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Cuomo, Nat'l Guard Give Thanksgiving Meals To Areas Recovering From Sandy

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Governor Andrew Cuomo helped National Guard members distribute hundreds of donated Thanksgiving meals to New Yorkers affected by Hurricane Sandy in the Breezy Point section of Queens Wednesday, and he told reporters that the federal government now recognizes Sandy as the second-worst hurricane to ever hit the United States.

Almost 4,000 donated meals went to residents and first responders in Queens, Staten Island, Brooklyn, Long Island and the Hudson Valley. Many of the items were donated by big-box stores, including Costco, ShopRite and Walmart.

Each distributed box included a turkey, two cans of vegetables, one can of cranberry sauce, one can of gravy, one box of stuffing and a loaf of bread.

Speaking at the Rockaway Point Fire Department, Cuomo said New Yorkers were working hard to take care of each other as Thanksgiving approached.

"It's a heart-warming story around Thanksgiving to see the way people have come together and the way that New Yorkers have come together and the way that the spirit of community is going to rebuild and I'm glad to be part of it," said Cuomo.

"This is a community of first responders and the first responders were hit hard themselves," said actor Steve Buscemi, who was on hand.

He expected federal officials to respect his request for roughly $30 billion in aid for the state, saying that Washington lawmakers recognize that Sandy's damage was topped by Hurricane Katrina, which slammed New Orleans and the Gulf Coast in 2005.

Also Wednesday, the food rescue group City Harvest picked up meals donated from local restaurants and kitchens and delivered them in neighborhoods that were hit hard by the storm.

Usually this time of year, City Harvest distributes 125,000 pounds of food a day, but following Sandy. the group is now distributing 225,000 pounds of food daily.

For more information, visit www.cityharvest.org.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg spent Wednesday getting a firsthand look at how the city's Rapid Repairs program is working in the Rockaways.

The mayor toured one of the first homes to get power, heat, and hot water back as a result of the program.

Rapid Repairs sends plumbers, electricians, and carpenters to homes in areas hit hard by Hurricane Sandy to get them fixed faster.

The owners of this home saud they're satisfied customers.

"I have the heat, I have lights and we, of course, have hot water, brand new boiler because the salt water destroyed the other one," said Rockaways resident Mary Butler. "It's great. Like the mayor said, we would've had to wait and wait and wait."

"We put together a program that has six contractors that we've signed contracts with," Mayor Bloomberg said. "They are putting together teams of carpenters and plumbers and electricians and somebody to assess what the damage is. They will come into your home, they'll take a look, they'll tell you what has to be done."

The Rapid Repairs program assigns contractors to areas hit hard by the storm and those contractors are then responsible for bringing in electricians, plumbers and other subcontractors.

Homes with green stickers from the Department of Buildings, meaning the house is structurally sound, get priority.

To take part in the program, residents must have a ID number from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

However, some complain that the work is not being done fast enough.

Some homeowners told NY1 on Tuesday that they have not heard from the Rapid Repairs program, weeks after they signed up for it.

Bloomberg said that with 6,500 people signed up for the program, it's unclear how long the work will take, but he did say contractors will have 100-person teams in each affected neighborhood starting next week.

Recovery And Relief

Transit And Traffic

City transit officials are working to increase methods of transit for areas in the five boroughs that received the most harm from Sandy.

The Department of Transportation is collecting bids for a temporary second Staten Island ferry that is expected to start sailing from Great Kills to Lower Manhattan on Monday.

On Tuesday, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority began running the new H train shuttle to run across the Rockaways. It is the first subway service in that area of Queens since Sandy hit more than three weeks ago.

The city's gas rationing to cars based on odd or even license plate numbers is currently in effect through Friday.

Vehicles with license plates that end in an odd number or vanity plates can only get gas at the pump on odd-numbered days, and vehicles with plates that end in an even number and zero can only get gas on even-numbered days.

Certain vehicles are exempt from the rationing, including vehicles with licenses from the Taxi and Limousine Commission, cars with medical doctor plates, commercial vehicles, emergency vehicles and buses.

To report price gouging at gas stations, call 1-800-771-7755 or go to the state attorney general's website at ag.ny.gov.

The city Departments of Transportation and Sanitation say alternate-side parking are suspended indefinitely in parts of Brooklyn and Queens.

Those areas are:
- Brooklyn Community Board 6 west of and including Hamilton Avenue, which includes the neighborhood of Red Hook.
- Brooklyn Community Board 18, which covers Canarsie, Bergen Beach, Mill Basin, Flatlands, Marine Park, Georgetown and Mill Island.
- Brooklyn Community Board 13, which represents Coney Island, Brighton Beach, Bensonhurst, Gravesend and Sea Gate.
- Brooklyn Community Board 15, which includes Sheepshead Bay, Manhattan Beach and Gerritsen Beach and Homecrest.
- Queens Community Board 14, which covers the Rockaways.

Public Housing

The New York City Housing Authority announced Monday evening that heat and hot water has been restored to all public housing buildings affected by Hurricane Sandy, and by Tuesday 98 percent of the agency's damaged elevators were working again.

NYCHA officials warned that some residents could "occasionally experience service disruptions as generators are disconnected" and roughly 24 temporary boilers in affected buildings are being serviced.

Nearly all city public housing residents who have been without electricity since the storm hit are back on the grid.

However, the housing authority also said this is because there is a delay between power restoration and its actual return due to damaged circuits.

Public housing residents who still lack heat and hot water are asked to call the NYCHA Customer Contact Center at 1-718-707-7771.

Repairing, Demolishing Buildings

Meanwhile, FEMA officials have also extended a program providing temporary housing to New Yorkers displaced by Hurricane Sandy.

The program, which offers hotel or motel rooms to FEMA applicants whose homes were damaged by the storm, is being extended to December 14.

Residents can also register for FEMA assistance at disasterassistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-3362. Phone lines are open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week.

FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers

Bronx:

12th Judicial District, 851 Grand Concourse, Bronx, NY 10451
Hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Mon-Fri

Brooklyn:

IKEA, 1 Beard Street, Brooklyn, NY 11231
Hours: 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Mon-Sun

Holy Family R.C. Church, 9719 Flatlands Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11236
Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Mon-Sun

Coffey Park, 85 Richards Street, Brooklyn, NY 11231
Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Mon-Sun

Gerritsen Little League Field, 2671 Gerritsen Avenue, Gerritsen Beach, NY
Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Mon-Sun

Social Security Building, Gravesend, 10 Bouck Court, Brooklyn, NY 11223
Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Mon-Sun

Queens:

Duane Reade (Waldbaums Supermarket parking lot), 115-12 Beach Channel Drive, Far Rockaway, NY 11694
Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Mon-Sun

Community Church of the Nazarene, 1414 Central Avenue, Far Rockaway, NY 11691
Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Mon-Sun

Fort Tilden Park (Building 415), 1-199 Rockaway Point Boulevard, Breezy Point, NY 11697
Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Mon-Sun

American Legion, 209 Cross Bay Boulevard, Broad Channel, NY 11693
Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Mon-Sun

Storefront, 1001 Beach 20th Street, Far Rockaway, NY 11691
Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Mon-Sun

Staten Island:

Miller Field, 600 New Dorp Lane, Staten Island, NY 10306
Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Mon-Sun

Corner of Father Capodanno Boulevard and Hunter Avenue, Staten Island, NY 10305
Hours: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Mon-Sun

Mount Loretto CYO, 6581 Hylan Boulevard, Staten Island, NY 10309
Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Mon-Sun

Mount Manresa Jesuit House, 239 Fingerboard Road, Staten Island, NY 10305
Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Mon-Sun

Borough Hall, 10 Richmond Terrace, Staten Island, NY 10301
Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Mon-Sun

Kia in Staten Island, 1976 Hylan Boulevard, Staten Island, NY 10306
Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Mon-Sun

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