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Transcript: Mayor Adams Holds Virtual Briefing to Discuss Heavy Rainfall and Ongoing Flooding

September 29, 2023

Deputy Mayor Fabien Levy, Communications: Good morning, everybody. My name is Fabien Levy, I'm deputy mayor for Communications for the City of New York. Thank you for joining us today to update New Yorkers about the heavy rainfall and flooding taking place across New York City and parts of our state. Our teams have been working diligently across city agencies and with our state partners to prepare them for the storm and protect our city.

Keeping New Yorkers safe and informed is our top priority, which is why we've brought together key leaders to brief the public this morning. We're joined by New York City Mayor Eric Adams, Governor Kathy Hochul, DEP Commissioner Rit Aggarwala, NYCEM Commissioner Zach Iscol as well as MTA CEO Janno Lieber.

We're also joined this morning by NYPD Chief of Department Jeffrey Maddrey, FDNY Commissioner Laura Kavanagh, DOE Chancellor David Banks, New York City Health + Hospitals CEO Mitch Katz, Department of Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez and Senior Vice President for Corporate Affairs at Con Edison Jon Hensley. So, without any further delay, Mayor Adams.

Mayor Eric Adams: Thank you. Thanks so much, Fabien, and the entire team and New Yorkers for understanding how this rain conditions that we are experiencing is something that we cannot take lightly and we have not taken lightly. This morning, I was out visiting East New York, Flatbush, Canarsie and Sheepshead Bay to get a firsthand look at the impact of the rainfall and what it is doing to moving around the city.

I spoke with Governor Hochul who's here with us today. I want to thank you, governor, for once again responding immediately seeking out whatever help we need as a city, and I really appreciate communicating with you this morning.

I am issuing a State of Emergency for New York City based on the weather conditions and I want to say to all New Yorkers this is time for heightened alertness and extreme caution. If you're at home, stay home. If you are at work or school, shelter in place for now. Some of our subways are flooded and it's extremely difficult to move around the city.

Many of our area airports are experiencing delays, and if you are out and encounter a flooded area be it on a roadway or a subway station, do not enter. Take necessary precautions. This is a dangerous weather condition and it is not over. And I don't want those gaps and heavy rain to give the appearance that it is over, it is not. We could possibly see eight inches of rain before the day is over.

Our city has already taken action to protect all New Yorkers including rescuing those in need of help. There was an issue on the Belt Parkway by the Ocean Parkway exit. Those are the types of roadway conditions we're asking New Yorkers to avoid.

Every single one of our agencies has an emergency plan and we are executing those plans. We're ready, and you should be as well, to be prepared for this moment. Commissioner Iscol from New York City Emergency Management will provide more detailed updates to us on the situation throughout the city.

This is the time for caution, but is also a time for community. Check on neighbors, do what whatever is possible to unclog the drain areas to allow the water to flow freely. You would be surprised how if we remove leaves and other trash from those areas it will really assist in getting the water off our streets.

Check on your friends and relatives, and especially those who are most vulnerable such as the elderly and individuals with health conditions. If the conditions are safe, take time, as I indicated, to clean out the debris from your drains, particularly in between the heavy rainfall.

And for the most accurate and timely updates, sign up for NotifyNYC. This is a moment to remind everyone of how important NotifyNYC is. Those alerts go a long way to keep you ahead of what is happening. You could dial 311 or visit to subscribe. That's to subscribe, and you could also call 311.

Being informed is the first step toward ensuring the well being of you and your family and your fellow New Yorkers. And again, I want to thank the entire team for their quick response and understanding that this is an extreme emergency, extreme emergency condition that we must be prepared for.

I want to turn it over to Governor Hochul. Governor, again, thanks so much. It was good talking to you this morning, and your quick response to what is happening in our city, I really appreciate it.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul: Well, thank you, mayor; and once again, I commend your leadership. And the coordination between our team and our team at the state level, it is seamless. And the bottom line is we're here to help New Yorkers get through what is a life threatening rainfall event.

And I agree with you that people should be able to stay home if possible but I know right now there's a lot of anxious parents wondering if they're going to be able to get their children home from schools.

And I'm working very closely with Janno Lieber who will give updates from the MTA, but our priority once the the immediate aftermath of this first wave of the storm — and again, it could come back again, it could reemerge later again this afternoon — we want to make sure we get the subways, the trains, our communication system, our transportation system up working, because there's children who use the subways to get home from school. People need to be able to now if they can get home from work. And so that is priority number one, to make sure that our subways and our rail systems are safe.

There has been significant disruptions, without a doubt, particularly heading north. I just spoke to the County Executive George Latimer of Westchester County. The epicenter has shifted from the city regions very much so from Brooklyn and Queens and Manhattan where I spoke to the borough presidents to offer our assistance, in the Bronx, but is now heading north into the Hudson Valley. So, we're also coordinating with those localities as well as Nassau County.

I will say this. If people decide to venture out in a vehicle, they do so at their own peril, because even six inches of rain, one foot of rain, it may look pretty innocuous, it's safe, but that is a condition where your vehicle can be swept away. And we lose more lives of people during flooding events — of which we've had many, especially this summer in the city and the Hudson Valley in particular.

The reason we lose our lives in a flood event more often than not is they're swept away in their vehicle. So, this is a choice people make. We encourage them not to decide to do that. Please stay home, be safe. We are deploying more buses. We have more bus operators to be able to create options if we don't get the subways back on schedule.

The airports, right now Terminal A at LaGuardia is closed because of flooding at a fuel field right now. We've brought in more resources from JFK to assist with that as well. The flights are going in and out of the airports but they are delayed, and so people should check on the websites for that as well.

Now, also we're trying to be as helpful as we can, and City Mayor, you've been fantastic, and we've deployed National Guard, we've deployed more pumps from our surplus to help you assist. And everyone remembers what happened, I was literally governor one week when Hurricane Ida hit and we walked those streets of Queens and many parts of the city, and people literally drowned in their basement homes.

And so people also need to not get in vehicles, but leave your home if you're starting to see water accumulate. Don't wait until it's up to your knees or higher. By then, it could be a barrier to getting able to have access safely out the door, as we saw before. And so people really need to be taking this extremely seriously.

The state is there to help, and we'll get through this together as we always do. So, thank you, mayor for your coordination, your outreach. I look forward to continue to work as we get through this event united as one.

Deputy Mayor Levy: Thank you very much, Governor Hochul. Thank you, Mayor Adams for the update. Next we'll get a full update from New York City Emergency Management Commissioner Zach Iscol.

Commissioner Zach Iscol, New York City Emergency Management: Thank you. Thank you Mr. Mayor. Thank you, Governor Hochul. First and foremost, I also want to express my heartfelt gratitude to the emergency managers, to our first responders, our agency partners who have all been working tirelessly overnight and over the past day preparing the city and doing all they can to keep New Yorkers safe. They really are the backbone of the city,

Our emergency operations center has been active in operation to effectively coordinate our multi agency response to this ongoing weather crisis. We have teams right now that are specifically focused on highway flooding, basement flooding and the impacts the MTA. We're monitoring continuously a number of high risk areas in order to deploy teams from different agencies to take immediate action as needed.

Through the day yesterday and today we've also been issuing really important safety messages and updates to the public. It's crucial for everyone to stay tuned to the latest information. As the Mayor said, that's the first line of defense.

We're also very fortunate the National Weather Service is on site at our command center here in New York City Emergency Management. They've been invaluable in providing real‑time updates, allowing us to make sure that information is getting out to our agency partners and the public with the most accurate forecast and weather information as quickly as possible.

As I said, we're also in a very active response mode right now, and we're confronting the severe weather conditions that are affecting our city as we speak. A National Weather Service flood watch is in effect. And let me be clear: we're taking this extremely, extremely seriously.

Consultations with the National Weather Service began as early as Wednesday. They remain ongoing, and we will continue to monitor this situation as it evolves. This proactive approach is part of our flash flood plan, which is our comprehensive strategy that we've been honing over the years to make sure that we're able to respond effectively to situations just like this one.

I think it's worth mentioning that according to data from Central Park, today is the wettest day we've had since Ida swept through the city a few years ago — the Governor was just talking about that event a week into her tenure — that's not a statistic to take lightly. It highlights just how crucial it is for all of us to pay close attention to the weather advisories and to always take the necessary precautions.

Particularly in Brooklyn today and in parts of Queens, we've seen significant flooding. We  expect another two to four inches of rain likely throughout this afternoon. If you live in these boroughs or in a basement apartment or flood prone area, please make sure you have plans and are prepared to move to higher ground.

Your safety is our foremost concern. We have multiple contingency plans in place. But ultimately, you know, you are your first line of defense for yourself and your loved ones, and that means acting on the information that we're able to provide through things like Notify NYC that the Mayor mentioned.

Also, I urge everyone to exercise extreme caution. Avoid flooded roadways. If you are driving...and I do not encourage you to be driving. As the Governor said, even six inches of water can be very, very dangerous. Please take extreme caution particularly during high tides today throughout the city.

We're also in constant communication with our law enforcement partners, other agencies and community organizations. We're all working in lockstep to ensure your safety. To that end, I do encourage everyone to sign up for NotifyNYC. As the mayor said, you can sign up by going to You can sign up by calling 311 or by downloading the app on both the Google and the Apple App stores. It's available in 14 languages including American Sign Language.

And then as we start to shift into the recovery phase of this operation after the rain ends this evening and early tomorrow, if you have damage you can now report damage to your home or your business as part of the city's damage reporting portal.

This is really easy to do. You can report damage by calling 311 or by visiting So, New Yorkers, you know, we have a great history of coming together when it counts, we're going to do it again today. Make sure to check in on your neighbors, your loved ones, especially the most vulnerable. Please pay close attention to those alerts and advisories. They are designed to keep you safe. Thank you so much, and stay safe.

Deputy Mayor Levy: Thank you very much, Commissioner Iscol. Next we'll hear from New York City Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Rit Aggarwala. Commissioner?

Commissioner Rohit Aggarwala, Department of Environmental Protection: Good morning. Just to build on Commissioner Iscol's points about the intensity of the rainfall. You know, one of the things I think New Yorkers should bear in mind is that when we see flooding we see it primarily due to the intensity of the rainfall in a certain period of time rather than the full duration.

And as I think many New Yorkers observed, this rainfall started last night. DEP started preparing for it yesterday around midday. Starting around two p.m. we were encouraging people to deploy the flood barriers the DEP has been distributing to the most vulnerable New Yorkers. And we prepared by having lots of crews on hand for today, which we knew would be busy.

The storm picked up significantly soon after 7 a.m., and I think New Yorkers should be aware that between 8 and 9 a.m. the Brooklyn Navy Yard received 2.58 inches of rain in one hour. And I think many of you know in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida we were all educated about the fact that our sewer system was designed for 1.75 inches per hour, and so it's no surprise, unfortunately, as a result that part of Brooklyn and a couple of other particularly parts of Brooklyn have borne the brunt of this.

The good news is we have a partially completed flood net system where we are able to monitor flooding on the roads in a couple of places that is on route to be completed over the next two to three years. But right now what we have seen is that as the rain began to subside after nine o'clock, many of those flooding areas have begun to recede.

Overall, as we know, this changing weather pattern is the result of climate change, and the sad reality is our climate is changing faster than our infrastructure can respond. We had been working at the mayor's direction for well over a year on a significant medium term approach to increasing green infrastructure and expanding the sewer system, but changing infrastructure takes time.

It's one of the reasons for more than a year we've been doing things like distributing flood barriers and helping people understand how they can protect their own homes and properties and working with emergency management under Commissioner Iscol's leadership to recognize that the weather can kill you and that we have to respond appropriately.

I appreciate very much our collaboration not only with my city colleagues but also, of course, with the governor and her team, and we are in close touch with our state colleagues. Thank you.

Deputy Mayor Levy: Thank you, Commissioner. Next, we'll hear from MTA CEO Janno Lieber before we open it up to Q&A. CEO?

Janno Lieber, CEO, Metropolitan Transportation Authority: Thank you. Listen, this is a tough travel day. There are significant portions of the subway system that are shut down. We are starting the process of reactivating certain lines. But when water covers the electrified third rail we have to do inspections so that will be unfolding slowly.

We do have a full bus system operation today. There are about 3,500 buses out there, and that's especially important, as the governor says, to get kids home from school. So, if you must travel, heed the warnings of the governor and the mayor and others that it's not a day to travel if you don't have to. But if you do, buses are available.

We have full Long Island Railroad service, but Metro North at this time has really been shut down. All three trunklines of Metro-North — New Haven, Harlem and Hudson lines — are shut down at this time because of water in the South Bronx. And we are developing a service plan hoping that we can reactivate those operations. We're developing a limited service plan for this afternoon with the hope and expectation we'll be able to get everybody home.

The good news is that New Yorkers heeded Governor Hochul's warnings and the MTA's warnings in the city's warnings from yesterday, and we had… It is a Friday, it's a lighter than normal commute. It's always a light day on Friday. And New Yorkers listened.

One of the reasons that they listened is that we have a really strong text alert system, and I urge everybody who doesn't have it to sign up for In the meantime, if you have to travel, if you are still out there, please consult the MTA apps: myMTA, the train time app and the MTA website We have full up to date information. As I said, about half of the subway system is either fully suspended or partially suspended, but we are starting the process of trying to get some of those lines back.

The other positive news I would emphasize is that since Hurricane Ida two years ago, Governor Hochul instructed us to work with the city to try to make some of the stations more resilient so we wouldn't have those impacts on customers that you saw a couple years ago. That collaboration has produced results, and to date, there haven't been any of those crazy washouts inside the stations ‑‑ though, as I said, service has been affected.

Please stay close to those MTA apps for real‑time information, myMTA, the train time app and Thank you.

Deputy Mayor Levy: Thank you, CEO Lieber. And so with that, we'll open it up to some on topic questions. 

Question: Okay, so a question Mr. Mayor. I mean, there are asylum seekers in shelters that are tent‑like facilities at Creedmoor and Randall’s Island. Are they safe in those facilities with these conditions, and is the city taking any steps to move them elsewhere?

Mayor Adams: We have no reported conditions in those areas on Randall’s and at the Creedmoor location. And of course, if there are any conditions that are dangerous we're going to make sure that people receive the proper care and make the proper movement.

Deputy Mayor Levy: Mayor, I just got an update on Randall’s specifically. We've seen very minimal leaking at Randall's Island, and any problems that will be very quickly addressed. So, we have no issues really at Randall's Island at this point.

Question: Two questions. Briefly, Chancellor Banks, there have been reports of schools flooding. I saw someone tweet that the cafeteria was flooded, students can't eat. My question for you, and I guess the question for the mayor is, we've now, New York City has been flooded for hours now. We're finally now hearing from the city press release, I think for a lot of people, doesn't count. 

Why did you not take more precautions when it came to schools? Students don't know how they're going to get home if the subways don't return service, and secondly, I don't know if there's any disruption with bus services. And so I guess the question is, for the chancellor, can you give an update on schools and which ones are flooded? And for the mayor, why did you not speak to New Yorkers sooner about what is a very, very serious flooding situation that we knew about for at least 24 hours?

Mayor Adams: Katie, the chancellor's going to go into the school situation and what we have right now, but we have, number one, notified NYC and using the various social media channels. And Commissioner Iscol has been speaking about this from afternoon yesterday. So, all the necessary precautions were taken. 

We have gone through these flood‑related and heavy rain conditions before, and we followed the right protocol and really take my hat off to Commissioner Isco and the entire team as they put in place a situation of communication, using the virtual methods and monitoring the situation really doing what needed to be done and making the right notifications and information, and constantly keeping New Yorkers up to date. Chancellor, can you go into the school situation? Where are we at this time?

Chancellor David Banks, Department of Education: Sure, mayor. First of all, it's just important to note that all of our schools, every single one of our schools are open. We're actively monitoring the situation across all of our buildings. We have safety plans in place, and that's important to note, and we have folks in our schools who are trained annually to prepare for days just like this, of building response teams. They're fully activated and our protocol is to, in fact, shelter in place. 

Now, we do have a portion of our schools, approximately 150 out of the more than 1,400 schools that we have that have, in fact, taken on some water, has presented some challenge, but nothing has impacted the ability for us to safely educate our students in any of those schools. Our schools have safety plans in place, and they're moving forward and they're keeping us abreast.

The stuff is happening in real time. There's one school that's actually evacuating currently due to a smoking boiler, and that is PS [312] in Brooklyn. And it looks like there may have been some water that got into a boiler. So, we evacuated that school to IS 78, which is located three blocks away. That's the only school that we've had to date. 

At this time, we have to actually evacuate. Our facilities and the school construction authority are working together to quickly repair any damage. Even now we've got folks out in many of these buildings in real time.

Now, also, I want to note that we received multiple media inquiries about the David Boody School, which is PS 228 in Brooklyn. And the message that the principal at that school sent was premature in telling parents to come up to get their kids, which was precisely the wrong thing to do. The conditions are worse outside of the schools, and so we'll be addressing that. But as the rain lightens up, we're continuing to monitor the situation. 

And what's also important is that our buses are prepositioned for dismissal. We've been in touch with all of our vendors, and their preposition means that they are staging early in order to have enough time to get our kids home. These are high axle vehicles, and they'll be able to navigate any water in the roadways.

So, in closing, I would simply say our schools are open. We feel good, we're fully prepared, we're ready to go, we have taken on some water, but nothing that has created an infrastructure problem where our kids are not safe. Our kids are safe, and we're continuing to monitor the situation.

Deputy Mayor Levy: Thank you, chancellor. And just to add a little to what the mayor said earlier, our first travel, or excuse me, our first NotifyNYC alert went out yesterday afternoon around 2:50 p.m. One of the first efforts we took was issuing a travel advisory. We've been in touch with local elected officials across the city. We've also been working with nonprofits. Like the mayor said, Commissioner Iscol was out there doing interviews yesterday. Commissioner Isco is a one of our top spokespeople for this administration, and so he speaks on behalf of the mayor every single day.

Moderator: And Commissioner Iscol, could you share a few words about our decision making process for notifying people and how we make sure that New Yorkers take these notifications seriously by issuing them thoughtfully?

Commissioner Iscol: Yes. So, first off, so NotifyNYC, as I said, it's available in 14 languages, including American Sign Language. We do a lot of programs, especially since Ida, to really encourage New Yorkers to sign up. We've done a number of day of actions. 

We did one about a month ago in Jackson Heights and across the city, encouraging people not only to sign up for NotifyNYC but to make sure they have the information they need for these types of flooding events, including the distribution of flood alarms that people can then install in their homes. 

In terms of notifying NYC itself for these types of events, we take information. You know, we work very, very closely with the National Weather Service. We take their alerts, their warnings, their analysis, and we make sure that we then translate that literally to 14 different languages in American Sign Language, but also, so that the public can understand what that threat might be, in addition to making sure we're providing information, not just what the hazard is, but the actions people can take to keep themselves, their loved, ones safe.

Question: Yes. Thank you. If the Fire commissioner is on this call, I was wondering, or who can answer this, have there been basement apartment rescues? And if you have any sense of where and how many, because Ida, there were fatalities at that time, and I was wondering if there are any fatalities so far today.

Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanagh: Hi, Juliet. It's Commissioner Kavanaugh. We have not had any fatalities today. We have had a number of calls for basements, people trapped in cars.  As you've probably seen from the coverage, you can see our vehicles out there, all over the city, but we have not had any critical patients or fatalities yet today.

Deputy Mayor Levy: Just a follow up on Commissioner Kavanaugh. Since the last update, I received about an hour ago, we've had reports for six basement apartments flooded, and we've had successful rescues at each of those.

Fire Commissioner Kavanagh: Yes. I'd also like to add to that as the mayor had mentioned, we were made aware yesterday through OEM about this storm, and we put additional high axle vehicles out into our operations, so we had equipment that was specifically available and ready for these types of rescues.

Question: My first question is to Banks. I'm wondering why the decision wasn't made to go remote today for students if it's such a severe day. I mean, parents have to travel to get their kids, kids have to travel to schools.

We've heard for multiple officials to stay off the roads today. And then to follow up on Katie's question, Mayor Adams, it's noon right now. Why wasn't the decision to call a state of emergency at eight a.m. when we knew that rainfall was getting intense?

Mayor Adams: First, and the chancellor could talk about remote, but we should be clear that we have only a certain number of school days that we could utilize, and we must make sure we meet that. And as you see, the decision was the right decision. We do not have any issues, dangerous issues, at our schools. Our children are in the schools, they're properly being educated, and I believe the chancellor made the right call. And if there was a need to close the schools, he would have made that call. But this was the right call. 

Our children are safe in schools. It stabilizes the family. They don't have a level of uncertainty of how they get to and from their office spaces. There is a big inconvenience when you close the school and parents disrupt their normal workflow and we disrupt a child's education's flow at the same time.

This was the right decision to do. As we see, we're continuously moving forward and our children are safe in their schools. Chancellor, you want to add anything to that?

Chancellor Banks: Yes. No, just that I would echo what you said, Mr. Mayor. You know, I've heard that on other occasions as well, and I want people to be very clear. The data center to go remote is always the last option. Our kids need to be in school, this is where they also get their healthy meals as well. This is what allows parents to be able to continue their day to get to work and do the other things that need to happen.

Whenever we make a decision to actually close schools, it is a major, major disruption. And so it is really only used really as a last resort. And I think in this case, while this was a tough day in terms of the rain, it certainly did not put...our kids are not in danger, all of our schools are open. Our teachers are in school, our kids are in school and doing well.

We do have some schools which have had some flooding and we have to address that. But we treat taking the option of remote learning day very, very seriously and we use that as a last option.

Mayor Adams: Just really commendable on how professional our school system, our first responders, this exact team during these issues of weather emergencies, we still have to operate a city. And our ability to do so, so is really commendable with the coordination this team

The city still has to operate with minimum disruption, and that's what you saw in our school system as well as the deputy mayor pointed out, that you know, able to go into those rescues when it's needed and to notify people. The city must continue to operate, and we want to be clear on that.

Zach, can you talk about the state of emergency?  State of emergency that we're calling is based on conditions, not based on predictions. You know, it's based on what conditions. But Zach, can you go through that, please?

Commissioner Iscol: Absolutely. So, there's a number of different uses for a state of emergency, and I appreciate the question. You know, the issuing a state of emergency at eight a.m., seven a.m., nine a.m. or 10 a.m., it's not going to impact our response or the work that we're currently doing.

A lot of the state of emergency is more about things that we can then put in place should we need to around contracting, around different rules, things like if we were going to issue a travel ban ‑‑ which we are not at the state right now where we actually implement a travel ban, you know, shutting down roads, not enabling people to freely move around the city. It's also something that becomes very, very important as we move into the recovery phase.

One of the things that's needed is as we start to assess the damage that has occurred to either people's homes, private personal property, businesses, the state of emergency is something we can then use as we are going to the state and FEMA for additional support to aid in individual assistance, business loans or grants that can help people recover after the flood waters have receded.

Deputy Mayor Levy: I would also add that the governor issued her state of emergency this morning around the same time the decision was made here at City Hall. Mayor Adams made the decision around the same time. So, just because we're having the briefing now around 11:30 or 12 or whatever it is right now doesn't mean the decision wasn't made earlier today.

Question: Mr. Mayor, I just want to ask, so you said you don't need...your administration is saying you don't need to issue a state of emergency at eight a.m. or seven a.m., this is about recovery. But the National Weather Service issued an alert at 8:24 this morning calling a flash flooding warning life threatening. So, why did it take hours then for you to tell the New Yorkers to stay home?

Mayor Adams: Zach, can you respond to that, please?

Commissioner Iscol: Yes. I just want to issue a point of clarification. What I went through is a whole list of reasons that you would use a state of emergency. Preemptively you would do it if the situation might call for that. In this case, there was no need for additional resources that a state of emergency might provide for things like, you know, issuing a travel ban. There was no need for a state of emergency earlier to be able to do those types of things.

I've been in very close contact with my counterparts at both FEMA and the state around whether or not there are additional resources we might need to request, you know, for things like life safety events but we have the resources here in the city through our incredible partners at FDNY, EMS, NYPD to be able to respond to those types of situations. So, I hope that answers your question.

Question: Hi. Good afternoon. So, Mayor, I'm curious why it took so long for you to speak to the public. Governor hopeful was on the radio last night, MTA officials held a news conference. And a lot of New Yorkers, you know, were worried this morning and based on these implications, why didn't they hear from you sooner?

Mayor Adams: You know, I think it's so important, as I've stated over and over again, this administration operates as a team, and I want my commissioners, my deputy commissioners are the leaders of this team who are closest to the ground of a situation to communicate. And that's what Commissioner Iscol did.

There was not an absence of a voice of this administration. Our team leaders that are on the front line, you know, I'm just really pleased that I have strong, competent leaders that understand their roles that they're supposed to play. And I give them a clear mandate that if something is dealing with a particular issue in your catchment area I want you to lead from the front.

And you see that over and over again. You see it with the chancellor, you see it with Commissioner Kavanagh, you see it with all of our leaders. And that's what Zach did. You heard from my representative, and he did a good job of informing the public. And that's what you're going to going to continue to see throughout this administration.

We have a good team leaders that are competent, that understand the subject matter and they know how to lead. The leadership is not only the mayor. It is all of those who are placed in those positions, and that's what you saw.

Deputy Mayor Levy: And just go back to Craig's previous question, he asked about why timing on a travel advisory. So, I would just again point out a travel advisory was one of the first measures put in place by this administration, and the NotifyNYC alert first came out at 2:50 yesterday. So, the advisory was in place, that's a different thing than a state of emergency.

Commissioner Iscol: I was just confirming, yes, the travel advisory went out yesterday, that's correct.

Question: First, do you have advice on where people living in basement apartments who are experiencing flooding should go, where they should move to higher ground in that event?  Are there city locations where they could go and access somewhere to be if they're experiencing flooding at home?  And second, for the Mayor, can you talk more about what you saw in East New York this morning?  Were you examining street conditions, talking to residents?  What exactly were you doing there?

Mayor Adams: The issues around basement apartments and where we are going to have people. The first order of business is to make sure we properly rescue, and we will have sites for those who can't go with families and friends. We will always provide shelter for those who are in need and we will navigate that.

I was in East New York over at the Christian Cultural Center for, unfortunately, a loss of a former retired police officer. And while I was there I took the opportunity to go through East New York into Canarsie into the Flatbush area as well as the Sheepshead Bay area to get an observation on what was happening on the ground prior to doing this press advisory.

Question: I was wondering actually for the OEM commissioner, Commissioner Iscol. Can you just give us a sense of the media hits that you've mentioned that you did yesterday to warn New Yorkers?  And then for the DEP commissioner, can you talk a little bit about when you started clearing catch basins, how many cleared?  Just describe the operation a little more. Thank you.

Commissioner Iscol: Yes, absolutely. I did a 1010 WINS hit and then did a Fox Weather hit. And then we've also, as the mayor has noted sent out the NotifyNYCs, the press releases, the travel advisories, social media posts in addition to all the other messaging that was coming from the city.

Commissioner Aggarwala: Yes, so just yesterday morning the flash flood, I don't have the precise time, the flash flood plan was activated yesterday morning. And as per that plan, DEP along with several other city agencies — Sanitation, DOT, a couple of other agencies that have crews on the roads — we have a list of priority intersections which are highly vulnerable to flooding or important for some way.

In fact, over the last two years, we've worked closely with the MTA to make sure that catch basins that could affect subway stations are on that list. I don't have an exact number, I would probably get it later today, of how many catch basins we checked and cleaned in those 24… In those 12 hours, I guess, before the rain started.

But that is what we do the day before as well as get ready for the staffing, and that's why we actually canceled some holidays that people had scheduled and things like that to make sure we had full crews on site today across the city.

Deputy Mayor Levy: Thank you, commissioner. Thank you, everybody, for joining us today. If you have additional questions, please reach out to our press office. Have a good day. Be safe.


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