New York City now begins recovery efforts after harsh rain and winds caused widespread flooding in the city Monday night into Tuesday morning. Hurricane Sandy, which left at least 35 people dead from Connecticut to North Carolina, also caused raging fires and electricity outages across New York and New Jersey. Dan Eggen and William Branigin write:

The devastating powerful storm’s torrential rains and howling winds left behind floodwaters from Lower Manhattan to Atlantic City, N.J., while firefighters continued to battle a still-smoldering fire that consumed scores of homes in a waterfront neighborhood in Queens.

Mighty New York City was largely paralyzed, its pivotal subway system flooded and numerous bridges and tunnels shut down. Wall Street’s financial markets were shuttered for a second day — the longest weather-related closure in 124 years — while authorities warned that it would be days, if not weeks, before the city returned to normal.

“The damage we suffered across the city is clearly extensive, and it will not be repaired overnight,” Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg (I) said during a morning news conference. He said all New York area airports were still shut down Tuesday and that public transportation in the city “remains closed until further notice.” About 750,000 New Yorkers are without power, the mayor said.

“The level of devastation at the Jersey Shore is unthinkable,” New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) told reporters earlier Tuesday morning. He said he was about to take a helicopter tour to assess the damage but “there is no place for me to land on the barrier islands.” He said 2.4 million New Jersey households are without power — twice the number that lost electricity during Hurricane Irene — and he estimated that full restoration would take longer than the eight days it took after that storm last year.

“It is beyond anything I thought I’d ever see,” Christie said of the damage to his state. “Terrible.... No question in my mind, the devastation that happened to New Jersey is beyond what happened to anyone else” from Sandy.

The Post’s Colum Lynch assessed the damage on the ground by talking to locals after the storm:

New Yorkers were reeling in the storm’s aftermath, struggling to restart their lives without light or fresh running water, and largely restricted to their own neighborhoods as the city’s subway transportation system came to a halt.

Businesses, apartment dwellers and home owners from Manhattan’s East Village to Brooklyn’s Red Hook were still pumping out flood waters from their basements and trying to salvage watered logged possession.

The inconveniences were compounded by the risks of crossing the street in lower Manhattan, were streets lights were out, traffic cops were scarce, and pedestrians to play a dangerous game of chicken with cars, yellow cabs and trucks speeding along First Avenue.

In Brooklyn, the coastal sections of DUMBO and Red Hook were inundated at the height of the storm surge.

epa03451668 A crane hangs precariously from the side of 157 W. 57th Street after wind has damaged it before the expected landfall of Hurricane Sandy in New York, New York, USA, 29 October 2012. US President Barack Obama urged residents to follow warnings from local officials as hurricane Sandy barrels toward the East Coast. Many areas from the mid-Atlantic to Northeast have declared a state of emergency as Sandy is expected to bring flooding and widespread power and commuication outages. EPA/ANDREW GOMBERT (ANDREW GOMBERT/EPA)

The streets around Fairway Market and IKEA, the which mark the outer reaches of Brooklyn’s gentrifying neighborhoods, had been badly flooded.

Elizabeth Freund, 49, returned to her home in Red Hook this morning to find her bedroom, and her daughters room in nearly three and a half feet of water. “My bedroom is floating, my office if floating, my daughters room is floating,” she said.

“That red bed spread is mine,” she said pointing to her basement living area. “Those are my clothes down there, there are all my files.”

Businesses also felt the impact of Sandy. Google cancelled a press event, which was to be held in New York, because of the destruction the hurricane caused. The Associated Press reports:

The online search leader did not say when it plans to reschedule the event, which was to be held at a basketball court along the Hudson River in Manhattan.

Google Inc. did not say what it was planning to announce.

Various technology blogs have reported that Google will unveil the latest in its line of Nexus smartphones. A larger version of the seven-inch tablet computer that it began selling under the Nexus brand in July was also expected.