Man and Machine in Lower Manhattan Recovery

Christina Knight |

As the sun set on Saturday evening, double decker tourist buses cruised down a well-lit Broadway in Lower Manhattan, past the Bull statue that will be labeled “Wall Street” in photo albums, and past historic Bowling Green, aglow from lights styled as 19th-century gas lamps. The electricity Consolidated Edison had restored south of 34th Street on Friday and Saturday made the city visible again. But as bus drivers curved east at Battery Park to travel north again, they would have to negotiate a darkened Water Street where even traffic lights weren’t working. To the west, the guide probably pointed out the historic Fraunces Tavern, now partly obscured by pick-up trucks, vans, Verizon vehicles, pumps and industrial dehumidifiers creating a whirring buzz.

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This part of Broad Street, just blocks south of the working New York Stock Exchange, is without power. Flooded businesses here include Verizon, which has a major switching center for Lower Manhattan at 104 Broad Street. The building provides voice and Internet services, and specialized communications circuits for major companies located downtown, according to Verizon spokesperson John Bonomo. Verizon’s neighbor, the Energy Star-certified 90 Broad Street, is also flooded. Its diverse range tenants includes Manfra, Tordella & Brookes, specializing in investment in gold coins and gold bars, the Coalition of Behavioral Health Agencies, The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, and The Potbelly Sandwich Shop.

The New York Times reported on the recovery efforts at Lower Manhattan addresses on Monday, saying that the water in Oppenheimer & Company at 85 Broad Street is not expected to be pumped out until Tuesday. The building, also contaminated by fuel oil, might not be inhabitable until Dec. 1.

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Verizon employees discuss the post-storm recovery of their buildings at 104 Broad Street and 140 West Street, which are critical because of their proximity to Lower Manhattan financial houses and data circuits. Video courtesy Verizon.

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