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Post-Sandy misery: Power out, toilets clogged, temperatures falling

November 02, 2012|By Michael Muskal and Cindy Carcano

NEW YORK  -- Days after Sandy hit, metropolitan New York and the New Jersey coast continued their push to repair and rebuild amid rising tensions about the lack of electricity, the dearth of gasoline, the cold weather on the way and the frustrations over how long it takes to simply get around.

Millions of people in New York and New Jersey remained without power in a world where everything from elevators to refrigerators runs on electricity. Gasoline for cars and generators was in short supply and long waits continued at the few open gas stations.

There is growing controversy over whether city resources and personnel should be diverted to hold the annual New York City marathon, designed to be a joyful celebration by runners, tourists and spectators through the city’s five boroughs.

"All this storm stuff is just driving me crazy," bartender Lindsay Benjamin said. One day she had to walk two hours from her unscathed home in Queens to get to work in midtown Manhattan.

"The vibe is very nervous," she said. "A lot of people are temperamental."

PHOTOS: Images of the super storm

The national death toll from the super storm climbed above 90 and is likely to grow as the ongoing cleanup revealed the grim reality of destruction wrought by the record tidal surges and winds.

Residents in many hard-hit areas of New Jersey and New York -- regions already known for edginess -- were growing edgier as the early adrenaline-filled days of survival turned to the fatigue of grappling with the long recovery ahead.

From Farmingdale east on Long Island, to Westchester north of the Bronx, to northern New Jersey across the Hudson River and throughout the New York City itself, commuters queued up in hours-long lines at gas stations, and in some cases police responded to keep the peace.

AAA estimated that 60% that of the stations in New Jersey were closed, as were 70% of the stations on Long Island. The Department of Energy reported that 13 of the region's 33 fuel terminals are closed because of the storm. Sections of two major pipelines that serve the area are also down.

VIDEOS: East Coast hit by deadly storm

More than 1.7 million customers remained without power in New Jersey -- down from 2.7 million, but still large enough to breed frustration. Nationally, about 4 million customers are still without power -– down from a peak of about 8.5 million.

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