As New York City slowly pulls itself up by its bootstraps in the wake of Hurricane Sandy and the swath of devastation it spread all over the five boroughs, bringing this normally bustling city "that never sleeps" to a grinding halt for an unprecedented period, it is difficult to report on fun, happy events in the Big Apple. Most New York City venues are still closed (or just now today, Wednesday, reopening) and a large percentage of scheduled NY concerts and events for this week have been canceled. For example, the big NYC Halloween Parade in the Village scheduled for this evening that I wrote about here last week. This is unheard of in the parade's four decade history. Similarly, this weekend's WFMU Record Fair (which happens in that same vicinity of downtown Manhattan) was also canceled (details below). Indeed it will take some time before the effects of the “storm of the century” that claimed lives, caused major destruction including destroying homes and businesses, shut down the subway, JFK and LaGuardia airports, and the NY Stock Exchange (until this morning), and left millions without power, are behind us. Hence for this New York State of Mind Amoeblog I am going to do an overview of some of the impact of Sandy on NYC and a run down of some of the events that have been canceled or postponed as well as ones that are going ahead, along with some ways you can help (scroll down to end of text) plus some basic post Hurricane info and links related to NYC.
First up, check the YouTube clip below video-taped and uploaded Tuesday afternoon by the NY MTA (New York's Mass Transit Authority). It shows the devastation caused to two of the downtown Manhattan subway stations (Ferry Plaza and Whitehall Street - two of the seven subway stations with severe flooding) and will give you an idea of the intensity of the flooding caused by Sandy. While the NYC buses are back in service today, the subway system remains down and may not be back and running in full service for several days due to the damage caused by the salt water to the electrical system on the tracks. Additionally, all the water has to be pumped out of flooded stations like the ones in the video. However the MTA did announce that limited subway service would resume on November 1st at 6am but not below 34th Street or from Manhattan to Brooklyn.
The PATH to NJ is in even worse condition. Hence New York Waterway, which resumed some of its ferry service between Manhattan and NJ including its service between Port Imperial and Lincoln Harbor in Weehawken, N.J., 14th Street in Hoboken and West 39th Street in Manhattan, and Jersey City to WTC, will pick up a lot of the slack. However, like the buses in NYC Wednesday, that are attempting carrying all the extra subway passengers, they will be packed to way beyond capacity. For more info and public transit updates: MTA and NY Metro North, PATH, and NY Waterway ferries.
MTA Video Release: Hurricane Sandy - South Ferry and Whitehall St Station Damage.
WFMU's popular and revered annual Record Fair, scheduled for this weekend (Nov 2/3/4) at the Metropolitan Pavilion on W 18th Street (between 6th and 7th Avenues) in the Chelsea district of Manhattan, has been canceled it was announced last night by station manager Ken Freedman. That part of NYC that hosts the annual record collectors convention is still without power and the Con Ed power company cannot guarantee when it will be back on: perhaps not for another four to eight days. Besides that important fact, many vendors who come in from out of town are canceling their plans due to the storm, and attendees who would normally take the PATH train or the subway will be unable to get there due to transit service closures.
Station manager Freedman sent apologies to everybody who is inconvenienced by this and noted that WFMU, which is still off the air due to the power outtage in Jersey City (it will resume its online stream by November 1st with its FM signal sometime thereafter), will refund all the dealers their money in down payments. He added that the Fair will return next year in Fall 2013, but there is a chance it might be rescheduled for sometime in the coming months. Stay tuned to this column for updates or check the WFMU website.
One of the many indie record labels that were supposed to have a table at the WFMU Record Fair this weekend was Brooklyn based Norton Records whose warehouse suffered "devastating destruction" from Hurricane Sandy that the folks at the label, whose catalog includes Hasil Atkins and Flat Duo Jets, are still assessing. The label sent out word that they need help at their offices in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn between now and Monday (November 5th) to help clean and organize records that are being brought from their warehouse. If you would like to volunteer, please call 917 671 7884 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Many nightly TV shows taped in NYC were canceled this week. The Colbert Report and The Daily Show canceled tapings for Monday and Tuesday, and on Monday both David Letterman and Jimmy Fallon (both shot in the midtown area) were taped, albeit without audiences who were sent home for their safety. Last night audiences were back in the "30 Rock" NBC studios for Fallon, but Letterman's show in the Ed Sullivan Theater was without a live audience for a second night. Meanwhile the heavily promoted Hollywood-based Jimmy Kimmel Live! which was to broadcast from Brooklyn all this week began its first one-day delayed show last night on ABC when the Brooklyn-born Kimmel quipped to the packed BAM audience, "Thank-you for ignoring the global authorities to be here tonight" and "I've returned to save my people from the storm." The show includes interviews with Howard Stern and Tracy Morgan, a live set from Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings, and Kimmel revisiting his old childhood neighborhood, and is streamed here. Vampire Weekend are the musical guests Wednesday night.
Live music in many of the New York City clubs this week has been canceled but a lot are still happening. Best to check in ahead of time to know for sure. While it is downtown and billed as the "official after party" for the big (aforementioned) canceled Halloween Parade, the dance party/costume contest at Webster Hall Halloween night is on. So too are all other upcoming events at the East 11th Street Manhattan Webster Hall venue, including Craig Owens Nov 1st. So too are all the shows at BB Kings on 42nd Street (between 7th and 8th Avenues), including The Meter Men featuring Leo Nocentelli, Zigaboo Modeliste and George Porter Jr of The Meters, and Page McConnell of Phish on both October 31s and Nov 1st.
Among those NYC shows canceled this week is the Rhyme Calisthenics: MC Competition with Modern Shark, Chief Justice, and Malik Work that was scheduled for tomorrow November 1st at Public Assembly (70 North 6th Street Brooklyn, NY 11211). No make up date has been announced yet. Due to Hurricane Sandy shutting down JFK and LaGuardia airports French musician Woodkid who was supposed to play Irving Plaza Nov 1st has had to cancel that gig as well as his upcoming San Francisco and LA dates. Mitt Romney supporter Meat Loaf has also canceled his NYC gig for November 1st at the Beacon Theater.
And finally I leave you with a music video by the band Rayliota for the retro garage rock group's song "Look Don't Touch" which was shot Monday in the hard hit Rockaway Beach area of Queens, New York City during the peak of Hurricane Sandy as the land-bound waves came from the beach up over the walls crashing onto the roadway, washing away their drum kit etc. as the band (bravely? stupidly?) played on unfazed by the natural disaster around them. The good humored artists self deprecatingly labeled their Sara Nyquist filmed video as "Idiots film music video in Hurricane Sandy."
To volunteer help if you are in the NJ area here is info. For how to help in the long clean up process in the NYC parks and public spaces info is here. And to help out the victims of Hurricane Sandy - not just in NYC but all along the Eastern Seaboard - contact the Red Cross who are graciously accepting assistance right now at Red Cross Hurricane Sandy Aid.