Officials have ordered the evacuation of several heavily Jewish Brooklyn neighborhoods in the face of the once-in-a-generation hurricane barreling towards New York City and the Jersey Shore.
Some in the Hurricane Sandy-threatened areas are taking the warnings seriously. Others, less so.
“Everyone is just drinking cocktails and hanging out,” said Dan Sieradski, a guest at an ongoing wedding in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, which is under mandatory evacuation. “If you look outside, everything is completely grey windy and whipping around.”
The unprecedented storm has forced the shutdown of public transit in New York City beginning at 7 p.m. Sunday. Public schools are closed Monday, as are many offices. Mayor Michael Bloomberg warned at a Sunday press conference that the storm could bring periods of flooding and urged that those in evacuation areas to leave their homes.
The mayor has issued evacuation orders for Brighton Beach, Manhattan Beach, Coney Island parts of Sheepshead Bay, and the Rockaways, among other neighborhoods. All of those neighborhoods have significant Jewish populations.
The monster storm strengthened on Monday after hundreds of thousands moved to higher ground, public transport shut down and the U.S. stock market suffered its first weather-related closure in 27 years.
About 50 million people from the Mid-Atlantic to Canada were in the path of the nearly 1,000-mile-wide storm, which forecasters said could be the largest to hit the mainland in U.S. history. It was expected to topple trees, damage buildings, cause power outages and trigger heavy flooding.