Flights resumed, but slowly. The New York Stock Exchange got back to business, but on generator power. And with the subways still down, great numbers of people walked across the Brooklyn Bridge into Manhattan in a reverse of the exodus of 9/11.
Two days after superstorm Sandy rampaged across the Northeast, killing at least 72 people, New York struggled Wednesday to find its way. Swaths of the city still were 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. Two children used jack-o’-lantern trick-or-treat buckets.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that parts of the subway would begin running again today, and that three of seven tunnels under the East River had been pumped free of water, removing a major obstacle to restoring full service.
“We are going to need some patience and some tolerance,” he said.
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 still were without power, including about 650,000 in New York City, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.
Bloomberg canceled school the rest of the week, and the Brooklyn Nets, who just moved from New Jersey, scratched their home opener against the Knicks today.
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 Friday.
The stock exchange, operating on backup generators, came back to life after its first two-day weather shutdown since the blizzard of 1888.
Most Broadway shows returned for Wednesday matinees and evening shows.