NEW YORK - Hurricane Sandy battered New York, leaving large parts of the city flooded and hundreds of thousands of homes without power.
The streets of New York, normally clogged with traffic, were mostly empty Tuesday morning, save for a few highly coveted taxicabs and some police and sanitation vehicles. Downtown was hit hardest by the winds and rain flooding, and a resident of the Chelsea district named Ray said he made the most of a very long night.
"There were no lights in the apartment the whole night," he said. "The cable [TV] went out first. Then the telephone went out, then the electricity. It was fun because my computer was charged, so I had DVDs [to watch] hanging out, and candles. So it was kind of romantic."
It was a harrowing night for Carol, and she was spooked by the look of her normally pristine Greenwich Village neighborhood by the light of day.
"I've never seen New York like this: Trees coming down, light bulbs and light fixtures on light poles all messed up and turned over," said Carol. "No power, no electricity. No water. So it's interesting."
Supplies of water, flashlight batteries and other essentials are hard to come by in New York's stores, most of which have been closed for two days. However, in one small grocery store lit by only by dim window light and candles, Omar is doing a brisk business.
"[We] just decided to help out and open the store and sell whatever we have left," Omar said. "Mostly drinks and iced coffee, [and] Bagels. Better than staying home and doing nothing. We're troupers. Pop sent us and said, 'Make money!'"
The storm left a trail of damage from the state of Virginia north to Massachusetts, more than 800 kilometers, but New York and New Jersey took the hardest hits. Federal and state officials up and down the United States' East Coast warn it will take days, if not weeks, to repair all the damage and restore power to communities.
In New York City, the sense of wariness and fear many felt as the storm approached is slowly giving way to hope and energetic work, as the Big Apple prepares to return to its up-tempo routine.