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Some truth about the 14th Street Substation
I’d like to believe them, but I don’t…

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What the city could be doing – and is not

14th Street Substation


That’s what the gangsters who run New York rake off the top from every transaction that takes place in the city.

And that doesn’t include fees and fines and real estate taxes and the games they play with city worker pension funds.

Not even the Mafia in its heyday had it so good, but at least the Mafia showed some concern for the people in its neighborhoods.

Today’s gangsters, Andrew Cuomo (the governor) and Michael Bloomberg (the mayor) only seem to have mastered the extraction part. And the self-glorifying grandstanding part.

And the lying part.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and I actually hope I am wrong:

There is no way Con Ed’s 14th Street Substation is going to be back online in “three days” (as promised on 10/29/12) and I doubt the most recent promise “by Friday or Saturday” is accurate either.

To get to something approximating the truth, you have to dig:

“We’ve got — whatever it is — two, four, six, eight feet of water that’s sitting there with our equipment under it…We have folks pumping water and then trying to get in. I think they may even have rowboats in there.”
– John Miksad, Con Ed’s senior vice president of electric operations

To make sure you understand this, here are the issues:

1. The 14th Street Substation is the only way electricity can get into Manhattan and into the downtown neighborhoods that currently don’t have power.

2. The substation didn’t just get doused with water, it was under water for days (and still may be under water for all we know as of today)

3. No one earth knows the condition of the equipment under all that water

4. This means no one can possibly know: a) how much needs to be repaired vs dried off and cleaned, b) what cannot be repaired (recall that there was an explosion there), and c) if they have all the parts they need on hand right now to replace what cannot be repaired.

5. The 14th Street Substation is a massive facility. It covers an entire New York City city block. Is it realistic that they are going to be able to pump it out, find all the problems and fix them by Friday? Saturday? Thanksgiving? Christmas?

Here’s what is most likely the truth:

No one knows.

They’re hoping. And until they’re forced by reality (after they’ve pumped the place out) to think otherwise, they’re going to be guided by hope.

I don’t know about you, but in circumstances like this, this is insane.

Beyond the immorality of knowingly feeding over 250,000 utility customers (and over 400,000 people) a line of bullshit about a serious public health and safety issue, what is the city and state doing for its citizens in downtown Manhattan?

About as close to nothing as humanly possible.

There are a few cops directing traffic at a few intersections and that appears to be it.

How about going door to door and seeing if there are people behind those doors who need help?

I guarantee there are.

Right now, as you read this, there are thousands of handicapped and frail elderly people in lower Manhattan trapped in high rises without elevator service, without water, without light, without news, and possibly without food and needed medicine.

Ever been in an apartment hallway or stairwell with the lights shut off? It’s blacker than black.

So why isn’t the city going door to door to find these people and offer them help?

Is it too hard?

Well, they did it in New Orleans. They went door to door harassing law abiding citizens to take away their guns after the levee failures in 2005. There was no shortage of enthusiasm for that government door-to-door campaign.

It is too expensive?

Give me a break. Some water. A flashlight and/or electric lantern with batteries if they need one. Some food. Toilet paper. Medications as needed. We’re talking chump change. Probably a fraction of what anyone who needs the help pays in sales taxes in just two months.

Who is going to do it?

How about the cops taking the doughnuts out of their mouths, getting out of their cars, and doing some work.

And the city’s meter maids (there are 2,000 of them.)

And the restaurant inspectors. And the legions of other people the city employees to enforce and harass and generally make life difficult for people.

Some of them, like restaurant inspectors, literally have nothing to do right now as everything south of 38th Street is closed.

This is the Convention Center at New Orleans all over again, except this time the people cut off without water, food (and heat) are isolated and don’t make for a photo op.

Andrew Cuomo and Michael Bloomberg are intelligent men. They have to know the consequences of leaving thousand of handicapped and frail elderly stranded for an indefinite period of time. They also have to know that the Con Ed story is wishful thinking at best and a con job at worst.

Is it to much to ask for them to take minute or two from their endless grandstanding and self-congratulation to look after some of the people they’ve been extracting taxes from?

Update – November 3, 2012

I was wrong about the length of time it was going to take to get most (but not all) of lower Manhattan’s power back on. Three cheers for the Con Edison line workers who made it happen.

However, Google “Staten Island” and “Rockaway Beach” and read the news about the city at large.

The residents have been total shafted and have received minimal assistance.

Up until yesterday afternoon, the Grand Imperial Putz Michael Bloomberg was still pushing to hold the NYC marathon on Sunday, an event that ties up 2,000 cops at tax payer expense.

He managed to screw both the citizens of the city and the runners by not announcing this earlier so they could have stayed home and so the cops and thousands of other city workers could have been deployed where they were needed.

Earth to Bloomberg: People who’ve lost their homes don’t need cheering up from your yuppie sports extravaganza. They need food, water, blankets, and safe places to sleep until they can find new homes. You’ve failed to do that.

That’s what happens I guess when you aspire to “be like Rudy” another grandstanding, lying sack of shit.

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