High winds, heavy rain, flooding and transportation delays are expected due to Hurricane Floyd, and city officials and Metro North spokespeople have informed New York area residents to get home early and prepare for serious schedule changes and transportation disruptions.
Broadway, however, is standing firm. Theatre officials told Playbill On-Line (Sept. 16, 2:30 PM) that all Broadway shows would go through with their Thursday performances.
At a noon briefing, New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and Metro North issued detailed weather warnings and announced disruptions to transportation routes in the interest of public safety. Later, a tropical storm warning was issued for the entire tri-state area.
Mayor Giuliani has asked New Yorkers who commute to the city to leave work early and get home safely before the brunt of the storm hits New York City.
The B and D subway lines were flooded in Brooklyn, but those trains were running on the A line as of 1 PM Sept. 16. As of noon, the Verrazano Bridge was closed and the George Washington Bridge was expected to be closed later today. High winds are expected with the storm, and one estimated said speed of the storm winds could reach as high as 80 mph. High wind advisories are in effect for Westchester and Rockland Counties, north of New York City. Highway closures have been made throughout the New York area, which could well affect travel for theatre patrons.
In Manhattan, the FDR is already closed between 63 Street and as far north as the Triboro Bridge.
New York City schools have been closed for the day. In Westchester, schools were closed early and were ordered closed for Sept. 17 as well in some cases.
Both the Hutchinson River Parkway and the Bronx River Parkway are closed.
Metro North echoed Mayor Giuliani's call for commuters to leave Gotham early today and rush hour train service was implemented at midday Sept. 16.
"The time to leave the city is now," a Metro North spokesperson said at an emergency briefing that was held at noon.
Metro North warned that with heavy rains expected, the New Haven line would close down altogether once winds reached 40 mph. This is because the New Haven line has overhead power lines.
At midday, areas in New Jersey reported up to six inches of rainfall already today and areas of New York reported three to four inches for the same period.
City officials recommended using rail service rather than highways during the storm. Metro North will reduce evening peak services today.
An evacuation order was also put into effect for Fire Island and a hurricane warning was issued for Long Island.
Performances of The Paper Mill Playhouse production of Mame for Sept. 16 (one at 2 PM and one at 8 PM) have been suspended and will be rescheduled. Local police told the Milburn, NJ, company to shut down for the day.
The Off-Broadway show Tony N' Tina's Wedding has also called off its Sept. 16 show.
-- By Murdoch McBride