Officials promise subway service as city assesses Sandy damage
The MTA promised to get some subways running along formerly flooded tunnels Thursday, even if hamstrung by Lower Manhattan’s blackout, as New Yorkers emerged from powerless apartments to encounter Hurricane Sandy’s wrath.
President Barack Obama toured New Jersey today and spoke with residents who lost relatives, saying this afternoon, ”Their world has been torn apart.”
He promised federal assistance and said his staff would return any call from local officials within 15 minutes.
Sandy blew through New York Monday night, pushing rivers that envelop the island into waterside neighborhoods like the Lower East Side and Battery Park City.
The storm killed 30 people, from a cop trying to move family into a Staten Island attic to a Bushwick high school teacher walking her dog.
“Hopefully they will not discover any more tragedies,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said this afternoon. Governor Andrew Cuomo called scenes “apocalyptic.”
The storm’s aftermath inspired a flood of unusual instructions, like allowing ride-sharing in cabs.
More than 600,000 customers in the five boroughs remained stripped of power Wednesday afternoon. This could take days to restore.
The subway system, ravaged by salt water gushing into underground tunnels, was scheduled to open Thursday at 6 a.m. with limited service. No trains will run below 34th Street, where no power exists.
Metro-North and the LIRR resumed service this afternoon, and buses are at full service.
MTA chairman Joseph Lhota said three of seven subway tunnels were cleared of seawater, but tests were needed to ensure safety.
“The water is literally up to the ceiling,” he said of one downtown station.
Trains can “absolutely not” run until electricity is restored downtown, an MTA spokeswoman told Metro.
New York seemed a tale of two cities, with Midtown businesses bustling Tuesday and Red Hook residents struggling to start flooded cars and charge phones.
“It looked like they opened the levees of Hurricane Katrina on us or something,” Tamika Nixon, 34, told Metro.