Monday, December 22, 2014

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Thousands Crowd Into Local Emergency Shelters

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TWC News: Thousands Crowd Into Local Emergency Shelters
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Thousands of people entered the city's 76 emergency shelters by Monday morning, but some in low-lying areas of Lower Manhattan chose to risk their safety by staying put at home. NY1's Vivian Lee filed the following report.

Early risers at the evacuation shelter in Lower Manhattan's Seward Park High School were surprised Monday at how well things were being managed, what with hundreds of people moving in to escape the storm.

Melvin Rodriguez, who came from the Baruch Houses on the Lower East Side Sunday evening, said, "There's always stress leaving home and coming to a shelter you don't know what's going on. But at least there's places like this where you can go."

The New York City Housing Authority shut down elevator service at The Baruch Houses and other NYCHA buildings in low-lying Zone A to guard against residents being trapped in case of a power outage. Heat and hot water were also cut off.

Some at the Jacob Riis Houses on the Lower East Side still elected to stay put.

"I'm just going to ride it out with my wife," said a resident at Jacob Riis. "Been through this two times."

"No one wants to deal with uncomfortability. You want to be comfortable, so if you can ride it out and see what happens, you're going to try your best."

Discomfort was an issue for some at Seward Park High, the only evacuation shelter in Lower Manhattan, especially for those with young children.

"It's a little difficult. Who wants to live in a giant room with a lot of people?" said Kendra Simmons, who was staying at Seward High. "But it's better to be safe than, you know, sorry."

"I'm not used to it but I'm OK with it," said Jason Santiago, a young boy staying in Seward High.

Jason's mother, Sonia Perez, who is nearly four months pregnant, said, "They're treating us well here. I'm not complaining at all."

Many felt the same way, including pet owners. Dogs and cats were housed in cages in a separate part of the building.

"They go in there and cuddle the pets and calm them down. and they help feed them," said a New Yorker staying at Seward.

Some complained about the food that was given out. One said dinner was mozzarella sticks, peaches and french fries and another staying at the high school said breakfast was cereal in travel-sized boxes and chocolate milk.

Still, others said given how many were being taken care of throughout the evacuation shelter system, the officials did a decent job. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP