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In wake of Irene, New Yorkers applaud city's hurricane handling

Commuters step off the subway August in New

Commuters step off the subway August in New York City, one day after Hurricane Irene hit New York. (Getty Images) Photo Credit: Commuters step off the subway one day after Hurricane Irene hit the city/Getty

The city that never sleeps woke up from an Irene-induced nap Monday and found that things were surprisingly normal.

While the hurricane left six New York state residents dead and catastrophic damage upstate, the city itself hummed along, with straphangers heading to work like any old day.

“New Yorkers are resilient,” said Mayor Michael Bloomberg Monday, who was basking in praise for his handling of the storm. “That’s what’s great about New York City.”

There was, however, still plenty to worry about: 1,600 trees were toppled and about 23,400 residents in the outer boroughs were still without power.

Bloomberg could not yet say what the financial impact of the storm would be. “It was not great for the economy,” he cautioned.

Still, even hizzoner’s biggest critics lauded his handling of the storm.

“I give the city an A-plus,” said Councilwoman Letitia James (D-Brooklyn).

Rolling along

Subways, buses and PATH trains were running Monday, and most commuter trains on the LIRR, Metro-North and New Jersey Transit were set to roll by Tuesday. The airports also were largely back to normal.

“I was surprised that so many of the subways were up and running for the morning rush hour,” “Gridlock” Sam Schwartz said, adding that the MTA deserved a “high score.”

Transit advocates agreed.

“I’m loathe to second-guess them,” said Bill Henderson of the MTA’s Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee. “I think they did what they thought was best in the long-term interest of the riders in the system.”

Gene Russianoff of the Straphangers Campaign said he “didn’t have any beef” with MTA chief Jay Walder’s decision to shut service before the storm hit, but pointed out that the revenue lost from suspended tolls and service could be in the millions.

Upstate NYers weren’t as lucky

Parts of Long Island and especially the Catskills fared far worse.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo toured mountain towns that saw record amounts of rainfall and flooding.

“Even in retrospect I don’t know what those communities could've done differently,” Cuomo said. “Mother Nature wins at the end of the day."

While there was enough damage across the state to qualify for federal disaster relief, Cuomo pointed out that New York wasn’t hit as hard as it could have been.

“It could've been a lot, lot worse,” Cuomo said. “That's the silver lining here, to the extent there is one."

Follow reporters Tim Herrera and Marc Beja on Twitter: @tim_herrera and @marc_beja


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