The damage and devastation following Hurricane Sandy is still being tallied. Yet on the third day since its landfall, the City is clearly recovering.
Starting Tuesday regular bus service in Manhattan resumed. The Metropolitan Transit Authority announced that for the time being, it would not collect fares. On Wednesday, buses are taking people down from the Upper East Side, but traffic is so bad, many were hoofing it down the sidewalks. The buses were so packed, people in business suits were scrambling to get into the back doors. Subways, however, have not reopened, due to flooding.
Many offices returned to work on Wednesday. Mine is in Manhattan, and some of the staff is back. There are people skating in Rockefeller Center as early as Wednesday. The tourists go back to touring.
Obviously Uptown and Midtown Manhattan are less affected than Downtown and the rest of the New York Metro area. Yet that doesn’t change the fundamental resiliency of the City to get back on its feet. At a Duane Reade drugstore near East 72nd Street on Tuesday, a family of four asked for permission and was charging its electrical devices from a wall outlet. According to the mother, the family lived in a downtown building and was without power. Although the children were complained about not being allowed to eat the Halloween candy, all-in-all they handled things well.
On Thursday, the MTA announced the return of limited subway service. I didn’t chance it–wanted to avoid that madhouse, so I left early and took the bus. Crowds were reasonable, traffic was apparently average, but that may in part be because some people just didn’t bother to come into work.
By Thursday evening things start to move, albeit slowly. Traffic cops were handling the mass on Third Avenue going uptown. Since fares continue not to be collected, many of us, including me, got on the buses through the back doors. That seemed to work, as well as can be under the circumstances.
There are a lot of people from elsewhere hanging uptown due to the flooding. I’m at a McDonald’s on East 85th Street and Third Avenue right now and people are banging away at their devices with a crush greater than usual. I ask people around me if they’ve been shut out of their homes due to lack of power and three people say yes, they’re waiting for power to go back up in their buidings. One man says his power is to be off in ten days. Another guy named Brian says that the latest news says that Con Edison will restore power by 11PM on Saturday. He said he helped several people Downtown find an outlet to charge their equipment.
I know this sounds cocky, but this City is tough. After September 11th, the blackout of 2003, and Hurricane Irene, I have come to expect nothing but the best from New Yorkers. Once again the City has taken a knock from outside elements, and once again it gets back up.
New York November 1, 2012