More wonderful news from New York. Say what you will about Chicago, but I'm sure shit like this would NOT happen here.
NYC Marathon generators needed by Sandy survivors wasted in NJ lot
By KATE KOWSH , SUSAN EDELMAN and DAN MACLEOD
Last Updated: 6:02 AM, November 4, 2012
Posted: 8:59 PM, November 3, 2012
This is one heck of a power trip.
Much-needed generators sat idle all day yesterday in a rental company’s New Jersey parking lot after they were moved from the Staten Island staging area of the New York City Marathon — less than two miles from some of superstorm Sandy’s hardest-hit victims.
A truck carrying 19 generators pulled out early yesterday from Fort Wadsworth and drove to Linden, NJ, where they sat unused for five hours before being hauled to National Grid’s Far Rockaway power station.
The time-wasting move came the day after Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson claimed that all assets from the canceled marathon “will be redeployed to people who need it.”
A massive marathon generator — big enough to power dozens of homes — was still sitting in the lot late yesterday, with a “Road Runners” sign taped to its side. Another unit was trucked yesterday morning from the borough over the Goethals Bridge to New Jersey and parts unknown.
Even after The Post revealed last week how NYC Marathon organizers and the city were allowing precious generators to stand in Central Park while millions of city residents suffered without heat or light, 14 of the massive electrical units remained in the park last night. Only two were actually being used.
Meanwhile, 10 heaters were hooked up in the canceled race’s medical tent, even though they’re no longer needed.
One 200-kilowatt generator in the park was finally moved yesterday morning to the city-run Coler-Goldwater Specialty Hospital and Nursing Facility on Roosevelt Island, where frail, elderly residents had gone without heat in their rooms for nearly a week, according to an insider. Yet, inexplicably, the generator was still not plugged in last night.
The two 300-kilowatt generators featured on the front page of Friday’s Post were wastefully running for days in Central Park until yesterday afternoon, when they were finally hauled off, supposedly to storm-ravaged regions.
Another 100-kilowatt generator was also hauled out after sitting idle for days.
The generator roulette enraged New Yorkers suffering with a crippling lack of power, fresh water, food and shelter after Hurricane Sandy ripped through the region last week.
“Staten Island needed those generators,” said Matt Naporko, 30, whose home was completely leveled by the storm. “Even if they helped power one or two more houses, it’s better than nothing. Why waste them by putting them away?”
“It’s like the end of the world here,” said Nick Moudataos, 55, of the devastated Midland Beach section of the island. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime disaster. We don’t have time to guess or play games. You’re playing with people’s lives . . . Give the people what they need.”
“Those generators were a lot of people’s last hopes,” said Brian Kelly, 38, of Midland Beach.
The generators were among at least 45 set aside by the New York Road Runners for the marathon, a race finally scrapped Friday by Mayor Bloomberg after thousands of runners, storm victims and politicians clamored for its cancellation.
Staten Island was still starving for juice, as officials yesterday announced that they were actually bringing in generators from out of state, according to a report.
Marathon officials on Friday had pledged to send marathon resources to help the storm’s victims.
“We have tents set up, we have a lot of Port-a-Johns, we have a lot of things that can be helpful,” said Mary Wittenberg, president of the NYRR. “Whatever we can do to help we’ll be doing helping, including generators and otherwise.”
But many generators have sat idle.
The Coler-Goldwater hospital became a shadowy house of horrors for hundreds of disabled and elderly patients “left to rot,” an insider told The Post — and a generator from the New York City Marathon sat unused at the hospital yesterday.
“The patients are freezing. There’s still no heat,” said a tipster at the home.
A Post reporter who visited Thursday night found one of two buildings lit and the other dark, with some small generators providing meager light in the halls.
One large generator was running yesterday, but a second, 200-kilowatt power source — which came from the marathon’s Central Park finish line and was brought in after The Post inquired about the miserable conditions — was not even turned on.
During the blackout, meals consisted of white bread with cheese or tuna, the insider said. Breakfast on Friday was just grits, with no juice or fruit.
Some in need of medical equipment were evacuated after the storm.
There was a skeleton crew and no batteries for radios, the tipster said.
“They’re letting people sit and rot,” the insider said.
As officials shuffled generators, suffering deepened in the city as a result of the horrific storm:
* The death toll rose to 41 across the city yesterday. On Staten Island, the number climbed to 22 after the bodies of elderly siblings were discovered on Olympia Boulevard: a 65-year-old brother and his 77-year-old sister. Sources said that all missing people have now been accounted for.
* L- and G-train riders were left in the cold, with both lines suffering from flooding, even as the MTA was set to restore 80 percent of the subway system by today.
* There still was no transit for storm-ravaged Rockaways. The Rockaway Park shuttle and the A train were heavily damaged and there’s no timetable for resuming service.
* A free gas giveaway descended into chaos at five fuel stations in the city and Long Island after thousands of fuel-starved New Yorkers descended on the pumps.
* FEMA opened a center yesterday in Staten Island where residents could apply for federal aid — but the agency couldn’t say where cold, homeless residents could sleep at night.
* A group of frustrated residents in the Rockaways cornered Mayor Bloomberg yesterday, angrily demanding that more resources be brought to their neighborhood, one of the hardest-hit sections of the city.
* Unusable poll sites for Tuesday’s elections will be replaced with outdoor tents housing voting machines and heaters hooked to generators, the city said yesterday. Paper ballots are being readied in case the machines fail. Officials are also discussing relocating about 80 poll sites.
* Sixty five schools are not reopening tomorrow because of storm damage — and those that do open will be overcrowded, the city said yesterday.
But of the schools slated to reopen, 178 of them were without power yesterday.
* There were 164,000 Con Ed customers without power in the five boroughs as of 6:30 p.m. yesterday, and another 102,500 in Westchester.
There were 461,800 LIPA customers out of power in Nassau and Suffolk counties and the Rockaways. There were 1.24 million people without power in New Jersey at 3 p.m.
Additional reporting by Kevin Fasick, Erin Calabrese and Frank Rosario