Frankenstorm Sandy Is Finally Upon Us [Liveblog]

A cop car in the darkness of Tribeca.

Even before Hurricane Sandy reached land, its effects were widespread and often devastating. About 1.6 million people and counting have lost power across the Northeast, Atlantic City is totally flooded, and a giant construction crane hangs precariously off a Manhattan high rise. And only now is Sandy coming ashore in southern New Jersey. For New York City that means high winds, more rain, and a renewed round of flooding in low-lying areas. Check back here for constant updates throughout the night.

10:10 p.m.: Video of water running into the Battery Tunnel entrance:

10:05 p.m.: Mayor Bloomberg just gave an update on the Sandy situation. He asked New Yorkers not to call 9-1-1 unless you’re in a truly life-threatening emergency and told them to stay off the roads. As for the weather, Bloomberg said the rain has mostly passed, and winds will get below “gale force” in the next few hours, and a “very big part” of the storm surge will be over “in the nect couple of hours.”

9:55 p.m.:  You may have heard rumors on Twitter (or, uh, CNN) that the New York Stock Exchange is under three feet of water. But an NYSE official tells Politico’s Ben White that it’s not true.

9:48 p.m.: This security camera footage of the PATH station in Hoboken looks like something from the Titanic – ship and/or movie. Like many photos today, it’s authenticity has yet to be verified.

9:45 p.m.: Jane’s Carousel in Brooklyn Bridge Park, which usually looks like this, now looks like this:

9:40 p.m.: An incredible video of a transformer exploding on the Lower East Side:

9:30 p.m.: Here’s a video of the facade of that building in Chelsea falling off:

9:25 p.m.: There are various reports of an oil smell in Battery Park City, which is never a good thing.

9:20 p.m.: You may have heard rumors that the subways will be closed for a week. The MTA says it isn’t true. At least … not yet.

9:12 p.m.: One World Trade Center, perhaps the last light in all of lower Manhattan, is now out, according to witnesses on Twitter.

9:05 p.m.: Some video of the water raging through the streets at 20th Street and Avenue C:

9:02 p.m.: We don’t even know how this is possible right now, but there are reportedly fires burning in some subways, according to Twitter. This is unconfirmed.

8:54 p.m.: Every single MTA road and bridge is now closed.

8:51 p.m.:  Via @wolfjosh, a fantastic photo of the darkness in Tribeca illuminated only by the lights of a police car.

8:45 p.m.: Definitely don’t call 911 because your cable went out.

8:41 p.m.: Courtesy of Lexi Mainland, a look at the eerie darkness of lower Manhattan:

8:34 p.m.: We’re not sure of the context this tweet was supposed to appear in, but it’s good advice for any situation.

8:29 p.m.: The Governor’s office has confirmed that five people have now died in New York as a result of Sandy. Be careful people.

8:26 p.m.: Don’t worry about Halloween guys. We know that’s what everyone is worried about.

8:15 p.m.: The Statue of Liberty’s torch went out, which means America has to start all over now.

8:04 p.m.: A man in Flushing, Queens, is the tri-state area’s first Sandy-related death after being found under a tree in his home. 

8:02 p.m.: Cars are floating down Avenue C. Firemen are searching for people trapped at Avenue C and 14th Street.

7:56 p.m.: Some amazing photos of Dumbo, which is increasingly underwater:

7:20 p.m.: The Weather Channel reports that the water level at the Battery has reached 11.25 feet, surpassing the all-time record of 11.2 feet set in 1821.  Earlier in the evening, Weather Underground’s Jeff Masters noted: “The rise in surge has slowed down, but the surge may not be slowing down fast enough to avoid record flooding in New York City.”

7:19 p.m.: ConEd has cut power south of Wall St, east of Broadway, and down to State St., according to State Senator Daniel Squadron.

7:15 p.m.: The National Hurricane Center has downgraded Sandy to a “post-tropical” storm with winds of up to 85 miles per hour. Our colleagues at the Weather Channel, with the eyes of the nation upon them, have quickly responded by dubbing it “Superstorm Sandy.”

6:52 p.m.: The FDNY says a 4-story apartment building has collapsed in Chelsea. Here’s a picture from Twitter — it looks like the facade has been stripped away but the overall structure is intact. More details as they come in.

6:33 p.m.: Don’t worry guys, Mitt Romney has been fully briefed on FEMA’s storm response. 

6:20 p.m.: According to Fox News’s Brett Baier Sandy made landfall at 6:03 on New Jersey’s southern shore.

5:55 p.m.: According to a Con Ed spokesman, power will be cut off this evening below 34th street in areas where there is flooding. Areas of Brooklyn & Queens that could also be shut off include Brighton Beach and Flushing. 

5:38 p.m.: More bridges closing at 7 p.m.. Not that you were going anywhere anyway. 

5:29 p.m.: Here’s some video of that crane collapsing:

5:08 p.m.: And here’s a guy on a jet ski in New York harbor! #idiots

5:03 p.m.: The Frankenstorm is a great excuse to watch a lot of TV, at least while you have it. Here are some recommendations from our friends at Vulture.

4:18 p.m.: The Tappan Zee Bridge closed at 4 p.m., and more bridge closings are on the horizon.

4:10 p.m.: An unverified but authentic-looking close-up shot of the One57 crane:

Photo: @cmwdotme

4:05 p.m.: For those in need of sustenance, our buddies at Grub Street have assembled a servicey list of where to eat and (most importantly) drink during Sandy. 

4:03 p.m.: Bad timing, Living Social. Bad timing. 

4:01 p.m.: The latest update from the NHC has Sandy making landfall in New Jersey between 6 and 8 p.m.

3:55 p.m.: Despite reports on Twitter that a crane atop One World Center has collapsed, the Port Authority says it’s fine for now.

3:00 p.m.: As of Monday afternoon, the storm still had some doubters, even in Zone A. “We’re in New York,” one Williamsburg resident told the Observer about her decision to ignore the mandatory evacuation. “We’re not in Miami or one of those tragic places. It’ll never be that bad.”

I just got these kick-ass new stereo speakers and I am going to listen to those until the power runs out,” said another resident of The Edge, a luxury condo building in the area. “Then I’m going to read and look at my art books. I’ll live by candlelight, get in touch with my 19th century self.”

2:44 p.m.: A crane on top of One57 (yes, that building) is looking pretty precarious. Stay away! (The FDNY is responding.)

2:15 p.m.: Con Ed is now robo-calling some Manhattan residents to warn them of a power shut down:

1:32 p.m.: Like most of the photos you’ve seen on Twitter today, the one of the soldiers standing guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Solider is actually not from today

1:54 p.m.: The FDR Drive is a pool now:

Photo: @mikeryan/twitter

1:29 p.m.: The stock market will close again on Tuesday

1:26 p.m.: Apparently Fox & Friends’ Steve Doocey has a son who also works at Fox News. Let’s watch him fall down and get his foot stuck!

1:05 p.m.: “I’m not worried at this point about the impact on the election,” said President Obama at a press conference this afternoon, during which he urged citizens to stay safe and listen to local authorities. “The election will take care of itself next week,” he added. “Right now, the number one priority is that we’re saving lives.”

12:54 p.m.: Via New York’s Chris Smith: After the mayor’s press conference, Fire Commissioner Sal Cassano got word of the first significant scare: loose scaffolding on Leonard Street in Brooklyn. But even that was under control, thanks to the extra FDNY units Cassano brought on duty at 6 a.m. today. 

It’s tonight that city officials are most worried about. For all the preparations Bloomberg proudly cited just now, no one can stop high tide, due at 8 p.m. Possibly the most reassuring news, other than Chuck Schumer’s promise that the feds would be reimbursing everything including some dental expenses, was the mayor shrugging off risks to residents of Zone B. No evacuation is expected — though, less happily, Bloomberg also said it’s too late now.

12:50 p.m.: Head over to our slideshow for all your Frankenstorm flood porn. 

12:42 p.m.: Goldman Sachs wins the contest for most sandbags:

Photo: @GregRoumeliotis

12:08 p.m.: JFK Airport is also on the verge of flooding.

11:55 a.m.: At a late morning press conference, Mayor Bloomberg announced that New York City schools will be closed again on Tuesday, and that there’s “no chance” the MTA will be up and running by tomorrow. He suggests we all “have a sandwich out of the fridge, sit back, and watch television.”

11:28 a.m.: Atlantic City is already under water:

Photo: @christimallia

10:30 a.m.: Governor Cuomo has announced that the Battery Park Tunnel and the Holland Tunnel will close at 2 p.m. You’re on your own, New Jersey.

10:17 a.m.: For the wind junkies, here is a map of the country’s air-flow at the moment.

9:47 a.m.: Things that happened today, in the year 2012: The 17-person crew of the HMS Bounty was forced to abandon ship off the coast of North Carolina.

9:13 a.m.: Sustained winds for the strengthening storm reached 85 miles per hour overnight, with Sandy churning about 310 miles southeast of New York City as of 8 a.m. A State of Emergency has been declared in New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island, adding to those already in effect throughout New York, Massachusetts, and Washington, D.C. Governor Andrew Cuomo is scheduled to give a briefing on the latest developments at 10 a.m.

United States stock exchanges have suspended trading for Monday, at least, while Con Ed is tracking local power outages here.

Here’s the increasingly soggy view from Battery Park, via Stacey Sager of ABC 7:

Photo: @staceysager7/Twitter

9:05 a.m.: The streets are already turning into canals in Red Hook and Far Rockaway

Photo: @jodyrosen
Photo: djstainrazor/instagram

9:00 a.m.: The Frankenstorm could change your relationship with your cat in strange and unexpected ways:

Hurricane Sandy Frankenstorm Liveblog: Monday