“It changes everything — your point of view, everything,” he said.
The region’s woes were by no means limited to the lack of gas.
In Lower Manhattan, some residents spent their fifth day walking up 10 flights of stairs or more to their apartments. Many toilets did not flush. Baths were rare. Though National Guard troops and others had dispensed hundreds of thousands of meals, some Manhattan residents were spotted Friday digging through a dumpster for food. The city’s celebrated, century-old subway system continued to be hobbled.
It did not help that temperatures had fallen precipitously, and were expected to dip to near freezing this weekend. Worse, forecasters said a second storm could form off the Southeast coast early next week and then wind its way to the Northeast. It would not be Sandy — but even a garden-variety storm could bring wind, rain and snow to communities that were barely hanging on in the sunshine.
In an interview, New York Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis said half of Staten Island, home to nearly half a million people, remained without power. She represents the island’s east shore, where at least 19 people were killed by a ferocious tidal surge, most after ignoring mandatory evacuation orders. Survivors, Malliotakis said, are living without “the basics,” have little communication with the outside world and are tired to the bone.
“I’m physically exhausted — but I can’t sleep at night,” she said. “People have lost everything.”
A caustic debate had erupted in recent days after Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg had insisted that the New York City Marathon should proceed as scheduled. “We have to go on,” he said.
But many area residents and government leaders called the decision irresponsible and indifferent, and the event was canceled Friday evening.
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New Yorkers continued to pine for the restoration of the city’s subway system. No subway routes were available between Brooklyn and Manhattan.