Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Storm Updates: Downtown Houses (Mostly) Operational; National Book Awards Events Still On Track


The restoration of the bulk of New York City's subway service and some commuter rails means much of the book trade in New York has resumed regular operations (though PATH service remains suspended, continuing the disruption in New Jersey). Macmillan, which closed all of last week while power was out in lower Manhattan, is now open, with systems, email, phone lines, and distribution centers back up. In a note to staff, ceo John Sargent said "[we] ask you all to work diligently to catch up. We will have some infrastructure problems, some systems problems, and some transportation problems. Please be patient. Getting back to normal may take some time." (A separate Twitter post alerted Macmillan employees based at 41 Madison to dress warmly, since the heat was still not working. Trident Media Group is in the same building.)
Sargent also acknowledged that normal is still outside of reach for many: "I know some of you will not be able to make it in. Many of you have suffered damage to your homes or are isolated without power.... We have set up a fund to try and help employees so if you have financial hardship, please let us know."
Among other downtown publishers, Penguin's offices, which had also been closed all of last week, have now re-opened (email was functional the entire time), as have Grove/Atlantic's offices, but their email is still down. Harlequin's offices have power, but email, Internet, and telephone lines are also still down.

Superstorm Sandy also affected on the National Book Foundation, whose offices in Battery Park were "severely flooded," according to executive director Harold Augenbraum, who told us staff "do not expect to be back in there for this week and maybe longer." The foundation's telephone lines are not working, but calls are being forwarded to a temporary cell phone, 917-565-4003.
That poses special challenges since the National Book Awards will be presented on November 14, but the show will go on. Augenbraum told us that Cipriani Wall Street, the site for the awards gala, "sustained no damage and is even storing some materials for us starting this week." The  5 Under 35 event is scheduled to be held at the powerHouse Arena, which suffered considerable flood damage, and the NBF was told the space "will be available" for the event. (The store did open for business this past Saturday, and has scheduled a fundraiser for November 17.) Augenbraum said the Foundation "is asking people who come to 5 Under 35 to make a donation to powerHouse (since our event is free.)"
On their web site, the Foundation writes that "as of now, all other National Book Awards Week events, including 5 Under 35, the Teen Press Conference, and the NBA Finalists Reading, will also take place as planned, but we will post further updates as they become available."

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