|Some witnessed nothing more than leaves raining down. Others saw a crane dangling from a skyscraper like a twig, water pouring into the WTC site like a Nat Geo photo of a waterfall, a missing building front that revealed a doll-house perspective of the apartments inside, or a fire decimating a flooded neighborhood. Still others saw nothing at all and still can't, as power is still out for hundreds of thousands.
|The astounding thing about Sandy, says NY Building Congress prez Dick Anderson, is that the problems that befell New York City were not structural. The water damage, though, will be unprecedented, he says. Despite thousands of sandbags, 30 permanent water pumps, 100 temporary ones, and 100 employees working around the clock, according to the Port Authority, a (Hudson) river of water inundated the World Trade Center site, already 11 years into rebuilding and likely to be delayed now. Dick cites Port Authority head Pat Foye's statement that salt water and electrical circuits don't mix well. Things we didn't consider would go wrong, at the WTC and elsewhere, will reveal themselves for weeks to come, he adds. Silverstein Properties released a statement that the existing properties at the WTC don't appear to have suffered lasting damage, and the already completed 7 WTC was operating, albeit on emergency power, yesterday.
|Reports of problems with a crane at 1 WTC proved false, but five hours before the 900-mile-wide storm made landfall (that's when the eye hit Atlantic City), the boom of the crane atop One57 flipped over the cab. It still hangs almost 90 stories above 57th and Sixth now, and Lend Lease, which is building the Extell Development luxury condo building, said in its last statement that it's working with the City Department of Buildings on additional measures to secure it. Lend Lease says it last inspected the crane on Friday.
|Yesterday, our friend Leslie Goldstein snapped 92 Eighth Ave, the apartment building whose front blew away on Monday afternoon. Four years ago, the NYC Department of Buildings adopted new building codes to better align with international standards, but the downturn has minimized new development since. Now, with financing flowing for new construction to replace the city's aging building stock, is a good time to evaluate how the new code has stacked up, Dick says.
|Thornton Tomasetti’s Rob Otani (second from right, with ThyssenKrupp's Stirling Collins and Citrin Cooperman’s Salvatore Leone and Keith Rennard) tells us the NYC Building Code accounts for 98 mph gusts for three seconds. It also accommodates a 100-year-flood scenario. Water crested at 13.8 feet, exceeding predictions, prompting him to wonder whether we need to plan for worse. Developers, architects, and engineers also need to consider first-floor structural designs and placement of electrical equipment. Rob tells us a new NYC Building Code (to align with the '06 and '10 International Building Code) likely will be adopted next year. Already under discussion but farther out are regulations for gut renovations, conversions, change of use, and change of occupancy. Existing building changes still are held only to the 1968 code.
|JLL Manhattan retail head Davie Berke (snapped Monday showing space in Midtown—the show must go on) tells us the retailers affected most by Sandy aren't the ones that sell what we needed(grocery and hardware stores and pharmacies). Rather, they're the ones peddling what we'd rather have been doing than squeezing our dogs into Thundershirts: Halloween pop-up stores. Davie says the Eastern Seaboard's seasonal stores just lost their biggest sales days. While Duane Reade and Associated stores typically see a bump in sales before a big storm, their post-storm action usually lags, creating net negative results even for them.
|Our friend Cordelia Nervi snapped this around 2pm yesterday from Weehawken, reporting that the water had calmed, but—well—what the heck is descending on Lower Manhattan? BOMA NY's weather response committee says managers have been implementing Emergency Action Plans, which are quite detailed nowadays and require repeat drills ahead of time. A lot of properties also house emergency response rooms with cots, water, and other essentials so staff can stay at the buildings. The City's Office of Emergency Management says that Con Ed estimates Brooklyn and Manhattan customers served by underground electric equipment should have power back in four days and those served by overhead power lines will take a week. 250,000 Manhattanites are without electricity, and all steam customers south of 42nd Street have lost service.
|Outlets were at such a premium last night at Panera Bread in North Babylon, Long Island, that patrons (including Bisnow deputy editor Amanda Marsh) brought extension cords and surge suppressors to get all critical electronics charged. So many people were on the cafe's WiFi she had to "borrow" from McDonald's across the street to read email (we'll come back for McNuggets when the drive-thru isn't 20 deep with hungry, ovenless Long Islanders). Here's hoping for electricity, decent WiFi, and a hot shower soon. Stay safe, Bisnowreaders.
|A little pep talk from Lee & Associates' Jim Wacht (second from right at his firm's Oktoburgfest at 247 Bedford Ave in Williamsburg), who says, "We New Yorkers are a hardy and undaunted lot... We will get through this—as we have every other disaster—and be back in business soon." Already yesterday, people were on the streets and restaurants had reopened, he says. "New York is a great city and our people... continue to prove it every day, especially when the going gets rough.” We snapped Jim last week with Lee & Associates' Garry Steinberg and Peter Braus, RedSky Capital's Ben Stokes, Westbridge Capital's David Kessler, RedSky's Ben Bernstein, and Lee's Peter Levitan.