November 1, 2012

New York begins to struggle back

A subway train pulled out of Penn Station this morning, three days after tunnels were flooded in Superstorm Sandy. But restoring the region to its daily rhythms could take many more days.

In the Great Kills neighborhood of Staten Island, damage from superstorm Sandy sent yachts from the harbor into homes. Best viewed with audio off.

The Associated Press

NEW YORK — New York's subways are rolling again – at least, some of them.

click image to enlarge

This photo provided by Metropolitan Transportation Authority shows people boarding a bus, as partial bus service was restored on Tuesday in New York City.

AP

An A train pulled out of Penn Station on Thursday morning, three days after tunnels were flooded in Superstorm Sandy.

MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota says 14 of the city's 23 subway lines are to be operating Thursday with service restoration to continue as the days go on.

None of the trains are going into lower Manhattan, which is still dealing with a massive blackout. But commuters can at least be happy about the price. Gov. Andrew Cuomo waived fares through Friday.

The subways carry 5.2 million riders daily. The Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North each were providing limited service. They have 300,000 daily riders.

On Wednesday, flights resumed, but slowly, and the New York Stock Exchange got back to business, but on generator power.

Swaths of the city were still without power, and all of it was torn from its daily rhythms.

At luxury hotels and drugstores and Starbucks shops that bubbled back to life, people clustered around outlets and electrical strips, desperate to recharge their phones. In the Meatpacking District of Manhattan, a line of people filled pails with water from a fire hydrant.

"We are going to need some patience and some tolerance," Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

On Wednesday, both were frayed. Bus service was free but delayed, and New Yorkers jammed on, crowding buses so heavily that they skipped stops and rolled past hordes of waiting passengers.

New York City buses serve 2.3 million people on an average day, and two days after the storm they were trying to handle many of the 5.5 million daily subway riders, too.

As far west as Wisconsin and south to the Carolinas, more than 6 million homes and businesses were still without power, including about 650,000 in New York City, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.

The mayor said 500 patients were being evacuated from Bellevue Hospital because of storm damage. The hospital has run on generators since the storm. About 300 patients were evacuated from another Manhattan hospital Monday after it lost generator power.

Bloomberg also canceled school the rest of the week, and the Brooklyn Nets, who just moved from New Jersey, scratched their home opener against the Knicks on Thursday.

Still, there were signs that New York was flickering back to life and wasn't as isolated as it was a day earlier.

Flights resumed at Kennedy and Newark airports on what authorities described as a very limited schedule. Nothing was taking off or landing at LaGuardia, which suffered far worse damage. Amtrak said trains will start running in and out of New York again on Friday.

The stock exchange, operating on backup generators, came back to life after its first two-day weather shutdown since the blizzard of 1888. Mayor Michael Bloomberg rang the opening bell to whoops from traders below.

"We jokingly said this morning we may be the only building south of midtown that has water, lights and food," said Duncan Niederauer, CEO of the company that runs the exchange, in hard-hit lower Manhattan.

Most Broadway shows returned for Wednesday matinees and evening shows.

Across the Hudson River in New Jersey, National Guardsmen in trucks delivered ready-to-eat meals and other supplies to heavily flooded Hoboken and rushed to evacuate people from the city's high-rises and brownstones. The mayor's office put out a plea for people to bring boats to City Hall for use in rescuing victims.

(Continued on page 2)

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