Finding Answers

Thursday, November 01, 2012

We're collecting questions and answers about problems and solutions to post-Sandy problems.  Guests include NYC Public Advocate Bill De Blasio and Patricia Smith, first deputy commissioner of NYC's Human Resources Administration

See "Your Post-Sandy Questions, Answered" at WNYC News.


Bill de Blasio and Patricia Smith
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Comments [28]

L Doyon from Williamsburg, Brooklyn

On the subject of commuting, I have to disagree with what Andrea just said about it getting better everyday.
I went in to work on Wednesday and the commute was better than it was on Thursday, I barely got home on Thursday. And today 4 buses went by and to full to stop - so I couldn't get in to work today.
I am very fortunate in that I have power and live above the flood I'm not complaining. Just stating an issue that I perceive as getting worse. I don't even want to think what it will be like on Monday when School Kids are added to the commute. My bus is the B62 and travels from Brooklyn to Queens Plaza and back.
I intend to walk the 4 miles to work from now on...unless things get better.

Nov. 02 2012 11:07 AM
Amy from Manhattan

Just read Cindy from Ditmas Park's comment about police at gas stations. Maybe they could be directed to give the safety warnings about generators, instead of gas station attendants themselves.

And to Jill, some people who don't have power may be conserving the charge on their computers & have Internet connections that don't depend on the grid, or can check websites on their smartphones.

Nov. 01 2012 12:21 PM
Rita Friedman from upper east side, N.Y.

As a school teacher I am required to show up at my school tomorrow in Battery Park area.
I live in the upper east trains go south of 42nd Street,
Are there buses operating all the way to that area?
Thank you.

Nov. 01 2012 12:06 PM
Gary from Upper Left Side

"NYC Public Advocate". What a joke! De Blasio just wants to have air time to sound good for the next NYC mayoral election. De Blasio adds absolutely ZERO VALUE !!! He's just a professional complainer to fill WNYC's air time (good for both WNYC and De Blasio). Get a real job, Bill, like being a fireman, policeman, EMT, nurse, utility lineman, garbageman, bridge inspector or subway tunnel pumper, i.e., "useful jobs to society". NYC doesn't need more useless, leftist lawyers jockeying for higher political office like De Blasio, Quinn and Liu.

Nov. 01 2012 12:04 PM
Amy from Manhattan

The caller's suggestion about opening WiFi networks was great. For cell phones in areas where cell towers don't have power, a possible solution is mesh networks, in which the connection is routed through the phones themselves instead of towers. NYC used to have a mesh network, Ricochet, which went out of business before 9/11 but whose network was revived temporarily after the WTC attacks to enable cell phone communications after the cell towers were disabled in that areas. There's a description of mesh networks in IEEE Spectrum, at

Of course, this would have to be done systemically, not by individuals (the way the WiFi suggestion would work). Maybe it could be another public/private project. It could help people communicate when power is out (as long as their phone charge lasts).

Nov. 01 2012 12:03 PM
Susan from Upper West Side

Brian-- any possibility of getting info about engaging teenagers in their "community service" requirements such as the one at my son's middle school involved in supportive activities in areas that are much harder hit than the Upper West Side? I know the Red Cross needed volunteers that could lift heavy bags -- but it seems to me that there could be something that bored teens could contribute. As fun as the video games are for the first 3 days of a crisis -- they get old quickly. Plus some of the kids are getting obsessive about continuing to study for the postponed SHSAT. There are only so many bubbles you can fill in before it is a total waste of time.

Nov. 01 2012 12:02 PM
Chris from New York



I think the city is doing a great job managing the crisis... but the city resources are stretched too thin. I cycled to work today and at 6th Ave and 13th St, there was an underground FIRE just one block from a police recruit directing traffic at 6th Ave and 14th St.

He was clearly out of his element. He had to choose between investigating a fire or directing traffic across a very busy intersection with no electricity.

The marathon will require precious city resources and tax dollars to serve a very small portion of NYC residents at a time of crisis. Why can't they just POSTPONE the race?!?!

Nov. 01 2012 11:59 AM

my wife is a teacher and her schools administration sent an email to staff saying not to come in on Friday despite what the city has said. Especially those people restricted by transportation.

Nov. 01 2012 11:55 AM

This guy really needs to stop telling people to check websites -- they can't. They have no power. Duh.

Nov. 01 2012 11:53 AM
john from office

Folks, we just got hit by a major storm with flooding. Stop blaming Con Ed , Bloomberg or the city for what has happened. To see that we are still here and will get back on our feet is success. Con has done a great job.

Nov. 01 2012 11:49 AM
Amy from Manhattan

On generator safety, could the word be put out through gas station attendants? Many people might not hear the info on the radio, & if every person buying gas could be told face-to-face by the person filling their gas can, it would have more of an impact. Is there a way to "recruit" gas station attendants to do this?

Nov. 01 2012 11:46 AM
Ian from greenpoint

You can buy dry ice at ice cream shops, of course from above or outside blackout areas. Shops use them for cheap cooling during and after production. You will probably do better at places that make their own ice cream, so not baskin robbins.

- Good Luck!

Nov. 01 2012 11:46 AM
Kellie Quarton from Roscoe, NY

Regarding EBT at Greenmarkets:
Every market has a market station where you can acquire tokens for use within the market. Cards of any kind cannot be used at Greenmarkets, including EBT. The tokens given out work at all GrowNYC Greenmarkets. I believe Greenmarket's EBT machine is hooked up to their market truck for power.

Best of luck everyone!

Nov. 01 2012 11:43 AM
RJ from prospect hts

Chances are that if a store doesn't have power for EBT machines, they're probably out of power for refrigerated foods and by now are mostly out of dry foods.

Nov. 01 2012 11:40 AM
Bryce from greenwich village

Why aren't taxis being used as a better infrastructure component? They should become a public service, paid for by our government and free to passengers. They should just run on major streets and make no turns.

Nov. 01 2012 11:40 AM
chuck from sussex county, NJ

For cell phone charging and use of showers, try contacting the local YMCA. I know in Sussex County New Jersey the YMCA has opened it's showers to the public and is also allowing people to charge their cell phones.

Nov. 01 2012 11:35 AM
Dubya from WIlliamsburg

Does anyone know if the MTA is extending the expiration date for monthly card holders?

Nov. 01 2012 11:33 AM
e k from bkln

Bryan, please have WNYC run that guy's generator advice over and over on wnyc, like between programs, even after your show. It was so on point and helpful info.

Nov. 01 2012 11:33 AM
andy from manhattan

Mark's advice on generators may be less than uniform regarding the need to add oil to the fuel mix. Like lawn mowers, some generators sun on a two-stroke engine, some run on four-stroke. Fuel mixing is not done for four stroke engines. So consult your user manual, or risk ruining your generator or blowing it up.

Nov. 01 2012 11:32 AM
Arthur from UES

The more logiocal solution, is for the people to go to a shelter and leave those buildings until power is restored. Not everything can be done immediately.

Nov. 01 2012 11:24 AM
marcia from Manhattan

The Marathon disrupts the city even on a good weekend. Is it really wise to divert so many police and other city resources to a recreational event(no matter how symbolic) when so many are suffering? I don't think so.

Nov. 01 2012 11:18 AM
tom from astoria

Is Union Square open on the edges so that myself and other artists can sell today?

Nov. 01 2012 11:18 AM
Lea from Westfield, NJ

I'm in Westfield, NJ. The big thing here is gas. I understand that there are miles long lines at stations that are awaiting shipments and that people are in line with multiple cans to fill for their generators. I have also heard that people aren't able to find cans at stores and when they can, people are buying them out. Shouldn't some sort of rationing be introduced?

Nov. 01 2012 11:17 AM
John Falcone from Jackson Heights

How likely is it that in the future, development will be restricted to areas not prone to flooding?

Nov. 01 2012 11:17 AM
Cindy from Ditmas Park Brooklyn

I live in Ditmas Park Brooklyn and decided to walk about a mile to the F train to get to my office in Brooklyn Hts. since the Q train is not running.
At the corner of Coney Island Avenue and Ditmas where there are several gas stations there was a huge traffic jam with police officers directing traffic and police cars with lights flashing. Traffic was at a standstill. An officer was telling drivers that apparently were in line for gasoline that there was no more gas. What is the situation for gasoline supplies in the area?

Nov. 01 2012 11:16 AM
Dave from Long Island

How might the damage to the Rockaway/Breezy Point area compare to the New Orleans Ninth Ward in Katrina

Nov. 01 2012 11:12 AM

My question is, has Bloomberg lost his senses? Very VERY poor taste not to postpone the Marathon this Sunday. Cops and volunteers should be helping flood victims, not runners. Hotel rooms with power should be used for those displaced by storm, not out-of-towners.

Nov. 01 2012 11:09 AM
Shawn Onsgard from Fort Greene, Brooklyn

Bicycle transit? How is the bike infrastructure holding up?

Nov. 01 2012 11:07 AM

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