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NYC wrings out after historic pounding

NEW YORK — The streets of the Lower East Side in Manhattan were filled with people on foot Tuesday, hours after Hurricane Sandy swept through New York City with historic fury.

Power and cell phone service was out in the Lower East Side, and all subways were closed due to flooding. Many residents walked around to check out damages; the Williamsburg bridge was busy with pedestrians, joggers and residents returning home after evacuating.

18 people died in New York City due to the storm, and more than 40 have been killed throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Residents formed lines for payphones as the batteries in peoples’ cell phones expired. One man realized he didn’t know how to use a payphone, and had to ask for help.

Many neighborhood bodegas remained open, calculating purchases manually and guiding customers to desired merchandise in pitch black isles. Many shoppers bought candles, batteries, toilet paper and basic foods such as bread and eggs.

Gabrio Tosti di Valminuta, owner of “De-Vino Boutique,” opened his wine shop midday Tuesday because:

“I might as well do nothing here, since I was doing nothing at home.”

One man poured a bottle of wine into cardboard cups for him and his friends on the corner of 8th and Avenue C.

Fire trucks and police cars were busy responding to fallen power lines and trees. Many businesses pumped water from flooded basements after flooding occurred late Monday night. Debris was strewn throughout the streets, blanketing cars and window fixtures.

Taxis transported those in need and —  regardless of failed traffic lights — order was maintained among the few cars driving. A sense of camaraderie and curiosity brought wandering New Yorkers together on many street corners.

People told SFBay they are ready to get back to work, but skeptical of subways reopening any time soon. Many transit services in the New York area, including commuter trains from Long Island, New Jersey and Connecticut, remain closed with no estimated resumption of service.

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