Hurricane Sandy: Entertainment Companies Reopen New York Offices
Entertainment companies on Wednesday started reopening their New York offices following Hurricane Sandy-related closures, even though staff in most cases had the option of working from home amid questions about the public transportation system and traffic.
"We are open today," said a spokesman for Time Warner, whose headquarters is at midtown Manhattan's Columbus Circle. "There was never a disruption in our operations."
"Our office is safe for employees and open, however we're expecting many of our employees to still work remotely today do to commuting issues," said an NBCUniversal spokeswoman.
Asked about damage, such as reports of shattered windows at the company's 30 Rockefeller Square headquarters, she said there were only minor issues. "[The] buildings all got through [Sandy] in good shape," she said.
Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. did not reopen its corporate office on Manhattan's Avenue of the Americas. "We are still not open today, and corporate employees have been asked to work remotely, if possible," a spokesman told THR without providing further details. "There may be variations on that for our New York City-based operating divisions."
Murdoch himself had late Tuesday apologized to Wall Street Journal readers about the fallout from Sandy. "Apologies to all WSJ readers who missed deliveries today," he said via Twitter. "All tried hard, but Sandy too strong."
Many of the Big Apple's on-air TV personalities have figured out a way to get into the office, including Katie Couric who tweeted she had made it to ABC's studios on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. "How is everyone today!" she wrote. "We're back in the @KatieShow studios - I'm giving a #Sandy update & sharing your stories!!"
A Sony Corp. spokeswoman said the company's Manhattan building at 550 Madison was open again on Wednesday, with many people making their way there despite transportation challenges. A decision on Thursday was scheduled to be made later on Wednesday.
In a sign that the Northeast is moving towards normality, most Broadway productions will re-open on Wednesday after a three-day break. Among the exceptions, which will skip another performance day, are Disney's Lion King, Mary Poppins, Jersey Boys and Scandalous.
"For those theatregoers who are staying in hotels and can't get home, it's a great time to see a show," said Broadway League executive director Charlotte St. Martin.
Meanwhile, the industry, like the rest of New York City, is still assessing how Sandy affected the city's infrastructure.
The John F. Kennedy and Newark airports reopened on Wednesday. La Guardia Airport, which is only 20 feet above sea level, remains closed as United Continental CEO Jeff Smisek told employees in a letter Tuesday that the runways had been flooded. Other airports in Boston, Philadelphia and Washington are operating again.
The Metropolitan Transit Authority has resumed much of its bus service, but subways remain out of order. New York mayor Michael Bloomberg estimated it might be another three or four days for service to resume. MTA chairman Joseph Lhota said there would be a firmer timetable for restored service by midday Wednesday and presented the possibility that the subway lines would come back in patches. "If there are parts of the subway system we can get up, we will get them up," he said.
Amtrak says it will resume train service between Washington D.C. and Newark, but with water still corroding some of the river tunnels into Manhattan, there isn't Amtrak service into New York, nor up to Boston. Driving into the city is only slightly better. The Lincoln Tunnel has reopened, but the Henry Hudson tunnel remains closed.
As for power, Con Edison reported that it had restored power to 160,000 customers in the region, which still leaves 764,000 people in the dark. Company officials say it could be four more days until those still without power in Manhattan and Brooklyn get electricity back.
ConEd also expressed concern about the more than 5,000 downed electrical wires this Halloween, warning parents to be mindful of where they are walking. "Hurricane Sandy could play dangerous tricks on kids looking for a good time," warned the company.