The city is getting back on its feet after its rain legs were tested during yesterday's crazy downpour of water in a short time. The rainfall was at record levels in many parts of the city and surrounding areas and to put it in perspective, there was more rain yesterday than in all of August. Gothamist knew August was too good to be true!
Many buildings were flooded, with some parts of town submerged; businesses found their stock stored in basements ruined and there was flooding in a few Chelsea galleries. And the images of people walking to work over the Brooklyn Bridge (here's a photo from Newsday) had the eerie echo of the blackout. Mayor Bloomberg, however, stressed that no matter how stressful it was, what NYC went through today is nothing compared to what Florida has been through. That's very true, but we don't live in Florida and thus we don't expect such severe rain.
And for those stuck in subways, nerves were fraying easily: The NY Times spoke to one woman stuck on a train for over an hour; people were crying, the subway conductor was wonderfully calm, and everyone ran like the dickens to get out. In another NY Times article, Gene Russianoff, the staff attorney for the Straphangers Campaign, mentioned the August 26, 1999 storm that caused a similar transit stoppage. Gothamist remembers that storm very well, as it was just as impossible to move around the city - our offices were even evacuated but we ended up working at a local restaurant.
An instance like this is opportunity to educate everyone with the truth about the city's sewers, including that the 6000 miles of sewage lines are "dual use" - for rain and sewage & industrial waste: "Heavy rains perennially overwhelm the pipes, causing the flow to back up, dumping everything from fecal matter and household trash to industrial pollutants like oil, grease and heavy metals into the city's waterways and streets." Ewwww. Basically, we're walking into a huge toilet/sink. There's goes our happiness that dog poo and urine (possibly human as well) has been washed away.
Check out the reservoir levels - we're above normal, of course. How Stuff Works on what causes the smell after rain. Some songs about rain: Bob Dylan's A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall, Madonna's Rain, The Carpenters' Rainy Days and Mondays, and Singin' In The Rain.
Photo of firetruck in SoHo from the AP