New York Subway System Closed For “Four Or Five” Days

New York City didn’t take a direct hit from Sandy last night. Indeed, that happened some 150 miles to the south. Nonetheless, it was clear that the city was going to be impacted in a major way when water started flooding into the low lying areas around Battery Park and, eventually, into the subway tunnels. Now, it looks like it’s going to take an awful lot of work for a transportation system that nearly the entire city relies upon to get back up and running:

The New York City subway system, hit by unprecedented damage from the storm, will remain closed for “a good four or five days,” and schools will be closed again on Wednesday, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said Tuesday morning.

The mayor said, however, that he hoped some bus service would be restored by Tuesday afternoon, and that he hoped to announce full restoration of bus service by Wednesday.

As I noted yesterday, the primary reason for this is the impact that sea water has when it comes into contact with the switches and other sensitive electrical equipment that are omnipresent in the system. One wonders what the impact would’ve been if Sandy had struck further north.

FILED UNDER: Natural Disasters, , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. DC Loser says:

    If Sandy had come ashore at New York City then it may not have had the tidal surge effect into NY harbor that it had.

  2. @DC Loser:

    Fair point.

  3. lunaticllama says:

    That is not a photo of a NYC MTA subway station. That’s a photo of the PATH station in Hoboken, NJ. They are two separate unconnected systems.

  4. @lunaticllama:

    The source I got it from said it was a subway station

  5. @lunaticllama:

    Nonetheless, I have removed the photo to avoid any confusion

  6. DC Loser says:

    Here’s the 86th Station IRT station on the Upper East Side.

  7. JKB says:

    Three cheers for becoming dependent on public transportation

    Probably wouldn’t have been much worse if the landfall had been further north. The windfield of Sandy was 400 or so miles. That put strong east winds piling water up on the west end of the Sound blocking any flow up the East River. (12′ over tide at Kings Point.) Then as the storm went ashore and the wind veered from the SE, that fed right up NY harbor pushing even more water up to The Battery.

  8. James Joyner says:

    @JKB: Yes, we’d be so much better off if every swinging Richard in New York City was trying to get around in his or her own personal automobile. Frankly, I don’t know why they don’t try–there’s hardly any traffic in downtown Manhattan.

  9. DC Loser says:

    People never heard of bicycles?

  10. wr says:

    @JKB: “Three cheers for becoming dependent on public transportation”

    Well, we don’t all have the privilege of living in Piss Wallow, Arkansas, where everyone has at least three private vehicles, no more than two of which are on blocks outside the trailer at any given time.

  11. Dave Anderson says:

    @DC Loser: Agreed — the NYC Oh-Shit scenario #1 was Sandy that came ashore at Tom’s River/Lakehurst area in New Jersey just after a major eyewall replacement cycle and tracking northwest.

    NYC “only” got Oh-Shit scenario #2 — Sandy coming ashore at Atlantic City without an eyewall replacement cycle, and tracking more west than north

  12. Barry says:

    Has anybody estimated the impact of a Katrina hitting NYC? By that I mean a level 3 hurricane rolling almost right over the city proper. I have a feeling that it’d hurt NYC at least as much, but NYC has more political clout, so we see fewer people talking about abandoning the city.