Many of Gotham’s streets and bridges that had been closed or blocked by water during Hurricane Sandy’s passage began to open Tuesday as New York City residents started to emerge from their homes.
Most of the city’s bridges, including the Brooklyn, Ed Koch-Queensboro, Henry Hudson, Manhattan, Robert F. Kennedy, Tappan Zee, Throgs Neck, Whitestone, Williamsburg and Verrazano-Narrows bridges, were reopened throughout the day Tuesday, but the two Rockaway bridges, the Cross Bay and Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges bridges, stayed closed.
The MTA’s Hugh L. Carey (formerly known as the Brooklyn Battery) Tunnel and Queens Midtown Tunnels remain closed because of flooding, the agency said. A spokesman said the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel still had more than 40 million gallons of water in each tube as of Tuesday afternoon, when Gov. Andrew Cuomo and MTA Chairman Joe Lhota took a tour of the damage.
The Port Authority’s Outerbridge Crossing was open on Tuesday, as were the George Washington, Goethals and Bayonne Bridge. The Lincoln Tunnel was open, though the Holland Tunnel stayed closed.
The FDR Drive remained closed Tuesday night from the Battery Park to 155th Street, the city said on its website. In Midtown, West 57th Street between 6th Avenue and 7th Avenue were closed below a luxury apartment building where a construction crane partially collapsed Monday afternoon, leaving its beam dangling off the side of the building. Mayor Michael Bloomberg said officials and the construction company hoped to tie the crane down to the building on Wednesday.
Streets in Manhattan were mostly deserted Tuesday, especially below 30th Street, where many were without power. Cars drove slowly since traffic lights weren’t working and police officers tried to keep cars moving safely down the block.
City streets were blanketed with debris and trash on Tuesday afternoon, along with cars displaced on curbs, several of which were covered in fallen trees limbs and branches.
The MTA started running partial bus service at 3 p.m. Tuesday, and the agency said it hoped to have buses “running as close to a full schedule as possible” on Wednesday. Cuomo and Lhota said fares would not be collected until Thursday.
A timeline for subway service restoration was not given because the agency was still assessing damage, according to Lhota, and the agency released photos of heavy flooded subway stations, mostly in lower Manhattan.
Lhota said the subway system would likely return "in parts," with "creative" bus routes supplementing missing service.
Bloomberg also authorized cabbies to pick up several passengers to share a ride while subway service was down; livery cabs that are normally prohibited from accepting street hails are permitted to do so.
The city has also suspended Alternate Side Parking and meter regulations for Wednesday.
(With Ivan Pereira and Nancy Borowick)