Jeff Storey, of Goshen in the Hudson Valley north of the city, is a regular on the Metro-North Railroad and has been forced to work from home this week. He may have to switch to a bus until commuter rail service is running again, he told the Times-Herald Record of Middletown.
For Jill Meltz, a 45-year-old resident of the Upper West Side who works in advertising, Wednesday was the first day she felt good about going out. But it wasn't quite business as usual.
"It'll be back to normal when Starbucks opens," she said, glancing at a still-dark coffee shop.
Faced with the prospect of days without power and swaths of the city plunged into darkness at night, police brought in banks of lights and boosted patrols to reassure victims of a monster storm that they won't be victims of crime.
Some prominent galleries in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood hired private security and apartment building superintendents suddenly became guards. In Coney Island, about 100 police officers stood on corners or cruised in cars to guard a strip of vandalized stores and a damaged bank, to the relief of shaken residents.
"We're feeling OK, but at first we felt worried," 12-year-old Oleg Kharitmov said Tuesday as he walked his dog with his parents by the bank. "I'm pretty happy that the cops are here."
There was little sign of a crime wave, although police made multiple arrests in the city Monday and Tuesday, officials said. Charges included burglary, criminal mischief and trespassing. In one incident, three men were arrested on burglary charges after they struck a Radio Shack in Rockaway Beach, Queens, on Tuesday morning.
As night fell, nerves frayed.
Yvique Bastien waited outside an apartment complex with her two sons, her daughter, 4-month old grandchild and a pushcart full of supplies, hoping to get a ride to a relative's home from a member of her church. With the power out, it wasn't safe to stay, she said.
"We don't know what can happen to us," she said.
Bloomberg promised "a very heavy police presence" in the darkened neighborhoods, which include much of Manhattan south of the Empire State Building, from the East River to the Hudson River. Even outside the blackout areas, police deployed vans and patrol cars with their roof lights on, along with officers on the streets in a robust show of force.
Problems with high-voltage systems caused by the storm forced the utility to cut power Tuesday night to about 160,000 additional customers in Brooklyn and Staten Island.
Consolidated Edison, the power company, estimated it would be days before the last of the hundreds of thousands of customers in Manhattan and Brooklyn who lost power have electricity again. For the Bronx, Queens, Staten Island and Westchester County, with even more outages, it could take a week.