Water Main Break Floods North Manhattan

NEW YORK (AP) -- A water main break flooded streets Thursday in northern Manhattan and forced the temporary closing of the lower level of the George Washington Bridge.

The break happened around midday in the Washington Heights section near the entrance to the bridge, which connects the city to New Jersey. The bridge level reopened after a few hours.

Several feet of water cascaded down Amsterdam Avenue, flooding businesses and street-level apartments. The water rose halfway up the windshields of parked cars. A few began floating down the avenue.

``It was like a river,'' according to Jose Prat, who said 1 1/2 feet of water flooded his auto parts store, damaging thousands of dollars worth of inventory.

No injuries were reported.

Five buildings were evacuated, fire department spokesman Mike Loughran said. Several businesses were affected _ including a furniture store and an animal hospital where all five patients were safely evacuated.

Cleanup and repair of the 30-inch pipe was expected to take until Friday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said. The pipe dated to 1895.