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Lights in lower Manhattan, misery in outer regions


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About 900,000 people still didn’t have electricity in the New York metropolitan area, including about 550,000 on Long Island, Cuomo said. About 80 percent of New York City’s subway service has been restored, he added.

The restoration of power beat the sunrise Saturday in the West Village, though just barely. Electricity arrived at 4:23 a.m., said Adam Greene, owner of Snack Taverna, a popular eatery.

At a glance

What’s happening, state by state

The massive storm that started out as Hurricane Sandy slammed into the East Coast and morphed into a huge and problematic system, killing at least 105 people in the United States. Power outages now stand at more than 2.6 million homes and businesses, down from a peak of 8.5 million. Here’s a snapshot of what is happening, state by state.

Connecticut

Gas shortages in the New York area sends motorists across state lines to Connecticut in search of fuel. Lines form at gas stations near Interstate 95. Deaths: 3. Power outages: 227,500, down from a peak of 625,000.

Massachusetts

As Massachusetts returns to normal, it sends volunteers and National Guard members to help in storm-battered New York. Massachusetts’ federally-owned T.S. Kennedy heading to Elizabeth, N.J., on Sunday. The 540-foot ship will serve as a “hotel” for emergency workers, power crews and others helping the region get back on its feet. Deaths: None. Power outages: about 1,000, down from 400,000.

New Jersey

Fueling up vehicles was the primary goal for many, especially those trying to make purchases before a gas rationing system took effect at noon Saturday in 12 northern New Jersey counties. Drivers waited in line for more than 30 minutes at one Jersey City station. City police officers were waving motorists in and out to expedite the process. Deaths: 22. Power outages: 1.2 million, down from 2.7 million.

New York

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg was determined to keep the city’s huge marathon as scheduled, but finally canceled it, he says, because the controversy was becoming a distraction. Bloomberg says he still thinks the city had the resources to manage the race and tend to the massive cleanup after Superstorm Sandy. “I’m sorry. I fought the battle. And sometimes things don’t work out,” he said. Deaths: 48, including 41 in New York City. Power outages: 900,000, down from 2.2 million.

Pennsylvania

Between 250 and 300 polling places remained without power just days before Tuesday’s election. The Red Cross closed all but two of its emergency shelters in the state. Deaths: 15. Power outages: 163,000, down from 1.2 million.

Rhode Island

Gov. Lincoln Chafee signs a request seeking a presidential disaster declaration in three of the state’s five counties. Organizers recruit volunteers to spend the day Saturday in Westerly’s beach community, where they will clear away debris and remove sand that inundated homes, shops and other businesses. Deaths: None. Power outages: 7,800, down from more than 122,000.

Other states with storm-related deaths: Maryland (4), New Hampshire (1), North Carolina (2), Ohio (2), Virginia (2), West Virginia (6).

Sources: Local and state authorities; AP reporting

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"This morning, I took a really long hot shower," he said.

Greene said one woman had stopped in Saturday to drop off $10 for the staff, saying she regretted she didn’t have enough cash to tip adequately during the blackout.

He joked that 28th Street, above which had power, was like "Checkpoint Charlie."

"You crossed 28th Street and people were living a comfortable life," Greene said. "Down here it was dark and cold."

Throughout the West Village, people were emerging from their hibernation, happy to regain their footing. Stores started to reopen. Signs at a Whole Foods Market promised that fresh meat and poultry and baked goods would return Sunday.

At O Cafe, a favorite neighborhood coffee shop, owner Fernando Aciar was thrilled when his phone rang just after 5 a.m., while he was still in bed, with news that the power was back. Within an hour, he had summoned staff who lived in Manhattan, and his business was humming.

"People came, craving something hot to finally feel they’re home after days of no light, no heat, no food, no nothing," Aciar said.

"This is our neighborhood, and people here don’t like going uptown. But they were forced to go," he said.


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Julia Strom, 53, a singer and composer, said she had never left her West 10th Street brownstone. She not only survived in candlelight, but spent three full nights taking care of a woman in her 90s whose caregivers could not come into the city. On Saturday, though exhausted, she said tending to the elderly woman had been "a privilege; it heightens and beautifies life."

Aida Padilla was thrilled that the power at her large housing authority complex in Chelsea had returned late Friday. "Thank God," said Padilla, 75. "I screamed and I put the lights on. Everybody was screaming. It was better than New Year’s."

Asked about whether she had heat, she replied, "Hot and cold water and heat! Thank God, Jesus!"

Some lower Manhattan residents, however, were still without steam heat.

Michael Cornelison, 42, who works in IT, was glad power was back in his downtown apartment. But he said he had taken advantage of the darkness, too.

"It was nice to disconnect this week," Cornelison said. "I slept a lot." He added that he’d watched movies on his laptop, including "Hurricane in the Bayou."

New York City’s parks reopened Saturday, and with Sunday’s New York City Marathon canceled, many of the runners who had come to town for the race worked out their frustrations with a jog through Central Park, the site of the finish line that won’t be used.

Others scrambled to rebook return flights.

Bloomberg reversed himself Friday and yielded to mounting criticism about running the race, which starts on hard-hit Staten Island and wends through all five of the city’s boroughs.

In his first comments since canceling the marathon, Bloomberg said he’d fought to keep it going but the controversy was becoming "so divisive" and too much of a distraction.

"I still think that we had the resources to do both, and that we want people to be able to take a break and that sort of thing. ... It’s a big part of our economy," Bloomberg told WCBS-TV during a visit to Queens. As he spoke, he was met by catcalls from residents angry about the city’s response to the storm.

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