I am reading "Katie" by Glenn Plaskin. It's a true story about how a cocker spaniel helped unite strangers in a high-rise complex. In it, the author talks about Battery Park City in New York, where he lives with Katie. In the opening pages, he explains that in 1960, the excavation of dirt to build the twin towers of the World Trade Center was used to create this brand-new town of 92 acres. How did Battery Park City fare during Hurricane Sandy? -- R. Knowles
I think Max Gross' story in the New York Post cuts straight to the heart of your question best:
"Sitting exposed on the Hudson River, (Battery Park City) braced for the worst," he wrote on Nov. 7. "But something peculiar happened: The worst passed it by.
"By (Nov. 8) when Chelsea, the West Village and TriBeCa were still shrouded in darkness, Battery Park City (BPC) was humming. One of the great surprises of Hurricane Sandy was that BPC was mostly unscathed."
Yes, some flooding occurred as the 13-foot storm surge lapped water over the area's flood wall and flooded rail yards, streets, tunnels and subway tracks. Winds brought down trees and caused other damage. But if you go to www.batteryparkcity.org, you'll see that their primary source of concern seemed to be the damage done to the ball fields.
"As the region regroups in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, Battery Park City has become an essential corridor for commuters displaced from their normal rail travel to and from work," the website says proudly.
So why was BPC spared the wrath of Mother Nature? A number of reasons, Gross wrote. First, Consolidated Edison never cut BPC's power supply. The company said the area's network was on higher ground and did not look to be in peril.
Second, even though water was pouring through the streets, buildings remained largely undamaged thanks to the eco-friendly construction mandates set down by the BPC Authority.
At the Millennium Tower, for example, an efficient drainage system in front of the building kept the lobby dry even as 3 feet of water roared by outside. The system diverted water into the basement to be pumped out later.
To keep mechanical systems free of flood water, they are placed on the tops of buildings in BPC. Older buildings in nearby areas had their low-lying mechanical systems seriously damaged by flooding.
Some buildings have "green" roofs, which further slows the storm water runoff. In addition, guidelines after 1999 required individual buildings to have their own waste-water treatment plants. As a result, real estate agents were bragging about deals being done in BPC soon after Sandy blew itself out.
So, while certainly inconvenienced, the 9,000 residents of BPC apparently fared far better in this smartly planned, modern community, which has received a slew of design awards over the past 30 years.
EZO UPDATE: A woman from Martinez, Ga., wrote for an update on EZO denture cushions, which she uses to make her clarinet playing more comfortable. Three months after I first answered this question, Dean Siegal of Prestige Brands assures me that EZO is now in production and, with luck, will be on store shelves by the end of the year. So keep checking Walgreens, CVS and AG Labs.
EMPLOYMENT HELP: When I recently suggested a local resume company for an out-of-work reader, Rick Stubblefield provided an even better offer: free resume help.
Stubblefield is the business development and governance representative for the St. Clair County Intergovernmental Grants Department. He says Southwestern Illinois workNet centers offer free resume assistance to those seeking employment.
Offices are at 4519 W. Main St., Belleville (277-5678); 601 James R. Thompson Blvd., Building E, East St. Louis (271-7750); 100 S. Main St., Waterloo (939-3332); 851 Fairfax St. (594-4520), Carlyle; 455 S. Washington St., Nashville (327-4191); 612 St. Louis Ave., East Alton (258-7171) and 209 N. Third St., Greenville (545-3473).
"The Resource Rooms offer the use of computers complete with resume building software and Internet access," Stubblefield said. "These areas are staffed with personnel trained to assist with resume writing and job search."
For more information, try www.illinoisworknet.com.
How has Grace Toof's name been immortalized?
Answer to Thursday's trivia: When he was just 10 years old, Robert De Niro, who has played tough guys ranging from Jake LaMotta to Frankenstein's monster, reportedly caught the acting bug in his very first role -- as the Cowardly Lion during a production of "The Wizard of Oz" at P.S. 41 in Manhattan. Because of his pale complexion, his young friends in Little Italy nicknamed him "Bobby Milk."
Send your questions to Roger Schlueter, Belleville News-Democrat, 120 S. Illinois St., P.O. Box 427, Belleville, IL 62222-0427 or email@example.com