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November 1, 2012

New York struggles back two days after killer storm

NEW YORK (AP) — 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 yesterday to find its way. Swaths of the city were still 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.

Yesterday, 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 were still without power, including about 650,000 in New York City, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.

The mayor said 500 patients were being evacuated from Bellevue Hospital because of storm damage. The hospital has run on generators since the storm. About 300 patients were evacuated from another Manhattan hospital Monday after it lost generator power.

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