Greenwich Village Water Main Break Floods Streets, Cripples Subway Service

By Tracie Strahan
|  Wednesday, Jan 15, 2014  |  Updated 7:20 PM EDT
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A water main broke in Greenwich Village early Wednesday, gushing water onto Fifth Avenue and wreaking havoc on subway service. Gus Rosendale has the story.

A water main broke in Greenwich Village early Wednesday, gushing water onto Fifth Avenue and wreaking havoc on subway service. Gus Rosendale has the story.

A water main broke in Greenwich Village early Wednesday, gushing water onto Fifth Avenue, causing the road to buckle and disrupting subway service in three boroughs.

A 36-inch main that dates to 1877 broke around 12:30 a.m. at East 13th Street and Fifth Avenue, the city's Department of Environmental Protection said. Water spouted into the streets, turning roadways into rivers, and dripped through sewer grates, flooding subway tracks below. 

The break disrupted subway service in Manhattan and Queens, including halting large parts of the B and D lines for most of the morning rush hour. 

Fifth Avenue was also closed between 12th and 14th streets after the break, officials said, and bus service in the area was rerouted. The force of the water caused a section of the road to buckle, officials said.

Nearby parking garages were flooded, and some cars had water damage.

The leak was stopped by about 5:30 a.m., officials said, but subway riders endured significant delays throughout the morning. The MTA said service was restored, with delays, by about 10:30 a.m.

Five buildings nearby were without water.

Water had receded below street level by 6 a.m., officials said, leaving behind a layer of sludge. It could be two to three days before the area is cleaned up.

One resident, Kayla Caul, said she and her roommate got to the intersection about 15 minutes after water began gushing into the streets and couldn't get into her apartment building. 

"We want to get a kayak and start kayaking down the avenues," Caul said.

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