Surveying the damage and the darkness in Lower Manhattan

Church St., Lower Manhattan
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Coverage from New York City
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Lower Manhattan — including the Financial District, One World Trade Tower, and Chinatown — are all still without power tonight. It’s surreal down there. Pitch black and relatively quiet except for the frequent blaring of sirens (and cabbies yelling at each other).

Unlike the rosy tone of my Williamsburg/Brooklyn post earlier today, I’m afraid things do not look good for Lower Manhattan. Crews are working feverishly to pump water out of high rises and the Hugh Carey/Brooklyn Battery Tunnel is still completely submerged.

Battery Park is one big mess, with downed trees, branches and debris scattered all about. The storm surge had its way with the sand bags.

On the way over, Brooklyn Bridge was packed with people. And of course, there are quite a few people out on bikes. With no traffic signals and very few cars, riding around Lower Manhattan right now is pretty fantastic (if you’re into that sort of thing). Anita Singh of BrooklynByBike put it best, when she posted to Twitter, “If you haven’t gotten your #bikenyc out, lower manhattan is all dark and relatively car free. Once in a lifetime biking experience.”

The Municipal Building, lit by floodlights.

The One World Trade Center tower is dark for the first time ever (for some reason, a few buildings in Battery Park City (on the left) have electricity).
The Chrysler Building stands like a beacon over Lower Manhattan.
Watch where you’re going!
View from the Manhattan Bridge with Chinatown in the foreground and the Empire State Building in the background.
Actor and comic Frank Von was biking around and shooting video for his documentary. I met him on the Manhattan Bridge
Hudson River Greenway.

The Manhattan Bridge is especially interesting. Half of it has power, and the other half doesn’t. I heard several people riding toward Manhattan, and upon noticing the path lights suddenly go dark, they hooted and hollered into the darkness (and one guy just yelled, “Awww, shit!”)

Looking east toward Brooklyn.
Looking east toward Brooklyn, right at the light/dark threshold. This couple stopped to look back at the Manhattan skyline.
And here’s the view the other way, into the darkness of Lower Manhattan.

Thanks for following along with my New York City coverage. I know I’ve got some Portland stuff that needs to be covered. I’ll get to that… just as soon as my brain can fit anything else in by this amazing city.

— This post is part of my ongoing New York City coverage. I’m here for a week to cover the NACTO Designing Cities conference and the city’s bike culture in general. This special reporting trip was made possible by Planet Bike, Lancaster Engineering, and by readers like you. Thank you! You can find all my New York City coverage here.

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