As storm-ravaged homeowners living on the coasts of New Jersey and New York City continue to pick up the shattered, waterlogged pieces of their lives, pumping out the basement of the world’s financial capital is only beginning. After that come the safety inspections, the mop-ups, the dry-outs and the replacement of massive boilers, electrical boxes and other assorted parts that make up the guts of a skyscraper.Not since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks has the tip of Manhattan been so filled with cleanup crews and equipment. Buildings typically filled with office workers sit empty, many still running on minimal power supplied by generators inside or parked beside them.
“They have small generators in there right now,” said an electrician standing next to a Consolidated Edison Inc. (NYSE: ED) utility truck on Monday, pointing to one building on Hanover Square in the heart of the financial district (where the IBTimes offices are located.)
Inside, building staff wearing warm jackets in the chill worked in the dark, securing insurance waivers from office workers seeking to recover items they need to continue to work from home. Small generators were powering a few lights and two elevators. Guards with flashlights were escorting workers, two at a time, to darkened upper floors.“We need to remove the little generators to put in the temporary stuff in order to put in the permanent stuff,” said the ConEd worker. “Some people are being told not to return until after New Year’s.”