Wednesday, December 24, 2014


Follow us:
Follow @NY1 on Twitter Follow NY1 News on Facebook Follow NY1 News on Google+ Subscribe to this news feed 


Bloomberg Announces Grant Program For Small Businesses Affected By Sandy

  • Text size: + -
TWC News: Gas Rationing Ends; New SI Ferry Route To Start Monday
Play now

Time Warner Cable video customers:
Sign in with your TWC ID to access our video clips.

out of 10

Free Video Views Remaining

To get you to the stories you care about, we are offering everyone 10 video views per month.

Access to our video is always free for Time Warner Cable video customers who login with their TWC ID.

  To view our videos, you need to
enable JavaScript. Learn how.
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.

Then come back here and refresh the page.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced Saturday a new grant program aimed at helping small businesses affected by Hurricane Sandy.

The program will make $5.5 million in matching funds available.

Many small businesses were forced to close for days after the storm because they were damaged or had no power. Some owners say they have struggled to get aid in its aftermath.

George Hermina, who owns the Quality Wash Laundromat on Midland Avenue in Staten Island, says he is still waiting to hear about the status of his emergency loan application with the city.

"They told me we get back to you. Nobody get back to me," said George Hermina, a small business owner. "Now, it's more than 10 days. I applied. Nobody get back to me."

Some business owners we spoke with say that the existing available loans don't go far enough to help their needs, that they are short term and high interest.

"They should at least give us five or six years on it, not two years in this economy," said Rich Aloi, a small business owner. "Two years in this economy, two years, you're not gonna be able to pay back 15, 20 or $25,000. The businesses are just barely making it on their own right now."

Mayor Bloomberg said those businesses are critical to the economy, and the city will stand by them.

"Small businesses account for 98 percent of all businesses," Bloomberg said. "They employ 50 percent of the people in this city. Two-thirds of them have five employees or less. So they really are the job creators of New York City."

The grant program is being funded with $5 million from the Mayor’s Fund and $500,000 from the Partnership for New York City.

Meanwhile, drivers looking to fill up in the city don't have to consider their license plates anymore as the odd-even gas rationing implemented in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy ended at 6 a.m. Saturday.

The city implemented the rationing system back on November 9 to cut the long lines created when gas stations ran out of fuel after Hurricane Sandy.

Drivers NY1 spoke with said the program was helpful but has now run its course.

"It was a good system. During the crisis it was a good system," said one driver. "Now that the crisis is over, actually over, there's an abundance of gas now. At once I used to come, used to be a line here. Now there's no line."

The mayor's office says 85 percent of the city's gas stations are now up and running.

To report price gouging at gas stations, call 1-800-771-7755 or go to the state attorney general's website at

Recovery And Relief

City Response

The city says that the mayor's office coordinated the distribution of more than 26,500 Thanksgiving meals for residents at 30 sites impacted by Hurricane Sandy.

In all, the city says that working with FEMA, it has distributed more than 2.7 million meals and close to 700,000 bottles of water to those impacted by Sandy.

The city says it has also authorized $1.2 billion for repair work as a result of Sandy. $500 million of those expenses will go towards the city's Rapid Repairs Program, which will help restore power, hot water and heat at homes impacted by Sandy. Another $500 million will be used to restore public school and hospital buildings.

Public Housing

The city is putting eviction notices on hold for public housing residents affected by Hurricane Sandy.

New York City Housing Authority officials say they will not pursue any new housing court actions for not paying the rent, or perform evictions from now until New Year's Day.

It will also put a freeze on 30-day vacate orders.

Cases that are now in the system will be left to the judge's discretion.

However, eviction notices and vacate orders will be issued if residents are found to be breaking the law, such as running illegal businesses out of their apartments.

In addition, public housing residents who were without heat, hot water, or electricity as a result of the storm will receive a rebate good towards their January rent, but they must pay the full rent in December.

For each day a public housing resident was without any of those three essential services, they will receive a credit worth the entire cost of one day's rent.

For more information go online to the Housing Authority's website at

Meanwhile, many people displaced by Sandy have been receiving temporary shelter, but they will soon have to find somewhere else to stay.

With the city's shelters now closed, FEMA has been paying for temporary hotel rooms for New Yorkers with nowhere else to go.

But the agency is only covering costs until December 1.

On Wednesday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg acknowledged the struggle of those still looking for housing but said the situation isn't as dire as it seems.

He estimates only a few thousand residents will actually need help finding long-term housing.

He said the city's Rapid Repairs program will be able to help most people.

"If you take a look at the number of people staying in hotels, if we can get these buildings back up with heat and electricity than you don't have to find other housing for them," Bloomberg said.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has said the housing situation is worse statewide where tens of thousands of homes will have to be rebuilt.

Residents can register for FEMA assistance at or by calling 1-800-621-3362. Phone lines are open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week.

FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers


12th Judicial District, 851 Grand Concourse, Bronx, NY 10451
Hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Mon-Fri


IKEA, 1 Beard Street, Brooklyn, NY 11231
Hours: 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Mon-Sun

Holy Family R.C. Church, 9719 Flatlands Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11236
Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Mon-Sun

Coffey Park, 85 Richards Street, Brooklyn, NY 11231
Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Mon-Sun

Gerritsen Little League Field, 2671 Gerritsen Avenue, Gerritsen Beach, NY
Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Mon-Sun

Social Security Building, Gravesend, 10 Bouck Court, Brooklyn, NY 11223
Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Mon-Sun


Duane Reade (Waldbaums Supermarket parking lot), 115-12 Beach Channel Drive, Far Rockaway, NY 11694
Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Mon-Sun

Community Church of the Nazarene, 1414 Central Avenue, Far Rockaway, NY 11691
Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Mon-Sun

Fort Tilden Park (Building 415), 1-199 Rockaway Point Boulevard, Breezy Point, NY 11697
Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Mon-Sun

American Legion, 209 Cross Bay Boulevard, Broad Channel, NY 11693
Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Mon-Sun

Storefront, 1001 Beach 20th Street, Far Rockaway, NY 11691
Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Mon-Sun

Staten Island:

Miller Field, 600 New Dorp Lane, Staten Island, NY 10306
Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Mon-Sun

Corner of Father Capodanno Boulevard and Hunter Avenue, Staten Island, NY 10305
Hours: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Mon-Sun

Mount Loretto CYO, 6581 Hylan Boulevard, Staten Island, NY 10309
Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Mon-Sun

Mount Manresa Jesuit House, 239 Fingerboard Road, Staten Island, NY 10305
Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Mon-Sun

Borough Hall, 10 Richmond Terrace, Staten Island, NY 10301
Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Mon-Sun

Kia in Staten Island, 1976 Hylan Boulevard, Staten Island, NY 10306
Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Mon-Sun

The housing authority announced Monday evening that heat and hot water has been restored to all public housing buildings affected by Hurricane Sandy, and by Tuesday 98 percent of the agency's damaged elevators were working again.

NYCHA officials warned that some residents could "occasionally experience service disruptions as generators are disconnected" and roughly 24 temporary boilers in affected buildings are being serviced.

Nearly all city public housing residents who have been without electricity since the storm hit are back on the grid.

However, the housing authority also said this is because there is a delay between power restoration and its actual return due to damaged circuits.

Public housing residents who still lack heat and hot water are asked to call the NYCHA Customer Contact Center at 1-718-707-7771.


The Queens Midtown Tunnel will have its normal traffic pattern back in place for the Monday morning rush.

The weekday "contraflow" traffic pattern, which creates an extra lane heading into Manhattan from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m., is coming back for the first time since Sandy hit.

The overhead signal system needed for this traffic pattern was damaged after the tunnel was flooded by Sandy.

Contraflow traffic allows three lanes to head into Manhattan from Queens.

The city also says that New York Water Taxi will run the new Staten Island ferry route to Manhattan that starts Monday.

The temporary ferry service will run for the next eight weeks between Great Kills, Pier 11 at Wall Street, and East 35th Street.

The ferries will make six trips in each direction each day, leaving Staten Island between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. and coming back between noon and 6:15 p.m.

The one-way fare is $2.

A shuttle bus will link the ferry landing at Great Kills with the S78 and SBS S79 bus stop at Buffalo Street and Hylan Boulevard, and with parking areas inside Great Kills Park.

In addition, Governor Cuomo and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie announced Saturday that weekday PATH train service will resume to Lower Manhattan along the World Trade Center line Monday morning.

The line will run Monday through Friday from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. and make stops at the Newark, Harrison, Journal Square, Grove Street and Exchange Place stations in New Jersey, as well as the World Trade Center station in New York City.

Weekend service will continue to be unavailable so crews can continue repair efforts.

Service on the 33rd Street PATH line will also resume Monday, as trains between Journal Square and 33rd Street will make all station stops, including Christopher Street.

The Hoboken Station is still closed after suffering severe damage.

Governor Cuomo also announced that the Long Island Rail Road is restoring electric service on the Long Beach branch for Sunday.

The Long Beach branch will operate a regular weekend schedule Sunday, with four extra holiday trains running in each direction.

On Monday, four a.m. peak trains and four p.m. peak trains will be canceled due to reduced capacity out of two of Amtrak's East River tunnels following Sandy.

The city Departments of Transportation and Sanitation say alternate-side parking are suspended indefinitely in parts of Brooklyn and Queens.

Those areas are:
- Brooklyn Community Board 6 west of and including Hamilton Avenue, which includes the neighborhood of Red Hook.
- Brooklyn Community Board 18, which covers Canarsie, Bergen Beach, Mill Basin, Flatlands, Marine Park, Georgetown and Mill Island.
- Brooklyn Community Board 13, which represents Coney Island, Brighton Beach, Bensonhurst, Gravesend and Sea Gate.
- Brooklyn Community Board 15, which includes Sheepshead Bay, Manhattan Beach and Gerritsen Beach and Homecrest.
- Queens Community Board 14, which covers the Rockaways. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP