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Sandy aftermath: Traffic into Manhattan snarled; thousands stranded in New Jersey

People wait to board a bus heading into Manhattan from Brooklyn on Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012.
November 1, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Three days after Superstorm Sandy slammed the mid-Atlantic and the Northeast, nearly 20,000 people remain stranded in Hoboken, New Jersey, while in New York, commuting was a struggle.

The death toll has climbed to at least 91, and more than 4.6 million homes and businesses were still without power. Damage estimates could run as high as $50 billion, making it the second costliest storm in U.S. history after Hurricane Katrina. According to the Department of Energy, Sandy knocked out electricity for more homes and businesses than any other storm in history.

Join ABC7 and the American Red Cross at relief drives Thursday and Friday to raise money for the victims of superstorm Sandy

NEW JERSEY

New Jersey suffered extensive damage during the storm. Parts of Hoboken remain under water, leaving thousands of residents trapped in their homes. Many beachfront communities have been destroyed. Atlantic City remains closed.

"This," said Harry Typaldos, who owns the Grenville Inn in Mantoloking, "I just can't comprehend."

Most of New Jersey's mass transit system is still shut down, leaving hundreds of thousands of commuters to deal with clogged highways and quarter-mile lines at gas stations.

On Wednesday, President Barack Obama and Republican Gov. Chris Christie toured some of the state's hardest hit areas. The president assured residents that the federal government will be there to help.

"We are here for you and we will not forget. We will follow up to make sure you get all the help you need until you've rebuilt," Mr. Obama said. "At this point, our main focus is on the states of New Jersey, which got hit harder than anybody, the state of New York, particularly lower Manhattan and Long Island."

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NEW YORK

In Brooklyn, the line for buses at the Barclays Center wrapped around the block, and some waited longer than an hour to get on a bus. Buses are still doing the heavy lifting when it comes to getting people to work, but in New York City, some subway lines were reopened Thursday. Flooding is still a big problem in many subway stations in and around Wall Street. Trains in Manhattan ran only north of 34th Street, unable to travel through flooded tunnels. Officials said Amtrak trains will start running on Friday.

LaGuardia Airport reopened, becoming the last of the three major New York-area airports to reopen.

Traffic crawled over bridges, where police enforced mandatory carpooling. Television footage showed heavy traffic coming into Manhattan, as police turned away cars that carried fewer than three people, a rule meant to ease congestion.

Many of the gas stations are without power, and at the stations that do have fuel and power, there are long lines of vehicles.

And while things are getting better, some people are seeing for the first time the extent of the destruction left by Sandy. In Breezy Point, Queens, a fire took out an entire neighborhood during the storm.

"I don't even know what to think. I don't even have words to describe it. I mean, it's absolutely insane. It's just the most terrible thing I've ever seen," said one person.

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.

The death toll in New York City alone was close to 40. Police say two brothers, ages 2 and 4, who were swept away Monday night when waves of water crashed into an SUV driven by their mother in Staten Island, were found dead.

You can help victims of the storm by sending relief checks for the American Red Cross to ABC7. Checks can be made out to: American Red Cross, with Sandy Relief in the memo line. Send checks to:

Superstorm Sandy Relief
P.O. Box 5967
Glendale, CA 91221

See photos of superstorm Sandy along the East Coast

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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