Shake Shack Still Crowded As Parks Reopen After the Storm

By Julie Shapiro on August 29, 2011 1:12pm 

Sunbathers relaxed in Madison Square Park Aug. 29, 2011, one day after Hurricane Irene.
Sunbathers relaxed in Madison Square Park Aug. 29, 2011, one day after Hurricane Irene.
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DNAinfo/Mary Johnson

MANHATTAN — The Shake Shack in Madison Square Park was as crowded as ever Monday morning, as parks across Manhattan reopened following the storm.

While crews raked fallen leaves from Madison Square Park's central lawn, sunbathers relaxed on benches and Shake Shack's burger line curled around the edge of the park.

"Post-Hurricane you think it would be shorter," said Damien Ramos, 24, from Queens who works 24th Street and often grabs lunch at the popular burger joint.

In Central Park, damage from Hurricane Irene was not serious enough to keep pedestrians and cyclists away, but the park did close its roads to cars Monday morning to expedite the cleanup of downed branches. 

Other open parks as of Monday morning included Battery Park, Battery Park City's parks, Hudson River Park, East River Park, Morningside Park, Marcus Garvey Park, Jackie Robinson Park and Riverside Park. Isham Park, Fort Tryon Park, High Bridge Park and Inwood Hill Park were also open Monday in spite of felled trees, but the playgrounds were locked.

In Union Square Park — which was mostly open, except for its lawn, which is closed on Mondays — workers cleared fallen leaves and moved tables and chairs back out onto the public plazas.

However, Tompkins Square Park was still closed Monday morning, as was Corlears Hook Park, along the FDR Drive at Cherry Street, where many trees came down during the storm.

The High Line did not open until just after noon, disappointing tourists who had hoped to visit it Monday morning.

The city's beaches and pools were also still closed Monday, along with some park recreation centers, and the Parks Department urged the public to be careful in using any playgrounds that appeared to be damaged.

The Parks Department is regularly updating its website with information on which parks are open.

The city is seeking volunteers this week to help clear downed trees from parks and streets. To apply, visit NYC Service's website.

Across the city, about 1,770 trees were uprooted or split during the storm, about half in Queens, according to the mayor's office.

One group of trees that weathered the storm well was the crop of young swamp white oaks at the 9/11 memorial, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Monday.

Not a single tree fell in the storm, and "Survivor Tree," a callery pear that just barely made it through the World Trade Center attacks, also held up under Irene's wind and rain.

To report downed trees or braches, call 311 or visit 311 online.

With reporting by Leslie Albrecht, Ben Fractenberg, Patrick Hedlund, Mary Johnson, Matthew Katz and Carla Zanoni.

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