In the Intercontinental Hotel at Times Square, furious sodden refugees from downtown packed the lobby, told their reservations were no good; because of a “system glitch” the hotel was overbooked by more than a hundred rooms. Desk clerks gave customers the number of a help line, which proved to be no help. Craig Slutzkin, a 38-year-old in finance whose building in Chelsea was blacked out, said helplessly, “I’ll charge my batteries here and try to find a sports club to take a shower.”
In the lobby of a downtown luxury loft building without power, one woman with luggage and nowhere to go said, “I’ll just wait in the lobby of the Mandarin Oriental for something to open up.”
Sandy has disrupted life up and down the East Coast for more than two days, causing fires, floods and snow and leaving millions without power. Take a look at some of the superstorm’s most memorable moments.
More on Hurricane Sandy
Many in the region are still without power.
LETTER TO THE EDITOR | Building big isn’t the only answer. As Sandy and other storms have made clear, the forces of nature are too powerful.
Frank Murphy and Frank Fumich collected items from the community to take to the Garden State.
Not all downtowners wished to abandon their washed-out neighborhoods, however. On Maiden Lane, just a couple of blocks off the swollen East River, the commercial buoyancy on which New Yorkers pride themselves showed itself in three store clerks who rode out the hurricane in a tiny bodega and deli called the Lane Cafe. They had spent the night inside, hoping to protect their stock from the floodwater. They lucked out; the water never reached their front step. Early Tuesday, though every other store in the lower district was gated and shuttered, they opened their doors and began boiling water for tea and instant coffee on a gas stove in the darkened kitchen, and passing it out to residents.
Word got around the neighborhood. “Where did you get that coffee?” pedestrians asked urgently. One by one, stunned locals found their way to the Lane Cafe. Among them was Wildt, the bartender, who emerged from his apartment about 8 a.m. to find the tidewater receded and his doorman mopping the lobby. Another was Levey, the engineer, who came in to order half a dozen coffees for his colleagues.
Clerk Jose Uruchima loaded a small table with Cheerios and potato chips and set it outside on the sidewalk, by way of advertisement. The store remained open for the rest of the day, though the cash register didn’t work; they just rounded off the figures. A damp young man in a leather jacket and black jeans ducked his head in the door.
“Is it cash only?” he asked, forlornly.
Uruchima just nodded: Cash only.