49° Good Morning
49° Good Morning

53,000 without power in New York City

A New York City taxi is stranded in

A New York City taxi is stranded in deep water on Manhattan's West Side as Irene passes through the city. (Aug. 28, 2011) Credit: AP

With no deaths or injuries reported from Hurricane Irene's pass through New York City, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Sunday that the city's zealous hurricane preparations were "exactly the right call."

"The bottom line is, we took precautions," he said at a news conference at police headquarters in lower Manhattan Sunday afternoon. "We dodged a bullet."

Earlier in the morning, Bloomberg toured south Brooklyn, where Irene came ashore near Coney Island as a Category 1 hurricane.

"The good news is the worst is over," he said.

With Irene heading north and floodwaters retreating, it was time to assess the damage and to reboot the city's services.

The subway and Long Island Rail Road will remain out of service until the agency checks all the tracks that may have sustained damage, said Metropolitan Transportation Authority chairman Jay Walder. He could not give a timeline and said there were many downed trees and submerged tracks in both systems. Bus service would be the first to resume, Walder said.

The Port Authority said Kennedy and LaGuardia airports remained closed because the Federal Aviation Authority had yet to open the airspace.

The taxi zone-fare system will stay in effect until some MTA service is restored, said Bloomberg spokeswoman Julie Wood. The system gives passengers discounted rates and increases capacity by allowing drivers to pick up more than one party per ride.

Wall Street will open Monday as usual. The New York Stock Exchange, Nasdaq and other markets were spared the worst of Irene, Bloomberg News reported.

Con Ed officials did not have to resort to shutting down some parts of the electrical grid to protect the system, Bloomberg said. But for the 50,000 city residents without electricity, it could take days for the power to be restored.

About 9,000 of the 370,000 New Yorkers ordered to evacuate their homes stayed overnight in 81 city storm shelters, Bloomberg said. The city lifted the evacuation order at 3 p.m. Sunday.

Flooding was a major problem for the city. The Fire Department reported rescuing 26 people from 5-foot-deep floodwaters at three homes in the Bull's Head area of Staten Island early Sunday. No injuries were reported and it was unclear where the evacuees would go, a FDNY spokesman said.

By Sunday afternoon, things were getting back to normal in Battery Park City, which, like Coney Island, was one of the low-lying areas ordered to evacuate.

People were already out walking dogs, pushing strollers, jogging and riding bikes along the Hudson River.

Alfredo Matilla, 32, who lives in the West Village, was walking with his girlfriend, Alexis Soper.

Matilla, originally from Puerto Rico, said he wasn't impressed by Irene.

"I slept through this one. . . . We've had worse storms in the last few weeks," he said.

The Battery Park Underpass was closed due to flooding. No major bridges had been closed, though they will be shut off to traffic if winds exceed 15 mph, officials said.

The nearly completed September 11 Museum and Memorial did not suffer any damage and will open on time for the 10th anniversary of the attacks in two weeks, said Port Authority executive director Chris Ward.

The city Parks Department said about 650 trees were reported down, including in Central Park.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Irene cut off power to 750,000 homes and businesses across the state.

More than half the outages are on Long Island, Cuomo's office said. About 72,000 homes were without power on Sunday, according to Bloomberg.

After restoring power to New York City residents, Con Edison chief executive officer Kevin Burke said he would send crews to help with the power outages on Long Island.

"All in all, we are in pretty good shape," Bloomberg said.

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