Lower Manhattan is still recovering from Hurricane Sandy six months after the superstorm ripped through New York City and the surrounding region.
The power is back on nearly everywhere, and the damage is not as visible as one walks the streets of the Financial District, Lower East Side, East Village and other downtown neighborhoods as it was in the long, dark weeks following the October storm.
Scroll to the end of this article to view stunning before-and-after photographs of Sandy's wrath on Lower Manhattan.
But there is still much to be done, as many offices, restaurants, shops and residences remain shuttered and vacant, and as workers continue to labor 24 hours a day to get the city back to normal.
Some downtown business owners and employees, like Luke Shaljin, a clerk at the Pasanella and Son Vintners wine shop in the South Street Seaport area, tell stories of resilience and overcoming the many hardships Sandy brought to the region.
The interior at Pasanella and Son still bears a chalky-white, 6-foot-high watermark on its interior wall that offers a stark depiction of how the waters of the East River rose on the shop's stretch of South Street.
"This whole wall and all the shelves had to be taken down. Immediately after the storm we got to work getting back up and running," Shaljin explained from the pristine storefront that was back in business by the end of November.
Shaljin said that foot traffic is down and that many of the Seaport's businesses will never return, but that as summer nears and proprietors figure out ways to get back on their feet, the mood is improving and the area is coming back to life.
A construction worker and security guard working in the Seaport last week both said it is expected to be back to a semblance of normalcy (albeit with about half of store doors still shuttered) by June or July, though the recovery could drag into October based on a look at permits issued for the area.
"There's a lot of businesses that were pessimistic earlier on, but now I'm hearing good things," Shaljin said. "A couple of bars were not planning on re-opening, and now a lot of businesses are getting their plans together and are going to be re-opening."
That appears to be the case on the busy stretch of Financial District lunch spots running along Pearl Street from Cedar Street to Maiden Lane. Many of the restaurants and shops along that block have worked night and day to get back in business, and most have -- while new eateries are already cropping up to fill spaces that went vacant after Sandy.
One such restaurant is Roti Mediterranean Grill, which is slated to start operating within two months, according Antonio Maldonado, a worker with Unique Construction, an Albany-based company working around the clock to get the doors open at Roti.
"Everything's coming back to normal around here," Maldonado said. "This whole area was damaged but everybody's getting back to business. You know how much money these businesses miss when they're not open? These places some of them make six, seven, eight, nine thousand dollars in between 11 and 4 at lunch. Now you see why they want to get back in business as soon as they can."
Below is a selection of images depicting areas of Lower Manhattan as they appeared in the week after Sandy struck, and as they appear April 26, a full six months later, as well as a couple of images simply depicting the ongoing work to recover from the storm's rage.