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New York Power Slowly Being Restored - 2003-08-15

Electricity is slowly being restored to New York City after being blacked out since Thursday afternoon.

New York struggles on in the summer heat without subways, commuter rails or traffic lights.

But the situation for the United States' largest city has vastly improved since Thursday night when traffic jams paralyzed movement in much of the city, stranding tens of thousands of people who streamed through the streets looking for ways to get home.

Local pubs were packed with people having drinks, but most restaurants ran out of food and closed. Buses moved at a snail's pace. Water was scarce. Crowds lined up at delicatessens buying whatever was available. Mobile phones stopped working. More than 60 fires were attributed to the use of candles.

Electricity is now on in some parts of the city and is returning neighborhood by neighborhood. Most bridges and tunnels are open and the airports are operating. Most New Yorkers, known for their resiliency in the face of adversity, are taking the blackout in stride.

"We are hot but we are doing just fine," she said. "No power, no water, but this is a breeze, right?"

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has asked everyone except emergency workers to stay home, but buses are still full and taxi cabs are racking up business with people sharing the cabs to various destinations. The Mayor is encouraging residents to cool off by turning on sprinklers in city parks or taking a dip in city pools, but not the beach.

As a precautionary measure, the health commissioner has recommended that beaches, due to the expulsion of raw sewage around the city, remain closed for the day.

As the mayor puts it, there are worse things than taking off a Friday in summer and having a long weekend.