A 30-inch water main broke under 106th Street around 11 a.m., sending a river of water cascading north on Central Park West.
The street was closed for most of the day, but was reopened late Monday.
"We noticed that the floor was opening up and water was coming out," resident Luis Rivera said. "We got a little scared. We said let's get out of here."
It was a long night for DEP workers, who worked to clear the dirt away from the broken water main to get to the heart of the problem.
The water main rupture sent water cascading intoo buildings and into subway stations, which caused a wave of commuter problems. The A, B, C and D lines were all affected, but service was fully restored in time for the Tuesday morning commute.
An apartment building at 461 Central Park West sustained the most damage.
Firefighters brought in pumps to remove water that poured into the building's basement, where Blanca Osorio was doing laundry.
"The water started coming in too fast for me to get out, so I got on top of the table," she said. "And from the table, I moved to the dryers."
Next door, at the Astor on the Park Hotel, employees worked feverishly to remove several feet of flood water, which also compromised a part of 106th Street and left a large sinkhole near a minivan.