The storm killed at least 90 people in the U.S. New York City raised its death toll yesterday to 38, including two Staten Island boys, 2 and 4, swept from their mother’s arms by the floodwaters.
In New Jersey, many people were allowed back into their neighborhoods yesterday for the first time since Sandy ravaged the coastline. Some found minor damage, others total destruction.
The storm cut off barrier islands, smashed homes, wrecked boardwalks and hurled amusement park rides into the sea. Atlantic City, on a barrier island, remained under mandatory evacuation.
More than 4.6 million homes and businesses, including about 650,000 in New York and its northern suburbs, were still without power. Consolidated Edison, the power company serving New York, said electricity should be restored by Saturday to customers in Manhattan and to homes and offices served by underground power lines in Brooklyn.
In darkened neighborhoods, people walked around with miner’s lamps on their foreheads and bicycle lights clipped to shoulder bags and, in at least one case, to a dog’s collar. A Manhattan handyman opened a fire hydrant so people could collect water to flush toilets.
“You can clearly tell at the office, or even walking down the street, who has power and who doesn’t,” said Jordan Spiro, who lives in the blackout zone. “New Yorkers may not be known as the friendliest bunch, but take away their ability to shower and communicate and you’ll see how disgruntled they can get.”
Some public officials expressed exasperation at the relief effort.
James Molinaro, president of the borough of Staten Island, suggested that people not donate money to the American Red Cross because the Red Cross “is nowhere to be found.”
“We have hundreds of people in shelters throughout Staten Island,” he said. “Many of them, when the shelters close, have nowhere to go because their homes are destroyed. These are not homeless people. They’re homeless now.”