Hurricane Sandy outdid even the most aggressive projections of its impact on New York. In my district on the East Side of Manhattan, and some of the West 50s, we had severe flooding throughout Zones A and B, power and heat outages that lasted for over a week, and—as if that weren’t bad enough—a crane that hung precariously in Midtown, forcing residents from their homes.
The situation presented an important opportunity for local government to respond. The flooding left thousands of my constituents stranded in their apartments and in need of assistance, particularly in Peter Cooper Village, Stuyvesant Town and Waterside Plaza, home to nearly 30,000 right next to the East River. Residents—who include me and my family—lacked electricity, heat and hot water, and just as dangerously, any telephone service.