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Sandy wallops Bergen, Hudson: Exclusive stories, photos

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot File Photo
Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot
Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot
Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot
Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot
Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot
Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot
Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

EXCLUSIVE SANDY DISPATCHES: Norwood had double trouble after Sandy’s high winds ripped the roof off a self-storage facility and a tree smashed through a passing car’s windshield, both on Livingston Street. Meanwhile, firefighters in Saddle Brook had to wait 4½ hours for a PSE&G crew while a former toy factory burned. And parts of Cliffside Park police headquarters were flooded — by a burst water pipe. As 1 a.m. passed, calls for swift-water rescues came in from Carlstadt and Moonachie , which were under water following a levee break.

Kingsberry Avenue, Westwood (CLIFFVIEW PILOT photo by Toni Ann Migliore)

Hackensack firefighters made a series of dramatic rescues after the Hackensack River rose suddenly, surprising and frightening residents who thought the worst would be reserved for always-flooded River Road.

Hudson and Court streets were among the areas where rescues were continuing past midnight — on residential streets where residents were without power. Firefighters from several neighboring towns, including Ridgefield Park rescue boat crews, converged on the county seat to help.

The river water “came in real fast,” Hackensack Fire Capt. Mark Cunico said. “Most people were really caught unaware.”

The roof of Norwood Self-Storage remained in the middle of the street much of the day — and might have to stay there awhile.

Fortunately, no one was in the area at the time.

“It’s a lot of roof,” Norwood Police Chief Jeffrey Krapels told CLIFFVIEW PILOT . “It can’t be moved right now.”

A short time earlier, a tree came down on Livingston and crashed through the windshield of a passing car.

The driver was taken to an area hospital with what Krapels described as “moderate injuries.”

Earlier, an elderly Fair Lawn woman was rushed to the hospital with severe head injuries after a tree fell on her Hillside Avenue house, trapping her underneath. She was alert as she was being taken to Hackensack University Medical Center, police said, but her condition appeared serious.

Newark & Grand in Hoboken tonight (from Twitter @amarHoboken )

Trees also crashed into homes in Bogota , Hillsdale , Ridgewood , River Vale , Woodcliff Lake , Washington Township and elsewhere, and across roadways small and large.

This afternoon, a motorist was reported trapped in a car struck by a tree in Alpine . No word was received before midnight on the victim’s condition.

DOT workers removed a tree that had fallen on Route 4 in Teaneck late this afternoon. Route 120 was closed in both directions after several utility poles fell a short time later.

Meanwhile, a condenser on the roof of the Cliffside Park municipal building tipped over and smashed a water pipe.

Water flooded the roof and poured onto the third floor of police headquarters. No evidence or records were destroyed, police said.

Down the hill in Edgewater , the Binghamton restaurant, already partially under water, continued to take on water.

Waves crashed over the path along the Jersey side of the Hudson River, as officials in Edgewater urged residents in low-lying areas to evacuate.

The photo above was taken by Pamela R. Doiron for CLIFFVIEW PILOT just before more than a third of Manhattan was plunged into darkness. Just about every light from 39th Street south of the island was out. That included NYU Langone Medical Center, which was evacuated after its backup power failed.

Manhattan was truly an island: The Lincoln Tunnel was the only open crossing at both the Hudson and East rivers.

The water rose three feet in Hoboken , where driving was banned at 4 o’clock. Video was posted of a torrent pouring through the Hoboken PATH station. Mayor Dawn Zimmer said about half of the mile-square city was under water by 11:30 p.m.

Hudson River waves also crashed south to Jersey City and north to Edgewater along the waterfront.

Meanwhile those in higher altitudes — from Alpine and Tenafly to Cliffside Park , Fairview and North Bergen — got the worst of the winds. Windows were blown out and power was knocked out in Fort Lee , a town lined with high-rises along the Palisades.

Meadow Road, Westwood (CLIFFVIEW PILOT photo)

Power outages kept spreading as Sandy, downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone, barreled into New Jersey. Reports of transformer explosions came in from several towns. The Westwood transfer station behind Memorial Field flashed briefly, but power in the immediate area wasn’t affected.

An estimated 1.6 million customers were without power at last count. As of 3:30 a.m. Tuesday, the overall total was a staggering 7,099,337 customers across 13 states.

They include Gov. Christie, who moved his family to the governor’s mansion at Drumthwacket after their Mendham home went dark.

NRoute 17, Lyndhurst (CLIFFVIEW PILOT photo)

Regional shelters were open at Bergen Community College in Paramus and the Lyndhurst Senior Center. Both can accommodate special needs and is domestic pet-friendly. Bring clothes, medications for yourself and/or family members, important documents, things to keep kids busy. If you bring a pet, have a carrier case or crate, leash, pet food, any medications, a water bowl and waste bags. For a county-by-county listing of shelters: nj211.org

4 Cambridge Road, Woodcliff Lake (CLIFFVIEW PILOT photo by John Whelan)

The top wind gusts in the state today, as reported by Rutgers University:

Sea Girt : 79 mph
Atlantic City Marina: 77 mph
Harvey Cedars : 75 mph
Pittstown : 74 mph
Point Pleasant : 74 mph
High Pt. Monument : 73 mph
Seaside Heights : 71 mph

High gusts are predicted to continue through 6 p.m. Tuesday.

Frank Sinatra Drive, Hoboken

ONLY ON CLIFFVIEW PILOT: Firefighters had to stand by in the high winds tonight, waiting for PSE&G to respond and shut down the current, while a blaze burned at the abandoned Amloid Toy factory in Saddle Brook . Just after 10:30, a section of the roof collapsed. MORE….

The George Washington and Verrazano Narrows bridges were closed at 7 p.m. because of the winds. So was the New Jersey Turnpike’s Newark Bay extension bridge that leads from Bayonne to Newark .

The Turnpike stretch from Exits 7A to 8 is also closed.

The pike’s speed limit was reduced to 45 mph in both directions between the Delaware Memorial Bridge and Exit 12 in Carteret. Motorcycles and car-pulled trailers have been banned on the full length of the roadway.

The Garden State Parkway was closed in both directions south of Exit 129.

Newark, Kennedy and LaGuardia airports were closed.

President Obama signed an emergency declaration for New York and New Jersey on Sunday, allowing both states to request federal funding and other assistance for action taken in advance of the storm.

  • NJ News Commons , based at Montclair State, has been pulling together information from various news sources across the state, including CLIFFVIEW PILOT . For the latest :

KEEP THESE NUMBERS HANDY (DON’T FORGET: 911 is for emergencies only and shouldn’t be used to check on power, phone or cable outages or to ask about road conditions.):

PSE&G Customer Service : 1-800-436-7734 Also: www.twitter.com/psegdelivers
United Water: 201-487-0011
Rockland Electric: (877) 434-4100
Verizon: 1-800-275-2355
Optimum : (201) 262-8600

A section of what once was the Binghamton, the former Side Wheeler Korean restaurant in Edgewater , sunk into the mud in February ( SEE: Side Wheeler taking on water) The rest of the ship began rapidly filling up earlier today.

The Binghampton restaurant, Edgewater

The current owner had talked of reviving the Binghamton, long a Hudson River landmark that operated as a popular restaurant and disco, or the Side Wheeler. But he has had some difficulties with borough inspectors, and the recession pretty much put the kibosh on a revival.

The double-ended Binghamton, which shuttled passengers between Barclay Street in Manhattan and Hoboken from 1905 to 1967, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. Following in the wake of Robert Fulton’s first steamboat, it may be the last surviving steam ferry built to serve New York Harbor still in the water.

The restaurant itself closed nearly five years ago, following what had once been a heyday of first rock and roll and then disco dancing on weekends, as well as meals on the deck overlooking Manhattan. Opened in 1975, “Binghamton’s” could be a great date destination, although there were also plenty of pickups in the nightclub.

Some may remember the brutal murder of its onetime owner, former New Jersey Assembly Speaker Nelson Gross, whose body was found at the foot of the Palisades in upper Manhattan after a group of thugs — one of whom used to work at the restaurant — abducted him outside the place in 1997.

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