At Public School 2 in Chinatown, the playground was once again full of the sounds of children laughing and shouting as they played basketball before school started. Samantha Martin, a fifth-grader at P.S. 75 on the Upper West Side, made it to school from the Bronx with time to spare on the subway.
"It was packed but I'm happy. Home is boring!" Martin said.
The longer commute times were actually a lesser problem for many families who left homes and apartments that have been without power for almost a week. In Westchester County, Liliana Matos said dropping her boys off at Colonial School in Pelham gave her a chance to "call Con Ed and get on their backs" about the loss of power. For the last three days, they have been staying at a hotel because the house is too cold.
In Jersey City, investment advisor Barbara Colucci, was traveling from a house without power and the family's car was low on fuel because of persistent gasoline shortages.
"I can't wait until the PATH and light rail are up and running again, but first I'd like power in my house quite honestly," she said. "We're sleeping on air mattresses but we have heat so we can't complain but I'd like to get back to a bed — it's been awhile — and back to a regular commute."
Repair crews have been laboring around-the-clock in response to the worst natural disaster in the transit system's 108-year history, Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman Joseph Lhota said Sunday.
"We are in uncharted territory with bringing this system back because of the amount of damage and saltwater in our system," Lhota said. "It's an old system ... and it's just had a major accident."