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Uptown Spared Worst of Hurricane Sandy Wrath

By DNAinfo Staff on October 30, 2012 8:08pm

By Sherry Mazzocchi
Special to DNAinfo

UPPER MANHATTAN — As Hurricane Sandy left a path of destruction in the outerboroughs and Downtown, Manhattan north of West 155th Street was largely spared aside from downed trees and temporary flooding.

Trees crashed onto cars and in city parks, mangled street signs flapped in the high winds and fell on street corners, and minor flooding damaged property, but Hurricane Sandy largely spared Inwood and Washington Heights.

Police said no hurricane-related injuries were reported uptown, but that 18 people had slept at the George Washington High School shelter Monday night. Police were also making periodic checks on senior citizens residences in the area to confirm the facilities were operational and residents were safe.

Homes near the Inwood eastern shoreline saw considerable flooding as Sherman Creek overflowed around high tide at 9 p.m. Monday night and water ran across Tenth Avenue into the New York City Housing Authority's (NYCHA) Dyckman Houses.

Resident Claudia Salas said water started rushing into the lobby of her building at West 202nd St. and Tenth Avenue around 9 p.m.

“It was knee deep inside the building lobby and hip deep outside," she said.

A crew of NYCHA workers removed fallen trees from the grounds Tuesday morning and said that at least six large trees sustained wind damage and several large branches were downed.

Across the street at the Con Edison substation, one maintenance worker confirmed that the station was flooded, but said there was no damage.

The Harlem River Drive was closed to passengers for most of the day as was the Henry Hudson Parkway near Inwood. Livery cab driver Ismail Awaodh said tree branches along the highway likely blocked the roads.

"But it's much worse downtown," he said.

Some local businesses sustained minor damage. According to a statement issued by Deputy Inspector Barry Buzzetti of the 34th Precinct, several locations in the precinct suffered downed awnings and storefronts and attempts were being made to contact the owners to remove debris.

Along St. Nicholas and 178th St., a clothing store’s iron gate was completely ripped off. 

Just a few blocks away, on Wadsworth Avenue and West 176th Street a construction shed was partially blown away. 

Several trees in Fort Tryon Park and Inwood Hill Park were uprooted with large branches sheared. Inwood Hill Park suffered flooding several times when high tide filled the salt marsh and the Harlem River and pushed the water onto the soccer and baseball fields, Indian Road lawn and Columbia University's Boathouse.

A Parks Department worker who declined to give his name said he’d seen at least 20 downed trees just along the park’s perimeter.

“I haven’t even been inside yet,” he said. 

He expected the damage would be greater inside. “Last night the wind was ridiculous. It was shaking the trees like paper.”

Due to falling branches, park entrances were cordoned off with tape and police asked residents to stay away out until it is safe to enter.

According to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, all city parks are closed until further notice.