Will be among 10 costliest ever ever.
Superstorm Sandy may cause upwards of $20 billion in damages, the forecasting firm HIS Global Insight is reporting. In addition, its ripple effects could lead to between $10 billion and $30 billion in lost business. In the short term, Sandy could lead to a 0.6 percentage point subtraction from U.S. economic growth in the October-December quarter. In the end, Sandy is expected to rank among the 10 costliest hurricanes in U.S. history, though it won’t reach the $108 billion toll of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
If you didn’t know better, you’d think the Big Apple was sinking. From Midtown to the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, watch Hurricane Sandy submerge the city.
Brooklyn Battery Tunnel
In this surreal footage, water gushes into the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel. With the exception of the Lincoln Tunnel, all major bridges and tunnels in and out of Manhattan were closed on Monday, leaving the island almost completely isolated. The water level at Battery Park was measured at a record 13.88 feet.
The storm also pummeled the East Village and Lower East Side, turning the neighborhoods into a veritable Waterworld. This video captures rivers flowing through the residential community of Stuyvesant Town, nearly drowning parked cars.
While lower Manhattan was hit hard, the storm’s surge didn’t spare certain sections of midtown and upper Manhattan.
Pouring rain, vicious wind, and a roaring line of ambulances aren't ideal conditions for newborns. But despite Hurricane Sandy, they still came—and then were evacuated. Abby Haglage reports from NYU’s Tisch Hospital.
Weaving through the jungle of wailing ambulances on 1st Avenue was a bright-eyed young dad, light-blue bassinet in tow. Amid worried NYPD, paramedics, nurses, and doctors, he glowed. As the new dad rushed by the guards to make it inside, onlookers offered encouragement. "Wow, heck of a day to have a baby!" one man yelled. "Actually, I'm lucky," the new father shouted back, "bringing him home."
Two hundred people—including more than 20 newborns—were forced to evacuate. Firefighters carried some of the babies down nine flights of stairs. "Due to the severity of Hurricane Sandy and the higher-than-expected storm surge, we are in the process of transferring approximately 215 patients within the medical center to nearby facilities," said a spokesperson Tuesday morning. With the critical patients already taken to safety, it was the elderly, psychiatric patients, and healthy newborns that remained in the hospital.
The army of ambulances was exactly as it sounded—an army. Dispatched from all corners of the United States, it was the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at its finest. Paramedics, search-and-rescue workers, and emergency medical technicians from all over the U.S. got a call from FEMA asking for help. And they came.
Efrain Carrasquillo, 53, flew from Miami to Atlanta, where FEMA’s Regional IV Office is housed. There, he and dozens of others began the 14-hour drive in their ambulances to New York. "I'm just here to help," he said, "I don't know much." Waiting patiently in a line of at least 30 ambulances, Carrasquillo was to transport a psych patient to Mt. Sinai.
Scott Hunt, 46, traveled all the way from Topeka, Kan. He had just been deployed from Fort Dix, N.J., where FEMA galvanized its force of firefighters, paramedics, search-and-rescue specialists, and structural engineers for both New Jersey and New York. Robyn Schulz, formerly a New Yorker herself, hailed from Atlanta. James Foster, 50, traveled from San Antonio. Near the end of a line of ambulances, he sipped coffee and smiled. "American Medical Response," he said, referring to the medical-transportation service, "this is what we do."
Gushing rain and vicious wind—not to mention a roaring line of ambulances—aren't ideal conditions to introduce a new baby to the world. Yet, out the babies came. A new mom, surrounded by four nurses, took small steps in fluffy slippers as she clutched her newborn in a bundle of white blankets. And then another couple. Next, a weary expectant mother came through the doors in a wheelchair, palm to forehead.
Hurricane Sandy’s wrath is a reminder of the artistic theory of the sublime, which got nature’s fury to inspire great works, says Blake Gopnik.
On Monday night, as reports came in of Hurricane Sandy's landfall on the Jersey Shore, the one word, and the one emotion, that kept coming up was “awe.” Reporters were in awe of the storm surge, of the winds, of the destruction. Listening to their charged words, you got carried, Miss Clavel-like, to the scene of the disaster. Some of us also got carried back in time by about two centuries, when the idea of standing in awe of nature’s power—the sublime, it was called, “an agreeable kind of horror"—was at the heart of a lot of the best art being made.
"Whatever is fitted in any sort to excite the ideas of pain, and danger, that is to say, whatever is in any sort terrible, or is conversant about terrible objects, or operates in a manner analogous to terror, is a source of the sublime,” wrote Edmund Burke in 1757, turning the idea into a full-blown aesthetic theory.
Ludwig van Beethoven bought into it, in 1808 in the famous storm movement in his Sixth Symphony, but also in all the stormy passages in his other pieces. J.M.W. Turner did, too, in his amazing paintings of tempests at sea from around the same date. (It wasn’t enough for Turner to simulate the sublime in paint; he also needed to experience it directly, by having himself lashed to a ship’s mast during a storm—
or at least so he claimed to have done.)
Most other artists in the years to either side of 1800 at least dipped into the terror of nature and the uncontrolled emotions it provoked. (I’m listening to tempestuous bits of Schubert as I write.) The sublime seemed such a natural, necessary part of art making that entire aesthetic systems were built around it, and they’re still central to discussions in philosophy departments.
What’s interesting is that the sublime has almost completely disappeared from the art that’s actually being made today. There are some guitar blasts in heavy metal and hardcore, but they don’t seem to
have much to do with nature, and have less to do with fear: They seem mostly about the power of audio technology to overwhelm our eardrums.
Today’s visual art seems equally sublime-free; our most important artists prefer effects that are relatively small and cerebral and human-scaled. Hollywood movies may be the one area where what you
could call the Imax sublime is in play, although the out-of-control nature we confront in a CGI blockbuster is more likely to be found in outer space than down here on earth.
"The Shipwreck," first exhibited by Joseph Mallord William Turner in 1805. (Tate Collection)
We 21st-century earthlings have become so distanced from the terrors of nature that most of the time we don’t care enough about them to turn them into art. Even when we head to a high mountaintop, there’s so much reassuring technology built into our trip that we can barely imagine anything going wrong. (Our most terrifying nature moment in recent years may have been that hiker’s encounter with a falling boulder in Utah, and the amputation of his own hand with a pocket-knife which, in cinematic art, got acted out by James Franco as an internal psychological drama, almost kitchen-sink scaled, with nature in the background.)
Through Pennsylvania, then Ontario.
Sandy may have ravaged New York City, but she isn’t done yet. The hurricane is heading west through the south of Pennsylvania and western New York state, with furious 65mph winds and rain. After flooding Georgia and Maine Tuesday morning, the storm has brought upon a blizzard warning and three feet of snow expected in West Virginia. The storm is no longer expected to head to the Northeast and New England. As it moves inland there will be less rain, but wind speeds will likely remain high. After hitting the U.S., Sandy is expected to go to southern Ontario on Wednesday.
At least 10 in New York City.
The official death toll in the U.S. from the superstorm Sandy climbed to 35 by Tuesday, with most of the fatalities being attributed to falling trees. The storm continued on its path through Pennsylvania, cutting power to about 8 million people. The storm’s winds weakened to about 45 miles per hour, but forecasters were still warning that more flooding could be on the way especially as Sandy makes her way towards the Great Lakes. New Jersey and New York City bore the brunt of the storm with whole neighborhoods underwater and the transit systems shut down indefinitely.
Seaside Heights roller coaster ends up in water.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Tuesday that the devastation to the state’s historic coast is “unthinkable” in the wake of the deadly “Frankenstorm”—and that it would be “completely unsafe” for anyone to return home immediately. A roller coaster in Seaside Heights (source NBC4) was literally thrown into the water. “It is beyond anything I would ever see,” a somber Christie told reporters. Christie said he didn’t give “a lick” about Election Day, saying “I’ve got bigger fish to fry.” Christie also praised President Obama, saying “he assured me we would have an expedited process with FEMA.” Sandy made landfall near Atlantic City, and the city’s historic boardwalk was swept away with water.
As Manhattan reels from the monster storm, The Daily Beast reports on the flooding, power outages, and more. Plus, check out the storm tracker on the right side of the page to see where Hurricane Sandy is now.
TUESDAY, OCT. 30
Screwed in Red Hook
by Eliza Shapiro
Five feet of seawater tore through the streets of the low-lying Brooklyn neighborhood Monday night. While the owner of one flooded bar is pledging to stay open, a teary billiards-hall proprietor says she’s ruined. Eliza Shapiro reports.
Manhattanites Assess the Damage
by Matthew DeLuca
A brilliant explosion, and then darkness: the morning after the Frankenstorm, Matthew DeLuca reports on the scene in lower Manhattan.
David Letterman films without audience.
No time for jokes in New York City. The massive Hurricane Sandy caused late-night comedy shows to cancel their performances on Monday night, and even Jimmy Kimmel canceled his much-touted Barclays Center performance. David Letterman made the best use of the phrase “The show must go on,” taping his show but without the live studio audience. Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert both canceled tapings, and there was no word yet whether they would resume on Tuesday. Journey’s Barclays Center performance, scheduled for Tuesday, was canceled, and the benefit concert Freedom to Love Now! was postponed to spring 2013.
The powerful storm battered the Lower Manhattan neighborhood, submerging police cars and blocking the sewage system with debris as wary residents watched for possible looters.
It was around 8:15 p.m. when residents on the Lower East Side saw the sky flash emerald green.
Vehicles are submerged on 14th Street in New York’s Alphabet City on Oct. 29. (John Minchillo / AP Photo)
"There were three flashes of light and then we heard one big blast of noise," said Emily Van Scoi of Boston, who was visiting friends from New York University. At 9 p.m., she said, everything went black. All of Lower Manhattan had lost power—and remained without it as of 6 a.m.
"Con Edison left me an automated message earlier and sent me two emails warning that our power might go out," said Joan Silveira, 19, who had walked a block from his apartment toward Avenue D and 2nd Street to see the floodwaters spilling into Alphabet City from the East River.
The streets were black aside from the distant flashing red and blue lights of fire trucks and police cars responding to Hurricane Sandy.
"We haven't seen any looters yet," said Silveira. "But I suspect that's why there are cops everywhere."
Six blocks north, on 8th Street, flooding was inexplicably worse between Avenue C and B, where a slew of police cars were submerged. Residents poked their heads out their windows several stories up and watched water rushing down the street, carrying along bicycles, mattresses, and other debris.
"It's like a funnel," someone remarked, standing thigh-deep in water on the sidewalk.
Everyday New York is closed could cost $10 billion.
Hurricane Sandy brought the financial world to its knees as well, with the stock market closing Tuesday, for the second straight day, in the aftermath of the hurricane. Wall Street worried about whether the markets will open by Wednesday, the last day of trading for the month of October, when traders price portfolios. Economists said the massive storm is unlikely to cause financial damage as severe as 2005’s Hurricane Katrina, and the damage to the economy should be short-lived. But, economists warned, gross domestic product in the Northeast is about $2.5 trillion, and every day the region is shut down could cost about $10 billion in forgone output.
After Sandy kills 51.
Haiti still reeled on Tuesday from the effects of Hurricane Sandy, which hit the country with three days of rain and left 51 people dead so far, the highest death toll of any country. The United Nations warned that flooding and unsanitary conditions could lead to a cholera epidemic, two years after a cholera epidemic in 2010 sickened 600,000 people and killed more than 7,400. Crops were also wiped out by the storm, with Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe saying the hurricane had been devastating even by international standards, and the country would be making an appeal for emergency aid.
At least two deaths at Jersey shore.
The famed Atlantic City boardwalk was flooded Tuesday morning, hours after the storm made landfall nearby at 8 p.m. on Monday. “The city is under siege,” said Thomas Foley, the chief of the city’s emergency management. “I’ve never seen anything like this.” At least two deaths in the city were blamed on the storm. While the casinos’ lights still shone, winds whipped by at 80 miles per hour while water washed into the city’s streets, trapping anyone who stayed. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie lashed out at Atlantic City Mayor Lorenzo Langford on Monday, with the governor saying he could not “in good conscience send rescuers in” since the mayor had told residents they could stay if they could not find a way to leave.
All 215 patients are evacuated from NYU hospital.
New York City’s transit chief called Hurricane Sandy the most “devastating” event to the city’s subway system ever while the rest of the city reeled from the storm early Tuesday morning. As of Monday night, seven subway tunnels under the East River had flooded, as did the Queens Midtown Tunnel—and Metropolitan Transit Authority chairman Joseph Lhota said there is “no firm timeline” for when the system would be back up and running, even as nearly every bridge and tunnel out of Manhattan was closed down. A backup electrical system failed New York University Medical Center, one of the city’s best hospitals, forcing the evacuation all 215 patients in the strong wind gusts. Meanwhile, a six-alarm fire at Breezy Point in southern Queens had destroyed 50 houses, with 198 firefighters fighting the blaze.
The nation’s capital is deserted as Hurricane Sandy strikes. Lauren Ashburn talks to a few of the hardy souls, from tourists to construction workers to a pizzeria manager, who braved the torrential rains.
One block from the White House, a forlorn figure in a blue blazer, head down, umbrella high, moves quickly down the windswept street. He is one of the brave few on the streets of Washington as sheets of rain marked the beginning of Hurricane Sandy’s assault on the capital.
A bicyclist on the deserted Pennsylvania Avenue in downtown Washington D.C., on Oct. 29. Federal offices in the capital area were closed as Hurricane Sandy came crashing into the East Coast. The U.S. Office of Personnel Management announced that only emergency employees were to report to work. (Mladen Antonov / Getty Images)
"I was trying to attend the press briefing at the White House, my very first time," said Ben Bowman, a Northwestern University journalism grad student studying in Washington for a semester. "It turns out when they say the briefing is at 12:45, you've got to get there 20 minutes early."
The usually teeming Federal City is a ghost town. Not one person could be seen on Independence Avenue, where rows of bland neoclassical federal buildings have been shuttered. On Pennsylvania Avenue, along the heavily fortified pedestrian walkway in front of the White House, nary a visitor dared to stand up to the whipping winds and sideways sheets of Sandy-driven rain. Even the omnipresent protesters have taken the day off.
And there was no news at the Newseum: its sidewalk glass cases were displaying worldwide newspaper front pages from yesterday.
Despite the extreme weather, a few hardy souls were gathered in the torrential rain on the National Mall, across from the Capitol, seemingly in no hurry. "We wanted to take a picture," a drenched Wand Yu-Hon explained, as if it were the most natural thing in the world. They had come from China.
“It took us so long to get here," her friend Olga added. "We don't have so much time."
They soon rejoined a bus of 16 Chinese tourists, whose next stop is Boston—which also is being hit hard by the hurricane.
Team Rubicon, a nonprofit that deploys veterans to help with disaster recovery, did their part to aid victims of Hurricane Sandy in lower Manhattan last week. Team member Curtis Coleman, a former Marine, shares his thoughts on heroic leadership.
As Hurricane Sandy barrels toward the northeast, see some of the most hilarious wind-blown reports.