Hurricane Sandy Shuts Down NYC

(NEW YORK) — The city that never sleeps resembled one that clearly does.

Even Lady Liberty seemed to doze Monday as she faded in and out of view, shrouded in mist swirling over the whitecaps of New York's harbor as Hurricane Sandy crept closer to the city. On land, streets that normally are jammed at the start of the workweek were nearly deserted save for emergency workers and gawkers who couldn't resist watching the rivers, the harbor and the sea rise around them.

With Sandy's full impact still several hours away, sporadic blackouts were beginning, from New Jersey to Connecticut. On suburban Long Island, 54,000 people were without electricity by midday. More than 52,000 people had lost power in New Jersey, and 25,000 were in the dark in Connecticut.

The morning's high tide sent water washing over some oceanfront boardwalks, parking lots, residential avenues and heavily traveled thoroughfares. Speed limits on bridges were reduced to as low as 20 mph as winds picked up. The gusts proved too much for a construction crane atop a building in midtown Manhattan, at 7th Avenue and West 57th Street. It toppled over and was left dangling in the wind, dozens of stories above the streets, prompting officials to close off the area. There were no immediate reports of injuries.

Officials in Manhattan closed large sections of FDR Drive, which skirts the eastern edge of the island, because of flooding. On Manhattan's southern tip, in Battery Park, workers piled additional sandbags after the harbor surged over the walkway along the water.

The evening tide was expected to be far higher, and the one after that — early Tuesday — higher yet. The Holland Tunnel linking Manhattan to New Jersey, and the Hugh Carey Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel that connects lower Manhattan to Brooklyn, were closed because of potential flooding, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that the city would face a second day of virtual shutdown Tuesday.

Schools and homeless shelters were to remain closed, Bloomberg said, and the New York Stock Exchange would also stay dark. Subways, trains, and the airports were expected to remain closed as well.

Other closures affect the majority of tourist attractions; the shows on Broadway, locations such as Battery Park, the pier, and of course The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

The city set up more than 70 emergency shelters to accommodate people who had no friends or relatives to stay with, but only about 3,000 people had registered at the centers.

A prominent restaurant in what is being considered a no-flood zone, Eclairant, will be hosting a 'Flood Party' for those who live in the no-flood zone. Donations are welcome, with all proceeds from the party going to help city clean up and the Red Cross.

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