Long and Slow Recovery Expected for Lower Manhattan


More than a month later, Lower Manhattan residents and businesses are still struggling from the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.

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While some areas impacted by Superstorm Sandy have recovered and are back in business, it’s quite a different story for Lower Manhattan. Even six weeks after the storm, phone service is not back up in most parts. Verizon doesn’t expect service to be restored until May.

Lower Manhattan residents and businesses, particularly those at South Street Seaport and the Financial District, are hit hard.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg finds the timetable from Verizon simply “unacceptable.”

Mayor Bloomberg stepped in and placed a call with Verizon’s CEO last week. While nothing changes about when Verizon service will be back up for Lower Manhattan, together, the Mayor and Verizon have developed a plan that would provide temporary telecommunication services to come back to buildings by the end of the year. Until telephone service is available, businesses simply cannot function properly.

The problem lies in the massive flooding Lower Manhattan faced. Saltwater flooded buildings and ruined 95 percent of the copper wiring that ran under streets to provide telecommunication service. Now, Verizon has to essentially do new installations that took years to complete in a matter of months.

Streets of Lower Manhattan are typically bustling, but that’s not the case this holiday season. No phone and Internet service means shops are left to only accept cash payment – a great inconvenience during the shopping season. Those trying to keep business running are finding it difficult with the weakened infrastructure and other factors against it.