12:23 pm: Power is out in Dyker Heights between 10th and 13th avenues and 68th and 86th streets, according to state Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R–Bay Ridge).

Bay Ridge evaded severe damage, according to the politician, who also represents a portion of Staten Island that she says was “devastated” by Hurricane Sandy.”

“Luckily Bay Ridge has survived the storm for the most part,” said Malliotakis. “I have received reports of downed trees and power lines that have blocked streets. We are asking people to stay home unless it is an emergency situation, so streets do not get clogged and emergency vehicles can get through.”

— Will Bredderman

11:46 am: A million bees living on the banks of the East River met a horrible end last night when Hurricane Sandy tore their hives apart.

The insects were part of a honey-making plan by the urban farmers at the Brooklyn Grange, who maintained 25 hives — each containing about 40,000 bees — on Pier K at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

But that waterfront location was right in the path of Sandy’s devastating storm surge.

“All our hives that were out on the pier were destroyed,” said Chase Emmons, a managing partner and the chief beekeeper at Brooklyn Grange.

An additional 10 hives located on Brooklyn Grange’s rooftop farm survived — but the loss is catastrophic for the city’s largest apiary.

Emmons knew before the storm that the hives were at risk.

“There was little we could do without a Herculean effort,” he said.

What’s most heartbreaking, said Emmons, is that all of the lost hives were donated by a retired Pennsylvania beekeeper last year — so they housed extra-hearty bees with stellar genetics.

“The biggest loss is to our selective breeding genetic program. Our plan is to end up with bees that are well suited to the New York environment,” said Emmons. “This puts us back at least a year.”

But Emmons is confident that the Brooklyn Grange’s bee program will be up and running again next summer.

“Live and learn,” said Emmons, who noted that Brooklyn Grange workers will assess the equipment and see what they can salvage tomorrow. “You’ve got to come back stronger.”

— Danielle Furfaro

11:36 am: Here’s one way to stay high and dry. Brooklyn Boulders — the borough’s pre-eminent rock-climbing facility — will be open today until 1 pm at the earliest.

11:33 am: Want to help out? The Red Cross is accepting volunteers and this evacuation map shows shelters near you. Or donate adult and kids clothing at John Jay High School on Seventh Avenue between Fourth and Fifth streets in Park Slope.

11:25 am: Police believe the two individuals found dead under a fallen tree in Ditmas Park were struck last night, according to Office Kim Walker of the 70th Precinct.

Investigators believe the still-unidentified male and female victims were in their 20s and were hit at around 9:30 pm yesterday.

Their bodies were discovered on Ditmas Avenue this morning at around 8:30 am, Walker said.

11:14 am: Schools will be closed tomorrow, according to Mayor Bloomberg.

11:10 am: “There is no firm timeline for the reactivation of bus or train service,” Mayor Bloomberg announces at a press conference, before stating subways may not return for three to five days.

10:38 am: The Williamsburg, Manhattan, and Brooklyn Bridges have reopened, CBS New York reports — but city officials are urging drivers to keep off them unless absolutely necessary.

10:14 am: The Brooklyn Bridge is now open to traffic, WPIX reports.

10:04 am: UPDATED: Here’s the list of places where you can get a cup of coffee.

Police taped off the pier as water continued to rise and flood the landing.
Photo by Elizabeth Graham

• Crespella (321 Seventh Ave. between Eighth and Ninth streets in Park Slope)

• Cafe Grumpy (383 Seventh Ave. between 11th and 12th streets in Park Slope)

• Cafe Grumpy (193 Meserole Ave. at Diamond Street in Greenpoint)

• Oslo Coffee Roasters (133 Roebling St. between N. Fourth and N. Fifth streets in Wiliamsburg)

• Oslo Coffee Roasters (328 Bedford Ave. between S. Second and S. Third streets in Williamsburg)

• Cafe Martin (355 Fifth Ave. between Fourth and Fifth streets in Park Slope)

• Brooklyn Label (180 Franklin St. at Java Street in Greenpoint)

• Crop to Cup (541 Third Avenue between 13th and 14th streets in Gowanus)

• Archway Cafe (57 Pearl St. between Water and Front streets in DUMBO)

• Olde Brooklyn Bagel Shoppe (645 Vanderbilt Ave. at Prospect Place in Prospect Heights)

Southside Coffee (652 Sixth Ave. at 19th Street in Greenwood Heights)

Sit and Wonder (688 Washington Ave. between St. Marks Avenue and Prospect Place in Prospect Heights)

Blue Sky Bakery (53 Fifth Ave. between Bergen Street and St. Marks Place in Park Slope)

This list is incomplete and we’ll update it if we hear more.

9:58 am: Councilman Brad Lander (D–Park Slope) has put out the call for volunteers at the Park Slope Armory and John Jay High School, which are serving as storm shelters.

9:35 am: WNBC’s Shimon Prokupecz reports that a man and a woman were “found dead, pinned under a tree” in Ditmas Park. The Twitter user @NYScanner says the incident occurred at E. 19th Street and Ditmas Avenue.

The NYPD’s press office did not answer the phone when contacted repeatedly by The Brooklyn Paper.

We will update as soon as we learn more.

9:24 am: The popular lobster roll slingers at Red Hook Lobster Pound need your help.

They say there is four feet of water in their Red Hook facility, which might be good for lobsters, but is definitely not good for those who eat them or sell them.


9:22 am: UPDATE: This photo of the flooded 86th Street subway station is stunning. We can’t vouch for its authenticity, but our commentators have deduced that it depicts the N line in Gravesend, not the R line in Bay Ridge. Thanks for the feedback!

8:55 am: Here’s a short and incomplete list of places where you can get coffee:

• Cafe Martin (355 Fifth Ave. between Fourth and Fifth streets in Park Slope)

• Brooklyn Label (180 Franklin St. at Java Street in Greenpoint)

• Crop to Cup (541 Third Avenue between 13th and 14th streets in Gowanus)

We’ll add more places once we find out they’re open.

8:49 am: If you outside, please check on your neighbors.

8:43 am: Mayor Bloomberg wants city employees to report to work today if their offices are open — but laborers at the Park Slope Food Co-op have the day off at least until 3:30 pm, according to the Union Street organic produce mecca’s website. Co-op workers who miss a shift due to Sandy must work a make-up shift to remain in good standing.

8:38 am: Words of advice from the Twitter accounts of Mayor Bloomberg and his staff:

Water from your faucet is safe to drink.

To report fallen trees, text 311692 — and only call 911 for life-threatening emergencies.

Tree limbs and downed wires remain a threat.

8:34 am: Attention Prospect Park-goers: a walk around the loop might feel more like a hike today.

8:26 am: There are 75,423 Brooklynites without power right now, according to legendary journalist and new Brooklyn resident Pat Kiernan.

8:20 am: Subway service remains with water flooding multiple East River tunnels. The Brooklyn–Battery Tunnel is flooded from end to end, according to Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman Joeseph Lhota — who said the 108-year-old subway system “has never faced a disaster as devastating as what we experienced last night.”

8:03 am: Last night’s storm surge inundated low-lying areas across the borough. Above are three videos that show the rising waters in Gowanus, Greenpoint, and Brighton Beach. Send us links to more videos and we’ll get them on our page ([email protected] or @Brooklyn_Paper).

7:47 am: Good morning, Brooklyn. The worst of Sandy is over — now is the time to see what damage has been done. Please be safe when leaving your homes and be sure to check in on neighbors who may need some assistance.

Shutterbug: Our photographer captures a man taking his own picture of Sandy’s waves battering the pier.
Photo by Elizabeth Graham