Hit Hard by Sandy, Coney Island Museum Will Re-Open May 26

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Image via Coney Island USA
After being closed for a year and a half due to Hurricane Sandy-related renovations, the world-famous, sideshow-hosting, awesome-stuff-having Coney Island Museum will re-open May 26, just in time for Memorial Day. We're so excited we may show up dressed as a topless mermaid.

Coney Island was hit especially hard by Sandy; in April of last year, the area's unofficial mayor, Dick Zigun, who runs the museum and heads Coney Island USA, the non-profit behind it, told the Daily News the museum had suffered "major damage" to the museum, its props and inventory.

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Federal Judge: New York City's Disaster Plan Discriminates Against Disabled People

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C.S. Muncy
Manhattan, post-Sandy.
Here's another nice parting gift for the Bloomberg administration in its waning days: a massive ruling issued late yesterday by a federal judge in New York's Southern District found that the city's emergency management plan discriminates against people with disabilities. The judge, Jesse M. Furman, devoted a full 119 pages to outlining all the ways the city -- and Michael Bloomberg specifically, in his capacity as mayor -- has failed to accommodate the city's nearly 900,000 disabled people during disasters like hurricanes Irene and Sandy.

"Most significantly," Furman wrote, "the City's plans are inadequate to ensure that people with disabilities are able to evacuate before or during an emergency; they fail to provide sufficiently accessible shelters; and they do not sufficiently inform people with disabilities of the availability and location of accessible emergency services."

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Stories From Hurricane Sandy and the Year Since

Categories: Hurricane Sandy

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C.S. Muncy
Much of lower Manhattan stayed dark for four days.
A year ago today, Sandy whipped through New York, bringing 100 mph winds and a 100-year flood. The storm sparked fires, and left the city cloaked in darkness for days.

A year removed from the event, this city is still feeling Sandy's effects in a million different ways. Our favorite stories from the storm, and the year since, represent only a small sample.

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Wall Street Trader Entices Bansky with $100,000 to Help With Sandy Recovery, Gives Money to Charity Anyway

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Banksy.co.uk
A Wall Street trader has followed through on his promise to give to the Sandy rebuilding effort even if Banksy didn't lend his star power. Nelson Saiers, the hedge fund manager behind HeyBanksy.com, a scheme to get Banksy to bring publicity to ongoing Sandy recovery efforts, has decided to donate his money whether or not the graffiti artist delivers by the end of his residency this week.

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A Surprise Million-Dollar Donation Kept Sandy Evacuees Living in Hotels From Becoming Homeless

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Anna Merlan
Cherell Manuel, one of the Sandy evacuees at last week's press conference. "They act like we asked to be here," she said of city officials. "We're victims of a devastation."
Last Wednesday, the situation was dire: Three hundred people made homeless by Hurricane Sandy had been living in hotels for nearly a year when the city stepped in and said the program needed to end. The evacuees would need to move into homeless shelters, although many of them were just weeks from getting back into permanent housing. They had no desire to start over in the city's cramped, chaotic shelter system. At a press conference on the steps of City Hall organized by New York Communities for Change, several dozen of the evacuees said they weren't going anywhere and pleaded with the city for a little more time.

But there was no official response from the Bloomberg administration. Judith Goldiner, an attorney with the Legal Aid Society, who have been working with the evacuees, felt despondent. Then, late Thursday, she got a surprising call. "I got word we had an anonymous donor of $1 million," she says. "It's crazy."

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Wealthy Trader Nelson Saiers Will Pledge $100,000 to Charity if Banksy Does a Hurricane Sandy Piece

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Banksy.co.uk
One wealthy man has decided to capitalize on Banksy's exposure to bring attention to the coming anniversary of Sandy. Hedge fund manager Nelson Saiers has offered to donate $100,000 a charity support recovery efforts if Banksy uses part of his New York residency to create hurricane-related pieces. In a letter on Saiers' website, Hey Banksy, Saiers asks the artist to raise awareness with his art. But there's a catch: Banksy must not break the law and "respect property rights." We're not sure if Mr. Saiers is familiar with graffiti, but breaking the law and disrespecting property rights are kind of the first steps of tagging.

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Facing Eviction Tomorrow, Hurricane Sandy Evacuees Living In Hotels Say They Won't Go Without a Fight

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Anna Merlan
Cherell Manuel, one of 300 Sandy evacuees the city is trying to evict from her hotel
Since May, New York City officials have been trying to evict over 300 people from the hotels where they've been staying for nearly a year, after becoming homeless during Hurricane Sandy. The city says the hotel program has cost $73 million in FEMA funds so far and that now that FEMA has stopped reimbursing the city, they can't afford to shoulder the cost on their own. The Sandy evacuees will have to go into homeless shelters.

But at a press conference Friday on the steps of City Hall organized by New York Communities for Change, a couple dozen of those evacuees made it clear they weren't going anywhere without a fight. "They act like we asked to be here," says Cherell Manuel, 46, formerly of Far Rockaway. She and her four children have been at the Manhattan at Times Square Hotel for the past three months, their third hotel this year. "We're victims of a devastation."

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Massive Fire Ravages Seaside Park, New Jersey Boardwalk, Rebuilt After Sandy

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Image via NBC New York

A fire has destroyed much of the iconic Seaside Park boardwalk in New Jersey, including large portions of the Funtown Pier amusement park. Around 11 p.m. last night, after nine hours of work by fire crews, the blaze was declared officially contained. Overnight, it destroyed some 40 to 50 businesses, many of them rebuilt after widespread devastation during Hurricane Sandy. Councilwoman Nancy Koury told the Associated Press the fire had caused millions of dollars in damage. In a press conference near the boardwalk, looking shocked and sooty, Governor Chris Christie said, "I feel like I want to throw up."

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A New Study Shows Sea-Level Rise Made Flooding From Hurricane Sandy Worse. Surprise!

Categories: Hurricane Sandy

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Photo Credit: NASA Goddard Photo and Video via Compfight cc
Mayor Bloomberg's post-Sandy climate resilience plan just got another boon: Last Thursday, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania showed the sea-level rise was a factor in flooding during Sandy. Over the last two centuries, sea-level rise has contributed more and more to flooding in the city during major storm events.

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The Wheels on Bloomberg's "Seaport City" Are Actually Turning!

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Photo Courtesy of NYC Mayor's Office
When the Bloomberg administration rolled out a 400-page proposal to better climate-change-proof the city, by far the sexiest part of the plan was Seaport City, an analog of Battery Park City for the east side of lower Manhattan. The sexiest, and also the most difficult to accomplish. But now it looks like Seaport City might actually happen: The administration has announced a Request For Proposals for a feasibility study for the development.

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