Over two million New Yorkers have been left without power after Hurricane Sandy raged through the Tri-State Area on Monday. Some of the city’s most elaborate institutions, including the subway and public school systems and the New York Stock Exchange, have temporarily shut down. The New School’s academic buildings have been closed since Sunday at 3 p.m. And they will remain as such until Monday, the university announced this afternoon.
The university’s William Street dorms were evacuated earlier this evening. Consolidated Edison confirmed earlier today that the building will not regain power until next week. Students needing shelter can either relocate to the gymnasium at One Pace Plaza — Pace University’s flagship complex, located across City Hall — or to Arnhold Hall — at 55 W. 13th Street. At the latter, culinary services provider Chartwells is distributing food and beverages, and a generator is delivering electricity, despite worries that it will lose charge within the next 12 to 36 hours.
“We are doing everything we can to shelter our students hardest hit by the storm,” said university spokesman Sam Biederman.
President Van Zandt was at Arnhold Hall for most of the day. Other university personnel, including Vice Provost Pat Baxter, Eugene Lang College Dean Stephanie Browner and New School for Drama Dean Pippin Parker, also visited the facility.
The administration has yet to determine what they will do once the generator at 55 W. 13th Street runs out, University Student Senate co-chair Katherine Towell told the Free Press.
New York University has also combined resources with The New School. NYU’s Bobst Library is open to New School students, according to Linda Reimer, Senior Vice President for Student Services.
City transportation is slowly being restored. The Lincoln Tunnel was reopened this morning, and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority reinstituted New York City bus service at 5 p.m. this afternoon, operating sans fees and on a Sunday schedule. But seven subway tunnels under the East River have flooded with corrosive saltwater. And according to MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota, the water could take days to clear.
Much of the university’s online presence is also down. Internet services such as MyNewSchool and Blackboard are inaccessible to most students. And The New School’s Gmail system is only available through mobile devices. The university will keep students, faculty, and family members up to date on their website’s status page and Facebook page.
Students who typically commute to classes have inquired about staying in New School facilities and are being directed to find alternate housing. Roughly 65 shelters are open citywide.
Information technology personnel is also estimating that Blackboard and MyNewSchool will be down for at least the next two days.
“If further evacuation is necessary, they see tomorrow as the better time to do it, since bus service will be running and at no cost.”
With reporting by Danielle Balbi and Harrison Golden.