Hurricane Sandy: New York City Cleanup Begins In Earnest [PHOTOS]

Number of people in the dark declines overnight for the first time since the storm.

 @angeloyoung_a.young@ibtimes.com
on October 31 2012 9:57 AM
  • Hurricane Sandy Cleanup in NYC
    A police officer directed traffic on Manhattan's Lexington Avenue on Tuesday. Most traffic lights in lower Manhattan were knocked out due largely to the flood and explosion of the ConEd substation in the Lower East Side, which was breached Tuesday by Hurricane Sandy's storm surge. IBTimes/Angelo Young
  • Hurricane Sandy Cleanup in NYC
    A tree trunk was moved to the side of First Avenue by a couple of building maintenance workers in Manhattan's Upper East Side. IBTimes/Angelo Young
  • Hurricane Sandy Cleanup in NYC
    Sanitation workers picked up branches from Manhattan's First Avenue in the upper East side Tuesday as the city began to assess the damages and look for electrical dangers scattered across the five boroughs and Westchester County. IBTimes/Angelo Young
  • Hurricane Sandy Cleanup in NYC
    Police used flares Wednesday morning to warn motorists of a fallen branch tangled with a live electrical wire on a residential street of Long Island City. IBTimes/Angelo Young
  • Hurricane Sandy Cleanup in NYC
    City workers laid cones to warn drivers to stay away from trees that had fallen on vehicles and could contain hidden in the leaves and branches a potential death trap. IBTimes/Angelo Young
  • Hurricane Sandy Cleanup in NYC
    A downed tree on Tuesday in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, where storm damage was relatively limited. IBTimes/Alberto Riva
  • Hurricane Sandy Cleanup in NYC
    An LED sign Tuesday at a hardware store on Flatbush Avenue in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, where power was not lost throughout the storm. IBTimes/Alberto Riva
  • Hurricane Sandy Cleanup in NYC
    Fallen trees on Broadway in Manhattan's Upper West side. IBTimes/Angelo Young
  • Hurricane Sandy Cleanup in NYC
    Water collected in a pool below the Robert F. Kennedy (Queensboro) Bridge. IBTimes/Angelo Young
  • Hurricane Sandy Cleanup in NYC
    The new Barclays Center arena in in a deserted downtown Brooklyn on Tuesday. A Journey concert on Tuesday and a Smashing Pumpkins show on Wednesday have been cancelled due to Sandy, but the Brooklyn Nets vs New York Knicks NBA game is still on for Thursday. IBTimes/Alberto Riva
  • Hurricane Sandy Cleanup in NYC
    A fallen tree leans against a public housing project in Queens Wednesday morning. IBTimes/Angelo Young
  • Hurricane Sandy Cleanup in NYC
    High winds knocked down a temporary barrier to a construction site in Brooklyn's Greenpoint neighborhood. IBTimes/Angelo Young
  • Hurricane Sandy Cleanup in NYC
    A typical scene in New York City after Hurricane Sandy: tree branches weighing on live electrical lines above wet pavement and puddles. IBTimes/Angelo Young
  • Hurricane Sandy Cleanup in NYC
    The Olde Brooklyn Bagel Shoppe storefront on Vanderbilt Avenue in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, with its windows taped, on Tuesday. IBTimes/Alberto Riva
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To give you an idea of how quickly much of New York City lost power consider these numbers: at the start of Monday there were six reported power outages affecting seven businesses or homes; by Tuesday evening those numbers rose to 831,138 customers (homes and businesses) affected by 12,165 outages.

But the cleanup is well under way. Utility and sanitation workers managed overnight to start bringing down those numbers. By Wednesday morning, nearly 758,000 customers were still fully or partially offline due to more than 11,000 outages.

Most city residents without heat or power are concentrated in lower Manhattan – from the Empire State Building to the New York Stock Exchange nearly four miles to the south – a densely populated swath of Gotham that could end up celebrating Halloween with candles, powered-out cell phones, emergency radios and flashlights.

While over 200,000 of these customers are concentrated in this zone and linked to flooding and explosion at the massive substation of Consolidated Edison, Inc. (NYSE:ED) in the Lower East Side, the rest of the metro area’s power problems are scattered like fall leaves across the five boroughs and Westchester County. The main culprit: branches that fell on power lines.

Thousands of sanitation and utility workers have been working to clean up these dangerous messes that pose a risk to passersby that might not be aware of the live electrical wires tangled in the fallen branches. On Wednesday morning ConEd issued a warning to trick-or-treaters and other Halloween revelers to be wary of downed electrical wires or equipment and to be visible to motorists in areas still without power tonight.

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