NEW YORK (AP) - Two days after superstorm Sandy brought New York to a standstill, residents itching to get back to work and their old lives noticed small signs that the city might be getting back to - well, not quite normal.
Morning rush-hour traffic appeared thicker than on an ordinary day as people started to return to work in a New York without functioning subways. Cars were bumper to bumper on several major highways.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg planned to ring the bell at the New York Stock Exchange to reopen it after a rare two-day closure.
Perhaps most promising, though, was the people waiting at bus stops - a sign that mass transit was trying to resume even as the subway system and some vehicle tunnels remained crippled by Sandy's record storm surge.
Rosa Diaz, a 58-year-old diabetic, waited for a bus to take her to the Bronx so she could she could keep an appointment with her endocrinologist. She lives in the Flushing section of Queens but is staying with her mother, who lives in a senior residence in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood - with no power.
"It's horrible," she said. "Thank God, I bought gallons and gallons of water to drink and to wash with."
Even though workaday life was slowly returning, there was little false hope.
"Clearly, the challenges our city faces in the coming days are enormous," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Tuesday as officials warned that power might not be back until the weekend for hundreds of thousands of people accustomed to their cosmopolitan lives.
While some bus service resumed and some bridges reopened, transit officials said they couldn't predict when the subway would run again after suffering the worst damage in its 108-year history.
The storm's deadly impact grew grimly clearer as the worst of it moved off: The death toll rose to 22 in the city, including two people who drowned in a home and one who was in bed when a tree fell on an apartment. A fire destroyed as many as 100 houses in a flooded beachfront neighborhood in Queens, while firefighters used boats to rescue people in chest-high water.
For the 8 million people who live here, the city was a different place one day after being battered by the megastorm - a combination of Hurricane Sandy, a wintry storm and a blast of arctic air.
Schools were shut for a second day and were closed Wednesday, too. And people inside and outside the city scrambled to find ways to get to work.
In lower Manhattan where power was out, traffic streamed off the Brooklyn Bridge but slowed as it approached downtown. There were few signs that traffic was being directed by police through intersections with darkened stoplights.
Buses have resumed partial service. And the city has modified taxi rules and encouraged drivers to pick up more than one passenger at a time.
Jeff Storey, of Goshen in the Hudson Valley north of the city, is a regular on the Metro-North Railroad and has been forced to work from home this week. He may have to switch to a bus until commuter rail service is running again, he told the Times-Herald Record of Middletown.
For Jill Meltz, a 45-year-old resident of the Upper West Side who works in advertising, Wednesday was the first day she felt good about going out. But it wasn't quite business as usual.
"It'll be back to normal when Starbucks opens," she said, glancing at a still-dark coffee shop.
Faced with the prospect of days without power and swaths of the city plunged into darkness at night, police brought in banks of lights and boosted patrols to reassure victims of a monster storm that they won't be victims of crime.
Some prominent galleries in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood hired private security and apartment building superintendents suddenly became guards. In Coney Island, about 100 police officers stood on corners or cruised in cars to guard a strip of vandalized stores and a damaged bank, to the relief of shaken residents.
"We're feeling OK, but at first we felt worried," 12-year-old Oleg Kharitmov said Tuesday as he walked his dog with his parents by the bank. "I'm pretty happy that the cops are here."
There was little sign of a crime wave, although police made multiple arrests in the city Monday and Tuesday, officials said. Charges included burglary, criminal mischief and trespassing. In one incident, three men were arrested on burglary charges after they struck a Radio Shack in Rockaway Beach, Queens, on Tuesday morning.
As night fell, nerves frayed.
Yvique Bastien waited outside an apartment complex with her two sons, her daughter, 4-month old grandchild and a pushcart full of supplies, hoping to get a ride to a relative's home from a member of her church. With the power out, it wasn't safe to stay, she said.
"We don't know what can happen to us," she said.
Bloomberg promised "a very heavy police presence" in the darkened neighborhoods, which include much of Manhattan south of the Empire State Building, from the East River to the Hudson River. Even outside the blackout areas, police deployed vans and patrol cars with their roof lights on, along with officers on the streets in a robust show of force.
Problems with high-voltage systems caused by the storm forced the utility to cut power Tuesday night to about 160,000 additional customers in Brooklyn and Staten Island.
Consolidated Edison, the power company, estimated it would be four days before the last of the 323,000 customers in Manhattan and Brooklyn who lost power have electricity again. For the Bronx, Queens, Staten Island and Westchester County, with more than 450,000 outages, it could take a week.
Local News <a href="http://www.wten.com/category/173731/-local-news">More>></a>Local NewsMore>>
GAROGA, NY -- Pieces of the airplane that crashed near Garoga, NY on Route 29 are now scattered across a 1 square mile debris field. "I heard this airplane made a circle, then two circles around," saidMore >>
A volunteer Angel Flight crash in Ephratah killed two Friday night, and a search is underway for the missing pilot.More >>
SCHENECTADY, N.Y. – Schenectady Police arrested four men Thursday during a prostitution operation. The four men, 38-year old Matthew R. Geren, 70-year old Anthony J. Robilotto, 38-year old John R. BryantMore >>
Schenectady Police arrested four men Thursday during a prostitution operation.More >>
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - A former New York state insurance agent is accused of taking an elderly couple's retirement savings and never investing the money they gave him. According to state Attorney GeneralMore >>
A former New York state insurance agent is accused of taking an elderly couple's retirement savings and never investing the money they gave him.More >>
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - The New York state Department of Labor is monitoring rides at 49 carnivals and fairs over the Memorial Day weekend. The department is responsible for monitoring thrill rides at theMore >>
The New York state Department of Labor is monitoring rides at 49 carnivals and fairs over the Memorial Day weekend.More >>
ALBANY, N.Y.---It's a charter school success story dating back to 2005. That's when Kipp Tech Valley was founded, with its first group of fifth graders. Those fifth graders are now graduating high school.More >>
It's a big milestone for the charter school, with 82 percent of its first graduating class heading to college in the fall.More >>
RENSSELAER, N.Y. (AP) - Authorities say police divers will be back in the Hudson River to resume the search for a man who went into the water while fishing from an Albany-area dock. Police in RensselaerMore >>
The body of 25-year old John Dandrow, who went into the Hudson River while fishing from an Albany-area dock, has been recovered by authorities.More >>
TROY, N.Y. -- Due to expected rain, winds, and low temperatures Rensselaer will conduct its annual Commencement ceremony indoors at the Houston Field House at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, adjacent to the East CampusMore >>
Due to expected rain, winds, and low temperatures Rensselaer will conduct its annual Commencement ceremony indoors at the Houston Field House at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, adjacent to the East Campus Athletic Village (ECAV) Stadium where the outdoor ceremony was to have taken place.More >>
GLOVERSVILLE, N.Y. – Gloversville Police are currently investigating reports of a dog being stolen from the Regional Animal Shelter overnight. According to shelter employee Rene Earl, a volunteer showedMore >>
The dog stolen from Regional Animal Shelter overnight has been returned by Animal control.More >>
DALTON, Mass. - Family, friends and supporters gathered Friday for the funeral of a Berkshire County soldier killed in the line of duty. Funeral services for 24-year-old U.S. Army Specialist Mitchell Daehling,More >>
Family, friends and supporters gathered Friday for the funeral of a Berkshire County soldier killed in the line of duty.More >>
ALBANY, N.Y. -- Memorial Day is a day when Americans remember the men and women who died serving in the United States Armed Forces. Various celebrations, memorials, and parades will take place throughoutMore >>
Memorial Day is a day when Americans remember the men and women who died serving in the United States Armed Forces.More >>