Downtown office buildings flood, knocking popular websites offline

October 30, 2012 04:30PM

Hurricane Sandy didn’t just force people out of their homes and offices, it forced websites offline. That’s because many of the data-hosting companies are based in areas of New York City that were hardest hit by the storm.

Today, workers with hoses and piping running from the buildings into the streets, were removing thousands of gallons of water that collected in the basements of buildings throughout Lower Manhattan.

Water flooding into 33 Whitehall Street, a 435,000-square-foot building between Pearl and Bridge streets, where the hosting company Datagram is based, knocked out service to the gossip website Gawker, which remained offline Tuesday afternoon. Flooding at Datagram also caused disruption to the Huffington Post, to Buzzfeed and to other sites, the website Data Center Knowledge reported. The Real Deal’s website is hosted by Datagram, and was briefly offline in the early morning hours today.

Datagram, in a statement, said that its emergency systems kicked in as the storm arrived, but that the building’s basement, where fuel tank pumps and sump pumps are located, was flooded — with water spilling out into the lobby. “Due to electrical systems being underwater the building was forced to shut down to avoid fire and permanent damage,” the statement said. “We have been working closely with the city, ConEd and building engineers to clear the water from the basement so that we may restore our emergency power systems.”

Other affected data center buildings included 75 Broad Street in the Financial District, home to Internap and Peer 1 Hosting, and 121 Varick Street, where Steadfast Networks have an office, in Hudson Square.

Elsewhere in Lower Manhattan Joe Castillo, a superintendent for a row of mixed-use, low-rise buildings, including 62 Pearl Street, told The Real Deal that the basement in that building had eight feet of water. He anticipated it would take 10 hours to pump it out. — Adam Pincus