Because of a friend’s wedding yesterday and related activities today, I’ve been home and awake for about 45 minutes in the past 24 hours (with a good chunk of that spent showering and getting dressed).
I’m a bit behind on posts and you may have already seen this elsewhere, but all city parks — including Central and Riverside Parks — are closing at 5:00 pm today (Sunday, 10/28).
Here’s the official announcement from NYC Parks & Recreation:
In preparation for Hurricane Sandy, the Parks Department will close all parks, playgrounds and beaches at 5 p.m. on Sunday, October 28, 2012. All events are cancelled after 2 p.m. on Sunday, October 28, 2012. Surfing is prohibited at all beaches throughout the course of the storm. For more information on closures, please visit our Hurricane Sandy Update page.
We urge people to stay out of parks and proceed with caution on tree-lined sidewalks in the event of falling trees or branches. To report downed trees or branches, please call 311. In case of emergency, please call 911.
The Riverside Park Fund has the following message on their website (they also sent out an e-mail blast earlier today with the same information):
We urge you to stay out of Riverside Park and to use caution around trees on the street and elsewhere due to a dangerous combination of storm-related factors.
Sustained heavy rains weaken the soil around trees making them less stable. Nearly all the trees we lost in Riverside Park during Hurricane Irene were simply uprooted from the saturated earth.
The rain also soaks tree limbs making them heavier and more prone to breaking. Sustained heavy winds and even stronger gusts can bring down limbs and large trees, especially when limbs and soil are waterlogged.
The trees’ being still in leaf only amplifies these hazards, making trees sail-like and more susceptible to the winds and adding further to the weight of limbs. Remember that the storm can affect street trees the same way as trees in parks.
Weakened and waterlogged trees and limbs can fall even after the storm has passed, and any post-storm pruning or tree removals and other cleanup work will go faster – and more safely – if park patrons remain out of harm’s way, so follow the directions of Parks Department and other City officials and continue to use caution when returning to the park.
In addition to trees, items from the street or nearby buildings can become airborne and pose a threat. Best to stay indoors for the duration of the storm.
Be safe, and please watch for further updates on how the storm is affecting Riverside Park, including athletic activities and other events in the park during the coming week.
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