Massive water main break floods Upper West Side, delays subways

A water main break turned several streets in the Upper West Side near Lincoln Center into rivers early Monday, flooding the basements of several buildings and shutting down subway lines.

The FDNY received a call around 5 a.m. about a leaking fire hydrant at 1881 Broadway, but officials realized the problem was far more severe due to the volume of calls about the flooding, a fire official said at a press conference.

What firefighters discovered was that a 3-foot-wide main broke at Broadway at 63rd Street, spewing water across a wide swath — flooding parking garages, the 1, 2 and 3 subways and a number of basements, said Vincent Sapienza, commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection.

It took about three hours to finally stem the flow because shut-off valves are located in manholes, which were submerged, making them difficult to access, he said.

“We’re going to have Broadway southbound, the west side of Broadway closed down probably for a few days as we open up the street and make repairs,” Sapienza said. “While this water main is shut off, we’ll have water from other areas.”

He said residents might experience discolored water as a result of the “shaking of the pipes,” advising them to let the faucets run for a few minutes to help clear the harmless debris.

Workers will have to open up the pavement to reach the affected main and make repairs, he said.

“It will likely take a few days to actually have that work done and the street restored,” Sapienza said.

The flooding was still wreaking havoc in the area while the DEP worked to drain the water, which was six inches high in some spots. The water was flowing from east to west from Central Park West to Broadway.

Officials closed off part of Lincoln Center as well as the Fordham campus.  At one point the water was so overwhelming it turned Broadway into “a river” according to some passers-by on their way to work.

At the SP Parking garage at 62nd Street, several vehicles were submerged.

“My car … oh my God!” a distraught woman yelled as she ran down the ramp only to be stopped by attendants.

“Insurance will cover it,” one attendant said.

Commuters also were annoyed by lingering delays, particularly those who work in the area as whole sections of Broadway are being detoured.

“It’s crazy, you need a boat or something to get through. I didn’t end wear boots today and now we got all this … It’s dirty, too. The water’s brown. It better not be sewer water,” Michael Romero, 27, of The Bronx told The Post.

Original Article