Inhuman Swill : NYC : Page 10

Heckuva job, Burkie!

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New York Times: Mayor Continues to Defend Chairman of Con Edison

"I think Kevin Burke deserves a thanks from this city," Mr. Bloomberg said. "He's worked as hard as he can every single day since then, as has everybody at Con Ed. And it’s easy to go criticize but once this happened, Con Ed has been doing everything they can to bring it back. And I don't think that I could have gone in and done any better."
First of all, doing everything they can to bring power back is not the sole criterion for doing a good job. Con Ed failed miserably at preventing this disaster, and then they underestimated the scope of the problem for days. That doesn't exactly merit thanks.

Second, who cares if Bloomberg couldn't have done a better job? He's a broadcast mogul and a (sometimes decent) mayor. He's not the head of a major metropolitan utility and never has been. So forgive me if I'm making a jacking-off gesture in Bloomie's direction.

And third, as someone on the Times message board observed: "You're doing a heckuva job, Burkie!"

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Still without full power

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The first photo says it all:

Gothamist: Queens Blackout, Day 8

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No end in sight

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Hell, at night there's very little of anything in sight:

Power Failure Lingers as Storm Slows Repairs

The police presence in the neighborhood is very impressive. So are the ConEd work crews we've seen plowing through the roadbeds of many streets in Astoria. I saw a crew on Steinway Street up to their shoulders in the street, flinging dirt out of the hole with shovels. Huge bundles of electrical cables snake out of open manholes and down the street, sometimes buried in trenches of fresh asphalt, sometimes out in the open. The mayor's command center is set up in the parking lot under the Triborough Bridge in Astoria Park, along with dozens of police vehicles. Sirens are the most common sound in the neighborhood, next to birdsong.

At least the weather is relatively cool today, but we groan every time it starts to rain, especially during the thunderstorms, because who's going to be working with electricity in the rain?

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TGIF?

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I'm afraid we're not surprised by this, but at least everyone seems to be paying attention now:

Queens Blackout May Last Through the Weekend

And it only took four days of complaining!

(Via Laura.)

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Welcome to the club

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But sometimes our mayor is pretty funny, as in this bit from AM New York:

"The sad thing is, this shouldn't have happened," Bloomberg said. "We don't know why, but the most important thing—make sure nobody dies or gets hurt and then help Con Ed to get it back up.

"And then we'll go and try to figure out why and point fingers and beat people over the head and all that sort of thing," added the mayor.  [full story]

Just let me know if I can help, Mike.

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Conned again

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ConEd's statement:

NEW YORK - Con Edison wants its customers in Northwest Queens to know that our crews are doing everything possible to restore power to its customers affected by the recent heat wave. The damage to our equipment was significant and extensive. We worked very closely with customers, businesses and city officials this week to ensure that outages weren't more widespread. We have hundreds of crews working around the clock in the area to assess the damage and repair many power cables, and will keep our customers updated as best as possible as to when full restorations will occur.

We appreciate their continued cooperation and patience during this difficult time. [that's the whole thing, really]

Ah, yes, that clears everything up. At least the mayor showed up to talk tough, as reported by the New York Times:

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg held a news conference in Astoria Park to reassure residents that he was pressing Consolidated Edison to restore power and telling them he was sending hundreds of city workers to help them.
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Conned

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No power until next week? So says Gothamist. Jesus!

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The 8% solution

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When you call ConEd today, they'll report an 8% voltage reduction in northwestern Queens. In our bit of Astoria, though, it's more like 8% voltage period.

For a couple of days now, throughout the heat wave, our power has flickered from time to time. We had pared our electricity usage down to bare essentials, like air conditioning and some lights. But last night, sometime between 11:00 and 11:30, the voltage fell drastically. Some appliances still ran, like the cheap digital clocks and the fan in the bedroom and the fluorescent light over the kitchen sink. But throughout most of our floor, there was not even enough power to run the lights. (The circuit breakers were all fine—I checked them.)

We sweated through the night with the windows open, though at least the thunderstorm last night had cooled things down. But there were lots of sirens.

By morning, a few of the incandescent lights showed a very faint orange glow if you turned them on. I called 311 and ConEd both, but got no helpful information. Laura took Ella out for a walk and gathered more helpful intelligence: electrical fires in the power lines all over our neighborhood. One man reported watching all the power lines for blocks around catch fire and burn. At 31st Avenue and about 44th Street, Laura herself saw a ConEd manhole cover in the street with black smoke pouring out it while it danced and popped and crackled. It was cordoned off and guarded by a cop.

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Manhattan alignment

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Today is the day for viewing a crosstown sunset:

http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap060712.html

As long as it's not cloudy out west, of course!

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So I looked online to find out which post office is closest to my new office. Then I set out through the heavy Queens-Midtown Tunnel–bound traffic to walk there. I needed to get there by 5:00 to put a story in the mail.

Turns out that the post office I chose is basically a garage. No consumer services. Thanks, usps.gov! Don't worry, though, I still made it to the one on 34th Street in time.

I'm usually a completely paranoid pedestrian, but on my little walk around midtown I stepped in front of a cab. Good thing he didn't feel like running over me! Don't need a sequel to last night's excitement.

I returned to discover that the men's room key is missing. All the men in the office were accounted for, so someone probably left it in the men's room. I can't throw stones. It could have been I.

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