BBC News

Sandy: New Yorkers awake to storm's aftermath

By Laura Trevelyan
BBC News, Manhattan

media captionA tanker ship was washed on to a street on Staten Island, New York

It's a post-apocalyptic scene in lower Manhattan today.

The streets are deserted, there is no electricity and there is debris everywhere - mattresses, sandbags swept away by the superstorm, tree branches.

At 09:07, morning high tide, the water surges once again, though it is nothing like last night's 13ft surge.

It's spookily quiet - no lights anywhere, and a dark grey, still menacing sky.

Diana on the Lower East Side tells me how frightening it was when the water rushed in, flooding their street, breaking windows in basements.

We had no idea the water would come from that side she says, shaking her head in disbelief, as she stands on her stoop.

In front of her, an enormous tree has been uprooted by the storm, and it is blocking the entire street.

Cars are piled up against one another on Avenue C - Luis has come to find his, and it is not where he left it.

"This place was a swimming pool last night," he says ruefully.

There were explosions at the local electricity sub station - "lighting up the sky," says one woman.

"We survived Irene - I never thought Sandy would be anything," says Luis, sadly.

image captionNew Yorkers are beginning the cleanup of the storm debris

'Swimming with cars'

New Yorkers across the five boroughs woke up this morning and began to take in the scale of what happened.

The worst has come to pass - massive loss of power, flooded subways, and the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel is flooded, with water spilling out into the West Side Highway.

On Wall Street, the men with generators are pumping away the flood waters.

The skyline of lower Manhattan is not twinkling on this grey morning - it is unusually dark, for there is no power.

Back on the Lower East Side, LuzDella tells me how Avenue C was swimming with cars.

Now they are strewn across the street.

LuzDella's own vehicle is sitting in the basement garage, wheels submerged. That's what insurance is for, she says, as she wades towards her car.