Upper West Side

Water Main Break Floods Subways and UWS Streets Near Lincoln Center, Disrupts Commute

Broadway southbound will be closed for a few days in order to make repairs to the water main; There is water inside several businesses, including a garage with 52 cars under water

What to Know

  • A water main break flooded Upper West Side streets near Lincoln Center Monday morning, disrupting morning commute for residents
  • Crews were on the scene on Broadway between 66th and 64th Street after the call came in just before 5 a.m.
  • Aerial images from Chopper 4 showed extensive flooding on the streets with a shallow body of moving water around parked cars

A water main break flooded Upper West Side streets near Lincoln Center Monday, disrupting commutes along a major subway line — and the city says complete repairs could take days.

Crews were on the scene on Broadway between 66th and 64th streets after the call came in just before 5 a.m. about what appeared to be a leaky hydrant, according to the FDNY. However, it was clear once firefighters arrived on scene it was not what was initially reported, the FNDY said.

Aerial images from Chopper 4 show extensive flooding on the streets with a shallow body of moving water around parked cars. Authorities said at a later news briefing that people who live in nearby buildings may see discolored water, saying that one should let the water run and clear. The city's DEP will be out taking water samples.

The flooding shut down 1, 2 and 3 train service in Manhattan between 42nd and 96th streets in both directions, prompting power to be shut off around 6 a.m., the MTA said. Train service resumed with delays shortly before 4 p.m.

The MTA is currently pumping out water from the stations and assessing the damages, and assessing equipment.

Some water could be seen on the 1 train track at 66th Street just before the transit agency announced service suspension.

The water main rupture ended with 55,000 subway riders rerouted while MTA crews pumped water from stations and inspected 12 switches and 72 signals as crews worked to dry out waterlogged components by hand. 

The MTA estimates that more than 500,000 gallons of water rushed into the subway system, with MTA President Andy Byford calling the efforts to get the water removed and rails cleared "herculean."

The gushing water appeared to be several inches high in some spots. One Twitter user said he had just got to work at the Starbucks on 63rd and Broadway and had to wade through the grimy pond.

At 64th Street and Ninth Avenue, the water was above workers' knees at one point. The wet circumstances also prompted the doormen at Lincoln Plaxa Tower to don plastic bag booties in an attempt to stay dry.

Some buildings on the affected streets appeared to have experienced minor flooding. A number of stores also experienced flooded due to the water main break.

There is water inside several businesses including a garage with 52 cars under water, NYIT, TKTS and restaurant Rosa Mexicana -- all dealing with various amounts of flooding.  Additionally, the water main burst caused some buildings lost power.

The FDNY spent the better part of the morning pumping the water that made its way into properties.

It wasn't immediately clear what caused the water main break. However, according to city officials, Broadway southbound will be closed for a few days in order to make repairs to the water main. Parts of Columbus and other streets may be closed periodically as well.

Residents of a nearby building were told by building management they may need to wear boots when they walked out the front door.

They were also told not to go to the basement under any circumstance because of an electrocution risk from the flooding.

Images obtained by News 4 show murky water in what appears to be the stairwell of a building impacted by the water main break and subsequent flooding.

NYC Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Vincent Sapienza said the department along with the FDNY are assessing the damage to buildings impacted by the rupture.

In a statement to News 4 New York, Lincoln Center said that despite the water main burst, the main Lincoln Center campus remains open to visitors and classes at Julliard School will continue as scheduled. However, certain locations remain closed.

"This morning, a water main break occurred near the Lincoln Center campus. The main campus remains open to visitors and classes at The Juilliard School will proceed as scheduled. The David Rubenstein Atrium, TKTS Discount Booth, and the David H. Koch Theater remain closed due to their proximity to the water main. While the physical box office and call center at the David H. Koch Theater are closed, online ticket sales and event information are still available," the statement said.

The water main burst and subsequent flooding resulted in one doorman being taken to the hospital with minor injuries when he was cut by debris. He is expected to be fine.

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