The State of the City: Picking Up the Pieces After Hurricane Sandy

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NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 30:  Con Edison employees monitor the drainage of water being pumped out of Seven World Trade Center, caused by Hurricane Sandy, on October 30, 2012 in the Financial District of New York, United States. The storm has claimed at least 33 lives in the United States, and has caused massive flooding accross much of the Atlantic seaboard.  (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
Photo: Allison Joyce/2012 Allison Joyce

Seeking some semblance of normalcy after the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, some parts of New York City are back working on Wednesday, but we have a way to go. Things are moving again, at least, albeit slowly: With the subway still not functioning after suffering its worst flooding in more than a century, traffic is jammed and commuters are complaining as they attempt to resume their daily routine. The MTA is offering free bus rides throughout the city, and chairman Joe Lhota said in a statement that by midday, "we will be able to discuss a timetable for service restorations," but it could be days until everything is running again.

At 9:30 a.m., Mayor Bloomberg will ring the bell at the New York Stock Exchange, which will join Nasdaq and the rest of Wall Street in reopening after two days down. It's a start.

JFK and Newark Airports are also in business, although we wouldn't want to be trying to work our way through those lines of frustrated, long-delayed travelers. More than 18,000 flights were canceled as a result of the storm. Amtrak, Metro-North, the PATH train, and the Long Island Railroad remain at a standstill.

More than 2 million people in New York are still without power, including 22 percent of the city and 90 percent of Long Island. (The outage map is not encouraging.) It could be a few more days before electricity is returned to those without it in Manhattan and Brooklyn, while a complete correction could take a week. "Biggest outage clusters get repaired first," Con Edison announced this morning. "Smaller clusters to follow."

President Obama is due in New Jersey today, where another 2.6 million people are without power. "Today was a day of sorrow, and we need to feel that," said Governor Chris Christie yesterday. "But as long as sorrow does not replace resilience, we'll be fine."

Oh, and it's Halloween. "Most streets in the city should be safe," Mayor Bloomberg explained last night, "but some may not be. We encourage children and adults to enjoy Halloween, but use good judgment and be careful, particularly in those areas where there aren't any lights. Hold onto your children's hands, because cars might not see them." The annual Greenwich Village Halloween Parade is off for the first time in 39 years, although it may be postponed instead of canceled.

It won't be the same today, but some people will pretend. And despite some lingering clouds, there's even a little bit of sunshine in the forecast.

Update: Some subway lines will be working again tomorrow, but not in lower Manhattan, where things are still a mess.