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Cuomo, Bloomberg Assess Sandy's Impact On NYC; Battery Tunnel Flooded By Cascading Water

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- Speaking with exclusively with CBS 2's Elise Finch, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said "We have our work cut out for us, but we'll be ok," describing the aftermath of what was Hurricane Sandy.

Cuomo said that some subway tunnels had been breached by water, but he was unsure to what extent.  Cuomo said there was also water on the ground zero site and in the basement of 1 World Trade Center.

Earlier, water from West Street was cascading into the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel.  Since then, Finch said the water had slowed in its flow, but was still coming through.

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Finch reported that people had gathered in the area near Greenwich and Morris streets, reporting that some police officers even remarked they had "never seen anything like this before."

"We do have pumps working in the tunnel," said MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz.

Gov. Cuomo also said that the smell in the vicinity of the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel is being caused by combination of fuel-oil and water hitting electrical subway circuits.

Many people in Battery Park City said they expected the Esplanade to flood, which it did, and that it would be worse than Irene's high tide, which it was.

But none expected West Street to flood – especially Eugene, who parked his car in what the storm surge rendered the eastern shore of Battery Park City Island.

"The missus told me to go and check the car, and I waited too long, and this is what happens," Eugene said.

1010 WINS' Gene Michaels Reports


He thought he might get into the car as the water came up, but by then, it was already waist high.

Speaking at a 9 p.m. news conference Monday night, Mayor Michael Bloomberg called Sandy a "once-in-a-long time storm" and stressed that residents should continue to heed the instruction of officials.

Bloomberg indicated the brunt of the storm had already made its impact on New York City, saying "The worst of the weather has come."

Later, Mayor Bloomberg's office said the storm surge peaked at 13.88 feet at the Battery. It was down to 9.81 feet at 11:45 p.m. and was continuing to recede, the mayor's office said.

WATCH: Mayor Bloomberg's News Conference

Five people have been confirmed dead in New York state as a result of the storm, CBS 2 reported.

WATCH: Deluge At The Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel

Sandy also caused bridges and tunnels to close, schools to shut, power to be cut and more.

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The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey announced LaGuardia Airport has been closed until further notice.  John F. Kennedy Airport and LaGuardia Airport were also closed.

The Goethals Bridge was closed to traffic and at 7:30 p.m., Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the closing of the RFK Bridge as a result of 100 mph wind gusts.

Directly outside the 345 Hudson St. building, which houses 1010 WINS, WCBS 880, WFAN and other CBS radio stations, the rain had stopped and the wind was gusting, but had died down compared with earlier in the night.

But power was out everywhere, including the 345 Hudson St. building itself which was on generator power. Two tree limbs were lying in front of the scaffolding canopy behind the building, and the only vehicles in sight were police squad cars.

Mayor Bloomberg throughout the day urged residents not to call 911 to report trees down or other non-emergencies. Doing so puts people with real emergencies at risk, he said.

The 911 lines have experienced much higher than normal volume throughout the day Monday, Bloomberg said. If you want to report a downed tree, Mayor Bloomberg urged New Yorkers to call or text 311.


The Port Authority closed the Bayonne Bridge and Outerbridge Crossing in both directions.

Mayor Bloomberg's office also announced that all four East River bridges would shut down, including the Brooklyn, Manhattan, Williamsburg and Ed Koch Queensboro bridges because of Hurricane Sandy.

Gov. Cuomo announced Monday afternoon that the Throgs Neck, Whitestone, Verrazano-Narrows, George Washington, Marine Parkway and Cross Bay Veterans Memorial bridges would all close due to the storm.

The Tappan Zee Bridge was closed to traffic as of 4 p.m. due to heavy winds.

Earlier, tractor trailers, car-pulled trailers, house trailers and motorcycles were banned from the soon-to-close George Washington Bridge, as well as the Outerbridge Crossing, Goethals Bridge and Bayonne Bridge until further notice. Other vehicles are restricted to 35 mph.

The city has been shutting down many of its operations ahead of the storm. The Holland and Brooklyn-Battery tunnels closed at 2 p.m. Monday.

In anticipation of the superstorm, the city shut down the mass transit system, closed public schools and ordered the mandatory evacuation of nearly 375,000 people Sunday.


Cuomo warned that wind gusts of up to 90 mph are possible in the New York City area.

Cuomo also added, "I once again urge citizens all across the state to remember their duty and do exercise common sense -- stay indoors, stay off the roads.  Let the first responders and emergency personnel do their job.  Let's get through this evening and we'll take an assessment of where we are tomorrow morning and we'll go from there."

A total of 1,100 National Guard members have been deployed, and 1,000 will be sent out on Monday, Cuomo said. The majority of them will be on Long Island, which becomes more vulnerable as the storm surge approaches.

Earlier, Mayor Michael Bloomberg ordered public schools to remain closed for a second day on Tuesday as Sandy moves in.

Brooklyn Battery Tunnel Blocked As Hurricane Sandy Approaches
A large vehicle blocks the entrance of the Hugh Carey (Brooklyn Battery) Tunnel as Hurricane Sandy approaches. (credit: Marla Diamond/WCBS 880)

WCBS 880's Marla Diamond Reports From Outside The Hugh Carey Brooklyn Battery Tunnel



Bloomberg decided to close schools for a second day because there's "no chance" mass transit will be restored by Tuesday.

1010 WINS' Stan Brooks reports


The Archdiocese of New York said Catholic schools in Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island will also be closed on Tuesday.

Archdiocese schools in Westchester, Putnam, Rockland, Ulster, Orange and Sullivan counties that rely on public school districts for bus transportation will follow the policy of the local district for delayed opening or closing.


"This could be the worst storm in Con Edison's history in terms of outages," spokesman Bob McGee said.

EXTRA: Con Ed's Storm Central

Con Ed shut down power in parts of Lower Manhattan on Monday evening in order to prevent equipment damage. A massive plant explosion at 14th Street and Franklin D. Roosevelt East River Drive exacerbated the problems, cutting power to virtually all customers south of 39th Street.

And earlier, "The Late Show with David Letterman" taped with no audience.

MORE: Evacuation Zones And Shelters

Part Of Ditmars Street On City Island Under Water
Part of Ditmars Street on City Island is under water (credit: Peter Haskell/WCBS 880)

WCBS 880's Peter Haskell On City Island


(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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