The damage done by Superstorm Sandy is still lingering in New York even one month later. The iconic Statue of Liberty faced the brunt of the storm. Though Lady Liberty still stands tall, her beacon of light is littered with debris. Zoraida Sambolin had visited the recently renovated statue just before the storm had hit, when it was preparing to reopen to the public. Today, “while the statue itself is intact, the grounds suffered enough damage to force the closure of the park to the public indefinitely,” she says. “The national park service is now in the midst of a massive clean up effort in hopes of reopening both [the Liberty and Ellis Island] parks sometime early next year.”
She returned to the Statue of Liberty yesterday to see that Liberty Island had suffered devastation from the storm all around. The effects of Sandy were not just structural. Regularly, about 160 people work on the Island between the concession area and the park staff. “Concession workers and ferry employees were laid off this week due to the extended closure of both islands,” Sambolin reports. Park employees were sent to other parks. But Superintendent of the Statue of Liberty, Dave Luchsinger, sees better days ahead. “To see it in the state it's in right now,” he says about the statue, “I know it's going to be better.”
Superstorm Sandy has left a massive clean up operation in its wake, but residents are now facing a new threat: scams.
The biggest one at the moment involves towing companies which may be taking advantage of the disaster, ripping off cars and leaving owners caught off guard.
CNN National Correspondent Susan Candiotti joins the New York Police Department in pursuit of con artists looking to profit off of a disaster.
NYU Langone Medical Center caught media attention during Superstorm Sandy when the hospital was forced to evacuate hundreds of patients, including infant babies, while the storm raged on. The center suffered extensive flood damage, and now a massive cleanup operation is underway. CNN was the first network to be allowed to have cameras inside to see the damage. Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen surveyed the damage.
The hospital was “ruined by more than 10 million gallons of flood water,” Cohen reports. It's been pumped out, but Cohen and her guide Richard Cohen, the Vice President of Facilities Operations, wear a mask because of the smell left behind. In the cellar, the water destroyed several million dollars worth of equipment in an MRI suite. On the first floor, the water was so high people could have almost been under water. A lecture hall “became a swimming pool.”
“NYU Langone has brought in hundreds of clean up workers,” Cohen reports, “some with specialized skills from around the country.” “Clean up is 24/7, expected to cost around $700 million.”
NYU Langone's Chairman of the Board, Ken Langone, was a patient at the hospital the night of the storm. He was recovering from pneumonia and walked out the building during the evacuation. “They woke me up and said we're evacuating,” Langone says. “And I said ‘fine.’ So I got up and brushed my teeth, put my clothes on and I said ‘let's go.’”
Now many rooms throughout the medical center are idle. Langone says he hopes they will be up and running again in about four weeks.
Hard hit residents of Staten Island are dealing with the third week of the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. Nick and Diane Camerada are two of them. CNN’s Mary Snow talks to the Cameradas about how they are coping.
While others in his community were anticipating a visit from President Obama to survey the damage there, Nick's mission was “keeping the heat on in his family's Staten Island house.” Snow says Nick “was more concerned with working on the boiler he was able to rig up just Wednesday to provide heat.”
CNN first caught up with the Cameradas last week as Nick described his harrowing experience.
“I went through the most pain that I ever went through in my whole life,” Nick had said, “from being electrocuted trying to get back into my house to watching everything, all my possessions and my family practically almost dying.”
Friends and relatives of the couple have been offering help since then, even delivering gasoline for the generator.
The Cameradas plan to rebuild their home, Snow reports. “But they say the 19- thousand-dollars they've been told they can get in government aid won't be enough—and feared the President wouldn't see how bad the damage really is.”
Nick says everything's all cleaned up now, but “it wasn’t pretty like this” the last few days. “They cleaned up now because the president is coming down to see the progress that was made down here.”
The Cameradas were able to speak about their struggles to President Obama once he arrived. Obama said he was committed to helping them out. “I'm gonna stay on it,” Obama said. “I’m not gonna be a stranger and suddenly forget all about it.”
They say they’ll see if Obama keeps his word on their road to recovery. “We’re gonna see the real Barack Obama,” Nick says, “his true colors.”
Snow says the Camerada’s “home still has no electricity and they learned of a potential setback. The gas line may be shut down while repairs are made, leaving them in the cold once again.”
Residents of Long Island are still suffering from the effects of Superstorm Sandy. Loss of power continues to be an issue for thousands of people more than two weeks since the storm hit, and they have yet to hear from the source of their problems: the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA), which failed to make basic preparations. LIPA is now the target of a class-action lawsuit and its chief operating officer is stepping down. CNN’s Deborah Feyerick has more on the story.
“People on Long Island are tired of the cold, the dark, and the run around from the power company out here—known as LIPA,” Feyerick reports.
She says CNN tried to get answers from LIPA's Chief Operating Officer, Michael Hervey, before receiving word of his resignation. A note on LIPA’s office doors read “the offices are temporarily closed. All employees are currently assisting with the storm effort.” LIPA informed Feyerick that Hervey was not available the rest of the day, and would not make any other officials available for an interview with CNN either.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is now calling for an investigation into LIPA. Governor Cuomo has said, “Many of these systems were failing to begin with.”
LIPA says they began replacing the system, Feyerick reports. The entire process is expected to take between 18 months to two years to complete.
Thousands of people in New York City and Long Island are now entering week three without power after superstorm Sandy. And anger is boiling over, especially at LIPA, the power company that serves Long Island and hard-hit Far Rockaway in Queens.
This morning on "Early Start," CNN's Victor Blackwell reports live from Belle Harbor on the latest.
Far Rockaway, New York (CNN) - First Sandy. Then a nor'easter. Residents in this small hamlet at the eastern edge of Rockaway Peninsula are exhausted and on edge.
Eleven days after Superstorm Sandy made landfall, flooding nearly all of the Rockaways, they are still cold and in the dark.
Huddled beneath blankets and with the car's heat cranked up, 56-year-old Matt Lintonmapp Jr. has spent every night sleeping in his car since Sandy left him homeless.
Earlier in the week, fistfights broke out at relief supply depots in Far Rockaway, Queens, just as the first snowfall of the year blanketed the region and ushered in fresh misery to those already battered by Sandy.
Clean, running water is also in shorter supply across the peninsula in the wake of the crisis. Some residents were seen carrying buckets of water to wash down their toilets. Others boiled water to drink later or use for cooking. Still, gas remains the crucial thing here.
This morning on "Early Start," CNN's Victor Blackwell reports on how residents are coping after Sandy as they enter a third week without power or heat.
Superstorm Sandy still has many families reeling in the Northeast, leaving them displaced or without power and heat in their homes. Nor’easter hit the tri-state area not long after the disaster and added fuel to the fire. CNN’s Susan Candiotti has been following the story and reporting the aftermath of both in coastal New Jersey. She speaks with one couple returning home after Nor’easter and Sandy.
Bill and Sue Kosakowski’s Pelican Island home took a fierce beating during the storm. Sue had decided to evacuate while Bill remained to ride out the storm alone until it was too much for him to bear. “I rode out the storm Friday morning. I said I couldn't take anymore because they turned the gas off,” Bill says. “That was enough for me and I told my wife I would walk across the bridge if I had to and I was getting off."
Candiotti accompanies the couple as they make their emotional return together for the first time after the ordeal. The sight stuns them, but Sue is grateful. "The house is stones and bricks and windows and glass. I thought I lost him and losing him would have just devastated me,” she says. “I don't know how long I could have gone on.”
Bill takes stock of their dream retirement home. “You expect to spend the rest of your life in calm and peace,” he says. “And in one felt swoop, everything washed away."
Christine Romans explains that fear, not a fuel shortage, is leading to long lines at gas stations across the northeast.
CNN's Brian Todd reports on the frustration felt by Staten Island residents in the clean up after superstorm Sandy.