— NEW YORK (AP) — Subways started running again in much of New York City on Thursday for the first time since Superstorm Sandy, but traffic at bridges backed up for miles, long lines formed at gas stations, and tempers flared as commuters waited for buses.
The trains couldn't take some New Yorkers where they needed to go. There was no service in downtown Manhattan and other hard-hit parts of the city, and people had to switch to buses. But some of those who did use the subway were grateful.
"It's the lifeline of the city. It can't get much better than this," said Ronnie Abraham, who was waiting at Penn Station for a subway train to Harlem, a trip that takes 20 minutes underground but 2½ hours on the city's badly overcrowded buses.
Three days after Sandy slammed the mid-Atlantic and the Northeast, New York and New Jersey struggled to get back on their feet, the U.S. death toll climbed to more than 80, and more than 4.6 million homes and businesses were still without power.
Nearly 20,000 people remained stranded in their homes by floodwaters in Hoboken, N.J., across the river from the New York, and swaths of the New Jersey coastline lay in ruins, with countless homes, piers and boardwalks wrecked.
In a piece of good news for many New Yorkers, Con Edison said it is on track to restore power by Saturday in Manhattan, where a quarter-million customers were without electricity. And Mayor Michael Bloomberg said meals and bottled water will be distributed in hard-hit neighborhoods around the city.
Downtown Manhattan, which includes the financial district, the Sept. 11 memorial, Chinatown and Little Italy, was still mostly an urban landscape of shuttered bodegas and boarded-up restaurants. People roamed in search of food, power and a hot shower. Some dispirited and fearful New Yorkers decided to flee the city.