Tour Sandy's Damage On New York's Upper West Side


Photo: Robert Johnson

After spending the day watching Sandy on the news yesterday, most of us here in Manhattan’s West 70s were left feeling fortunate. Aside from a few gusts of wind, and a smattering of rain, we didn’t see too much weather at all.Judging from the news this morning it was obvious the storm was far worse than we could see from our windows here, so I went out as the sun came up to see what Sandy wrought.

From Central Park West, through the park, down to midtown, to see that dangling crane at One57, and up along the East River it’s an interesting cross-section of what had happened throughout the night.

At 7:00 a.m. Tuesday morning it looked like Manhattan's Upper West Side might have been spared major damage

But along Central Park here on 68th St. this scaffolding lost some wood that tore down the street

This piece struck the light post with so much force it ripped the wood around the base

Sandy didn't feel like it had fully said goodbye at this hour

And the winds hadn't done the NYC Marathon Tent any favours

Behind the scenes inside the tent — it didn't look good

The plants brought in seemed to fare all right — but just barely

This section of tent had split allowing access into closed off Central Park

And within a few steps I could see One57 where the crane was still dangling

The big trees here took a hard hit

And lay strewn about promising days of work for park cleanup crews

It must have been a war zone Monday night, but as the sun came up Tuesday it was pretty peaceful

If you've heard the building with the busted crane, One57, has apartments that run up to $95 million — this is why: It overlooks all two-and-a-half miles of Central Park looking north

But that crane is a problem and looks like it never stood a chance against Sandy's winds

On my way closer to One57 and the dangling crane I pass several more downed trees

This one was just ripped from the ground by the roots

Slipping through this tunnel I make my way to 59th St

And come up on more downed trees spilling onto the sidewalk

And there's the crane

From here it's possible to see the snapped steel supports and cables helping hold it in place

And the cables that are still whipping around in the wind

Working my way down 59th along the police tape it's clear that for much of the city it's business as usual

And just as the news reported the whole area around One57 is closed off

And the NYPD is on hand to make sure nobody gets too close

Every angle offers something new to see up there — everyone is stopping to look — there's just something about it

It really looks like it's just waiting to topple 75 stories to the ground

It's starting to rain pretty hard so I step beneath the awning of an apartment building — one of many that surround the dangerous site

Thinking if I could just get a little closer I'd get a better view, I stepped around the barricades, stirred up the police, and hurriedly snapped this over-exposed shot as I made my retreat

I head to the end of the block — Columbus Circle — to see if I can get around

But this is blocked off too — though One57 is visible above this officer who said he's ready to go home

Only here does it become clear that the crane is actually freestanding — and only attached to the frame of the building

Emergency vehicles are everywhere with sirens echoing off the buildings

It all creates some kind of state-of-emergency feeling

With everyone rotating around that crane — and looking up — like it's a tragedy waiting to happen

Along with first responders there are work crews doing their part to clean up — and the rain now starts to gather and come down harder

I toss my camera inside my coat and head off to the river — it poured for the 15 minute walk there, but let up at 11th where CBS stood well prepared for rising water

Down 57th about a block from the Hudson River the alarm from this bar was ringing up and down the street — I noticed Thirsty Tuesday looks like a bargain before heading to the water

This Toyota did not like what it saw at 12th Ave and braved driving over that debris to go back

Looks like the river crested about here on 57th and brought all this flotsam with it

Pools of water fill the side-streets here

And it may not show, but the water is several inches deep

The river had to cross the far side of the street — and force its way over this two-foot wall to pool where it did

The amount of stuff clogging this main road is staggering

Headed north on 12th the debris marks the water's eventual retreat

It also marks the high water line where the river stretched just hours before

Some people tried to stash their luxury cars under this bridge to protect them, but the water rose halfway up the door, at least

I got to the path along the river just as police were closing it off and shutting it down

It looks a mess and I have to see it — but the police here are going nowhere soon

So I keep walking north along Riverside where everything looks pretty calm

Until I find a path to the river

More debris here marks the high-water mark maybe 60 to 70 feet from the water's edge

A local resident stops to tell me all the work that had been done here was ripped away

This looks to be a piece of what he's referring to

Heavy debris was thrown up onto the path here and that police SUV has a megaphone telling everyone the park is closed

That buoy was ripped from its mooring and tossed alongside this piece of art

And these very heavy looking pieces of wood were tossed over that rail, but didn't make their way back across

People outside the Trump building take it all in from higher ground

Closer to the boat basin, the mud marks where the water came in

Someone who ventured out Monday night told me the water here was above those pylons and the rail was not visible

And here's another police vehicle telling everyone to make for the nearest exit — which I promptly do

It takes me past the boat basin, which looks like it had a rough night

The main entrance took quite a beating

And as the rain really starts to come down again, it's apparent most of the marina took quite a hit

Details of a time that never expected a storm like this

The power of Sandy is most obvious here

This dock looks like someone lifted one end and shook it up and down

Looks like ropes are all that's holding it together

Making my way up from the river I see all the roads up here by 79th are closed and filled with deep water

Riverside Drive is is busy with police cars and heavy equipment

There's even an NYPD command centre set up to coordinate efforts — it feels like a true disaster zone

But just like that, a couple blocks away on West End, NYC life and all it offers is spread out in the open

But the folks who sell books here on Broadway didn't fare too well

And looking closer to see what Sandy chose to leave open I see The World According to Garp

And Cider House Rules at the other end of the table — an odd John Irving coincidence

Broadway and 72nd is still surprisingly rough

This scaffolding was ripped apart as well

With so much force that a plank pierced this thick piece of plywood

Happy to see my bank is open, so I can get some money for coffee, I notice there's no need to dip my card to open the doors

And I realise the bank may have left the doors open to allow people inside for shelter

Unfortunately, there is no more cash left in the ATM

And while everything feels normal as I get close to home — it's things like that twisted stoplight that show what was happening here just hours before

But back on my street it's like nothing happened at all — we got lucky and the street still has power and Internet to upload these photos

That's what it looked like in the Upper West Side

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