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Subways Help Move New York One Step Closer to Normal

Passengers exit a subway train at New York's Times Square station, Nov. 1, 2012.
Passengers exit a subway train at New York's Times Square station, Nov. 1, 2012.
Bernard Shusman
New York moved a bit closer to normal life after Hurricane Sandy with the opening of some commuter rail lines and subways.  But the city's roads remain congested as efforts to drain flooded railway tunnels continues.  

Four days after Hurricane Sandy forced the closure of the New York City subway system, commuters are able to get back on the trains.

With the trains shut down, thousands of people had been forced to walk long distances to get to work or home.  

"It is great.  It is more convenient for sure and it is ... I walked to work yesterday, so I walked about 70 blocks, [about five kilometers] ... it was an hour and a half, so it is definitely nice to be back on the subway," said Adam Rushbaum.

Although it could be weeks before the tunnels are fully drained and the entire system is running, the partial opening of the subway may ease the road congestion that trapped people in their cars for hours to go even short distances Wednesday.

In another effort to reduce traffic jams, Mayor Michael Bloomberg imposed restrictions on cars coming into Manhattan.
 
"But if you are coming in through the Lincoln Tunnel, into Manhattan through the Henry Hudson Bridge and the Triborough Bridge or any of the four East River bridges, the Queensboro, Manhattan, Williamsburg and Brooklyn, you have to have three people in the car," he said.

The recovery from Hurricane Sandy remains a long, hard effort in the northeastern United States.  About five-and-a-half million people remain without power, primarily in the states of New York and New Jersey.

In New Jersey, which suffered the worst damage, the city of Hoboken is pumping millions of gallons of polluted water from its streets.  Tens of thousands of people lost their homes and livelihoods in the state's beachside communities.  President Barack Obama toured some of the worst-hit areas on Wednesday, pledging all possible aid to rebuild the region.

The storm led to at least 70 deaths and caused more than $50 billion in economic losses to the eastern United States, with damage stretching from North Carolina to the state of Maine.

There was good news for New York City, the main power company for the region said electricity would be back on throughout Manhattan by Saturday. 

  • Raymond Palermo, left, wears a protective mask as he helps to remove debris from his cousin's electronics store in Brooklyn, NY, Oct 31, 2012
  • Dry ice is unloaded from a flatbed truck in Union Square for distribution to residents of the still powerless Chelsea section of Manhattan, Nov.1, 2012.
  • People wait to for gas at a Hess fueling station in Great Neck, New York November 1, 2012.
  • A New York resident charges his cell phones from a generator connected to a 14th street market in the still powerless Chelsea section of Manhattan, New York, November 1, 2012.
  • A dumpster is filled with spoiled food behind a supermarket in the still powerless East Village section of Manhattan, New York November 1, 2012.
  • Commuters wait in Brooklyn, New York to board buses into Manhattan, due to the widespread subway closures throughout the city.
  • Flooding in the area after the storm is widespread. Joe Donnelly of Island Park, New York shared a photo of his flooded home on Halloween, October 31, 2012. (Courtesy photo)
  • Early morning traffic in Brooklyn, New York moves slowly beneath the still-dark Manhattan skyline, November 1, 2012. New York is trying to resume its normal frenetic pace, but still finding it slow going on gridlocked highways.
  • This aerial photo shows the damage to an amusement park left in the wake of superstorm Sandy on October 31, 2012, in Seaside Heights, N.J.
  • An aerial photo of the Breezy Point neighborhood in New York, October 31, 2012, where more than 50 homes were burned to the ground as a result of the superstorm.
  • Raymond Simpson, Jr., with Atlantic City's Department of Public Works, looks out over debris from superstorm Sandy in Atlantic City, N.J., November 1, 2012.
  • An historic roller coaster from a Seaside Heights, N.J. amusement park fell in to the Atlantic Ocean during superstorm Sandy.
  • PSE&G employee Percy Thompson III unloads new electrical transformers in a parking lot used as a staging area at the Quaker Bridge Mall, November 1, 2012, in Lawrence Township, N.J.

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