With Hurricane Irene pushing relentlessly toward the East Coast, officials made plans to shut down New York City’s sprawling subway and bus system beginning at noon on Saturday, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said.In a separate story, the newspaper adds that mandatory evacuations of the city's coastal areas are soon to begin.
The commuter rail lines that serve Long Island, Westchester County and Connecticut will also be shut down.
Officials decided to go ahead with the transit shutdown, which they had first mentioned on Thursday as a possibility at a City Hall briefing on Thursday, as the city was evacuating hospitals and nursing homes in low-lying areas. State officials continued arrangements for coordinating emergency services and restoring electricity if the storm does the kind of damage many fear.
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg ordered a mandatory evacuation — something he said the city had never done before — of coastal areas in all five boroughs, including all of the Rockaways; Battery Park City and the financial district in Lower Manhattan; and Governor’s Island. The evacuation covered 250,000 people in and around what the city calls Zone A low-lying areas who, the mayor said, should get out before the storm swept in.
“You only have to look at the weather maps to understand how big this storm is and how unique it is,” the mayor said at a news conference, “and it’s heading basically for us.”