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October 31, 2012

Sandy leaves devastation behind in N.Y., N.J.

(Continued)

Bloomberg put the city death toll at 10. The toll could have been higher: Firefighters rescued 25 people from an upstairs apartment as they battled a huge blaze in the Breezy Point neighborhood of Queens. Another drama unfolded late Monday at New York University's Tisch Hospital, when a backup electrical system failed and nurses had to evacuate infants from neonatal intensive care, carrying them down darkened stairwells to get them to the safety of another hospital.

The Breezy Point fire immolated 80 homes, one of which belonged to a congressman, Robert L. Turner, R-N.Y.

In Brooklyn, Dave Shamoun, 58, the owner of Technico Marine, a marine industry supplier, surveyed the soggy wreckage in a 15,000-square-foot warehouse.

"This is New York's Katrina," Shamoun said.

Some residents of Sheepshead Bay, an old fishing community in southern Brooklyn, tried to ride out the storm in their wood-frame houses and bungalows. They were inundated by fierce waves that surged in from Manhattan Beach. Water ripped apart a 100-year-old esplanade and yanked sailboats from their moorings. Mud and water invaded storefronts and shattered the plate-glass windows at Tete a Tete Cafe on Avenue Z.

"It didn't seem as if anyone had prepared their homes before the storm came in,'' said Ned Berke, editor of Sheepshead Bites, a news website that covers the neighborhood. "They thought it was going to be like Irene.''

The denizens of Lower Manhattan were astonished by the sight of submerged and floating cars in vintage residential neighborhoods and the financial district. In the East Village, more than a dozen people waited on line Tuesday at the Village Farms grocery store, where workers escorted each shopper for a flashlit tour of the aisles. Around the corner, 37 people waited in line at a coffee truck, some amusing themselves by guessing how long it would be before power returned to their apartments.

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