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Hurricane Irene: New York comes out to assess the damage

As Hurricane Irene ebbed, New Yorkers emerged from their homes today toassess what damage Mother Nature had wrought.

As Hurricane Irene ebbed, New Yorkers emerged from their homes today to assess what damage Mother Nature has wrought.

In the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, the winds brought down several of the neighborhood’s large, older trees. Winds of up to 60 miles per hour brought down a tree on top of two cars on Hancock Street at about 4 a.m. today.

“My sister called me and said her car alarm was going off,” said Veronica Hall-Lake, whose sister owns the damaged car. “We looked out the window and the tree was totally covering the car. But there was nothing we could do. We couldn’t go inside, the wind was blowing things around like it was paper. There was no more sleeping after that.”

Trapped in the house, Hall-Lake and her family waited until the storm subsided and ventured outside at about 8:30 this morning.

There, they found the entire rear windshield of the car shattered. Neighbors used a chainsaw and machetes to clear the tree.

“We were worried trees would come down,” said Hall-Lake, standing in her pajamas on the sidewalk. “But we didn’t think it would be this one.”

Elsewhere in Brooklyn, in Greenpoint -- a Zone-A neighborhood that was ordered to evacuate -- fallen trees pulled down power lines and damaged the exterior of homes.

But on the whole, the storm was not as bad as many New Yorkers were expecting.

Chris Henderson, 35, lives in Greenpoint. He and his girlfriend decided to heed Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s advice and head to higher ground, in their case, her parent’s home in Staten Island.

“We had some heavy rain but it didn’t seem like anything more severe than a thunderstorm,” said Henderson. “We didn’t lose power, we had a lot of rain and wind; but we’ll see what it's like when we go back home. The major thing right now is we really want the MTA up and running.”

Ronaldo Dailey, who owns a t-shirt printing company in low-lying Red Hook, another part of the city that was ordered to evacuate, stayed put. And he doesn't regret his decision in the least bit.

“I had no flooding on the first floor and I had maybe six to eight inches of water in the basement, that was it. My pump automatically started working,” said Dailey. “I slept like a baby. (The storm) really didn’t phase me. I was up at 5 a.m. like normal and I got up and looked out. The streets aren’t flooded, there’s cars driving by and people on bikes.”

“We’re doing pretty good," he said, clearly pleased and relieved. "I can’t see any trees fallen anywhere around and I can see telephone lines still up. My car’s not floating down the block.”