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Crews Working To Repair Large Sinkhole On The Lower East Side

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A water main break caused a massive sinkhole on the Lower East Side, closing off an entire block Wednesday.

The 12-inch water main burst and thousands of gallons of water eroded part of Madison Street in the 200th block between Rutgers and Jefferson streets.

Residents told CBS2's Elise Finch it started as a small, bubbling hole around 9 a.m.

"There was water coming from the ground up," Lower East Side resident Robert Buerman said.

"It started flooding in the streets," Madison Street resident Drew Ginsburg said. "About an hour later, the sinkhole had just started falling in."

Police relocated cars parked right next to the muddy sinkhole. The street was blocked off, and buses were diverted.

At one point, 10 businesses and 150 residential customers were without water.

"We don't have water inside the building," said Shilan Chen, owner of Madison Street Laundromat. "Shut down this morning."

Chen said without water, all she could do was sit and wait.

Drew Ginsburg, an artist who works from home, stocked up on bottled water, just to be safe.

Crews are now pumping water out of the sinkhole, which they say has to be done before they can assess the damage and begin repairs.

"I think the infrastructure here is a little poor, and the care of this neighborhood is actually a little poor," Ginsburg said.

Within a few hours, crews were able to make temporary repairs to the water main and restore water to all customers.

However, Ginsburg hopes the sinkhole repairs will lead to other infrastructure improvements in this neighborhood.

A spokesperson for the city's Department of Environmental Protection said permanent repair operations and sewer investigations are still underway, and street repairs can't begin until both of those things are completed.

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