Tagged: Hurricane Sandy

Help Alewife in Long Island City

As you likely know, Superstorm Sandy devastated a lot of homes and businesses throughout the American east coast. While we were lucky to not have experienced any specific damage, others in Long Island City are not so lucky. The Waterfront Crab House sustained a lot of flooding, but they were not the only businesses that suffered because of the floodwaters that came ashore. The evolving gastropub Alewife has been through a lot of changes since it opened in 2011, but it was dealt a pretty tough blow after Sandy. They managed to reopen on Election Day Tuesday, and are raising money so that they can rebound after basically rebuilding from scratch.

Their new executive chef, Gregorio Pedroza, has posted a very personal video asking everyone to support Alewife, either through patronizing it or making a donation.

Please consider donating, spending some money there, or both. Even when they were unable to open, they were taking donations for victims in the Rockaways.

Fordham and CUNY add Make-up Classes

After Superstorm Sandy cancelled a week’s worth of classes, there was no indication from any of the colleges where I teach that we would be making up classes. But over the last two days, CUNY and Fordham have quietly announced that they will be extending the semester in order to make up the loss days of instruction.

This is the right thing to do. If it is possible to add a few days of classes at the expense of an already long final exam period, then so be it. My Electronic Media class at Fordham was already short enough. Due to some puzzling scheduling, we ended up with only thirteen scheduled weeks of instruction, instead of the customary fourteen, and we would have been down to twelve with last weeks’ cancellation. This will give us the opportunity to cover digital media over two weeks instead of one, as I had to consolidate the two weeks’ worth of material after Sandy wreaked its havoc.

At CUNY, my New Technologies class has been interrupted throughout the entire semester. Although we started in late August, we have met on consecutive Mondays only once: September 24 and October 1. The interruptions have been due to Labor Day (September 3), Rosh Hashanah (September 17), Columbus Day (October 8), and now Superstorm Sandy (October 29). If we add another week at the end of the semester, I can cover the book I dropped from our schedule: Evgeny Morozov’s The Net Delusion, a book students have already bought and can learn a great deal about critizing techno-humanitarianism.

My only peeve about the recent decision to make up the cancelled courses is that they came a little late. I had already condensed my syllabi last week when it became clear that we would not start classes until the Monday after the storm. With the delayed decisions and announcements, I will have revised each of my syllabi three times in the past week. And each time announced to my students of the revisions.

There has been a lot of back-and-forth decisions over the last week over how to handle the unprecedented cancellations. For example, Fordham had announced that classes would resume on Thursday, November 1, but then quickly rescinded that decision and postponed the reopening of its New York City campuses to Monday, November 5. I presume that it did so after fully considering the challenges students, staff and faculty would have with transportation. Similarly, Pratt had cancelled today’s midterm break but then reinstated it after considering the importance of the presidential election.

The above link to Amazon is an affiliate link. If you buy something that link, I will earn a commission fee.

Flooding at the Waterfront Crab House

Crabhouse is Flooded

Last night, I took a tour of the neighborhood with a few friends to get out of our apartments. As much as we’re thankful that we were relatively unaffected by the storm, we are getting a little stir crazy from sitting at home.

We discovered that the Waterfront Crab House, one of the oldest restaurants in Long Island City’s and one of my favorite neighborhood institutions, was closed. As its name implies, the restaurant sits near the East River and, as one would expect, it was flooded by Monday night’s storm surge and tidal flooding.

I walked by there this afternoon to see how the restaurant had fared. It’s bad!

Kitchen at Crabhouse

One of the cooks took me through the dining room, which was completely dark because the restaurant does not have power, to show me the kitchen. Even in near-complete darkness, I could see that the furniture was soaked. The wood floor not only felt wet but also warped, presumably from the water damage. When we reached the kitchen, I saw all of the appliances and shelves all across the floor, as if someone tossed and ransacked the room. The flood waters had reached high enough to float everything in the kitchen and redeposit on the floor as the water retreated. We could see that the water level had reached about three-feet above the floor.

Water Level at Crabhouse

It’s truly sad to see the local crab house in such a state. But I’m encouraged by two facts. First, they rebuilt after a serious 2009 fire. Second, there were about a dozen men and women working on the restaurant, draining the water from the basement and removing the seat cushions from the dining room chairs to air dry them. They look determined to rebuild. And I really hope they do, again.

Pratt Cancels the “Midterm Break”… then Reinstates It

This is my first semester at Pratt, and when as I was preparing my syllabus I learned of a “midterm break” that had been scheduled to coincide with Election Day on Tuesday, November 6. Due to Hurricane Sandy and the attendant cancellation of my class on Tuesday, October 30, they have cancelled the “midterm break” and now are requiring us to make up our Tuesday classes, including mine, on November 6.

Here’s the announcement:

Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students:

Next Tuesday was originally scheduled as “Mid-Term Break” and no classes were to be held. This was to allow folks more time to vote.

However, due to our class cancellation this week, normally scheduled tuesday classes will be held on the Brooklyn Campus, Tuesday, November 6th.

Note that tuesday classes will only be held at PMC if power is restored and the building can reopen.

Future consideration will be given to other make up classes as we move forward.

The calendar committee will consider making “Election Day” coincide with our mid-term break in future years.

Peter Barna, Provost

Update: The break was reinstated on Thursday, November 2.

More Closures due to Storm

By now, the string of emergency alerts from my work sites have been trickling in and are beginning to have a pretty predictable pattern.

Here’s the order of the announcements.

  • CUNY announced a complete closure of its campuses, around 7:00 this morning.
  • Around 12:30 PM, Fordham reassures us that everyone and its facilities are unharmed, but that classes are cancelled for Wednesday. That closure directly impacts me since I teach an 8:30 class there.
  • Just before 1:00 PM, NYU also announced a complete closure of classes and activities, although they have established electronics charging stations, provided Internet and health care services at Kimmell and the lower level of Bobst Library.
  • At about 1:45 PM, Pratt Institute, where I was supposed to teach class today, has been cancelled classes for tomorrow as well. However, that is a moot point for me since I only teach there on Tuesdays.

Oh well, back to getting some board games.

Handling the Hurricane

Tree Down on 11th St

A year to the week after last year’s Halloween storm, we have ourselves a very serious weather event hitting the region. And this one appears to be much bigger than Hurricane Irene, which was our first real hurricane threat and a storm that stranded my mother here for several days. We managed the last two storms pretty well by sitting tight at home and even patronizing our local businesses. We were also very fortunate to not have any flooding, not losing power, and keeping our plumbing functioning normally. I hope that we have the same luck again.

What Else is New? 7 Train is Closed

By some measures, the storm has already been very disruptive, much more so than the previous two storms. All of my work sites are closed on Monday and on Tuesday, including New York University, Fordham University, Lincoln Center, CUNY, Queens College and Pratt Institute.

Open for Sandy

More local businesses around Long Island City are open now than were during Hurricane Irene. Based on a short walk around the neighborhood, I saw Cranky’s serving the rare Monday brunch, the local Korean-owned E & I Grocery was open, and we couldn’t resist the reasonably priced Sushi and Sashimi lunch special at BANY. We also noticed that
the Chinese take-out place was open, even if they had taped their windows shut.

No Booze?!?

However, the Vernon Wine and Liquor and the Cuban Madera had similarly boarded their windows, and the local laundry had been closed since Sunday evening, just before the subways stopped running.

So far, we’ve had only one storm-related mishap. The wind blew off the hatch leading to the roof of our apartment building. I was able to find the hatch cover just a few feet away. A neighbor and I removed the few remaining items on the roof and secured the hatch cover with some rope.

As the storm progresses, I’ll keep posting any updates for as long as it is possible… and worthwhile.