Ferry Crash: Pier 11 Commuter Story, Chaotic Scene Nothing New For Lower Manhattan

By Jessica Barbanel on January 9, 2013 11:58 AM EST

Ferry
The horrifying NYC ferry accident that left at least 57 people injured on Wednesday is far from the first time Pier 11 has been pummeled. Less than three months ago, Hurricane Sandy devastated the pier and neighborhood. And the area has not yet fully returned. (Photo: Danny Choy)

The ferry accident at Pier 11 in Lower Manhattan that left more than 70 injured on Wednesday has been terrifying for all NYC residents this morning. But for me it's different. That's where I get the ferry when I'm done with my work day in Hanover Square a block away.

For two months after Hurricane Sandy, I didn't set foot on a ferry. Lower Manhattan was crippled by a devastating 14-foot surge of water. Seven subway tunnels under the East River were flooded by the storm, most of them in Lower Manhattan. And my office building, a block from the ferry at South at South Street and Gouverneur Lane, was almost irreparably pummelled.

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Today when I see photos of the devastation from the Seastreak Wall Street Ferry accident, I am not only saddened for the commuters who were injured, I am also saddened for the business owners in the ferry terminal who haven't yet been able to re-open due to the loss of electricity and money during two months of rebuilding Lower Manhattan.

Within a ten-block radius of Pier 11, countless buildings are still struggling to fix electrical systems that were water-logged and paralyzed. Reporters at the Daily News are still not back in their offices at New York Plaza and Broad Street. And many editors at magazines like OK! and Shape were shipped off to the Florida offices of AMI.

Chris Avore,a passenger on the ferry, told ABC that he didn't notice anything new or different as the ferry approached the pier. "Nothing seemed like it was going to be out of the ordinary," he said. "There was once or twice where I was talking with a colleague where we actually thought it was coming in a little hot near Brooklyn, where we're not used to seeing it. Then the next thing we knew, you feel the jolt and then everybody goes flying."

That is how people felt after Hurricane Sandy. Many ferry commuters, and Lower-Manhattan employees, are not yet living the same lives they were living three months ago. The Ferry Terminal is still closed. And that small business owner - who was making a good living selling coffee, newspapers and hot pretzels - is nowhere to be found.

But until today, many people stopped talking about the damage in Lower Manhattan.

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