Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

N.Y.C. Streets Practically Deserted

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

N.Y.C. Streets Practically Deserted

Article excerpt

Tourists went to Mass, searched for open stores and seemed to delight in being in New York City during a historic storm. The normally teeming streets were largely empty, except for the die- hards and out-of-towners.

Bridges and tunnels were closed, along with the trains, buses and stock exchange. Thousands along the waterfront were ordered to evacuate. Surging waters of between 6 and 11 feet could flood subway tunnels, knocking out the underground network of power, phone and high-speed Internet lines that are the lifeblood of America's financial capital.

It marked the second time in 14 months that New York City has faced a scenario forecasters have long feared: a big hurricane hitting the city or a bit south, with counterclockwise winds driving water into miles of densely populated shoreline.

Still, there was activity at some key locations.

During St. Patrick's Cathedral's noon Mass right in the center of Manhattan, visitors were streaming in and out.

"It's much busier than normal," said an usher at the cathedral. We don't regularly get this many people at Mass. I guess no one has any place to go."

Tourists gathered underneath the scaffolding, trying to figure out what to do next. Wind whipped around the corners, and even Saks Fifth Avenue across the street was completely boarded up. Bergdorf Goodman's main store was boarded up, too, but the men's store seemed to be roughing it.

Gillian Hase, from Essex in the United Kingdom, who was traveling to New York for the first time with her daughter, Robyn, said she wasn't disappointed by her trip, even though the cathedral was the only site they could visit on Monday, but that she was hungry.

"We couldn't get anything to eat last night or today," she said. "You don't really come to New York and expect to be unable to eat in a restaurant."

She said it was surprising to see New York's streets so empty, but she was impressed by how well-prepared everyone seemed to be. "In England, we've been having terrible flooding, and no one bothers to sort it out until it's already happened," she said.

Further uptown, sandbags surrounded the door of the Apple store, a rain-spattered glass cube in the storm. …

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