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Lights in lower Manhattan, misery in outer regions

November 3, 2012 • National News


Volunteer Mike Giuliano, left, carries a bag of clothing to be donated to residents affected by Superstorm Sandy, Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012, in Staten Island, N.Y. A Superstorm Sandy relief fund is being created just for residents of the hard-hit New York City borough. Former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and Borough President James Molinaro say the fund will help residents displaced from their homes. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

NEW YORK (AP) — The lights were back on Saturday in lower Manhattan, prompting screams of sweet relief from residents who’d been plunged into darkness for nearly five days by Superstorm Sandy. But that joy contrasted with deepening resentment in the city’s outer boroughs and suburbs over a continued lack of power and maddening gas shortages.

Adding to the misery of those lacking power, heat or gasoline: dipping temperatures. Mayor Michael Bloomberg urged older residents without heat to move to shelters, and said 25,000 blankets were being distributed across the city.

“We’re New Yorkers and we’re going to get through it,” the mayor said. “But I don’t want anyone to think we’re out of the woods.”

Bloomberg also said that resolving gas shortages could take days. Lines snaked around gas stations for many blocks all over the stricken region, including northern New Jersey, where Gov. Chris Christie imposed rationing that recalled the worst days of fuel shortages of the 1970s.

But nowhere was the scene more confused than at a refueling station in Brooklyn, where the National Guard gave out free gas — an effort to alleviate the situation. There, a mass of honking cars, desperate drivers and people on foot, carrying containers from empty bleach bottles to five-gallon Poland Spring water jugs, was just the latest testament to the misery unleashed by Sandy.

“It’s chaos, it’s pandemonium out here,” said Chris Damon, who had been waiting for 3½ hours at the site and had circled the block five times. “It seems like nobody has any answers.”

Added Damon: “I feel like a victim of Hurricane Katrina. I never thought it could happen here in New York, but it’s happened.”

Damon, 42, had already been displaced to Brooklyn from his home in Queens, where he still lacked power, as did millions outside Manhattan — from Staten Island, the hardest-hit borough, to Westchester County and other suburban areas.

Domingo Isasi, waiting in a gas line on Staten Island, minced no words about the divide he perceived between Manhattan and the outer boroughs.

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