Utility expects to have Manhattan lights back on by Saturday

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Water pumped out of basement in financial district

Water pumped out of basement in financial district following superstorm Sandy, with Federal Reserve Bank of New York in background (center), Manhattan, New York City (AP photo)

NEW YORK (AP) – There’s some rare good news for New Yorkers in the aftermath of superstorm Sandy.

Con Edison says it is on track to restore power by Saturday in Manhattan, where a quarter of a million homes and businesses are without power.

Downtown Manhattan, which includes the financial district, Chinatown and Little Italy, is still mostly shuttered. People are roaming the streets, looking for food, power and a hot shower. One man fleeing New York by bus today said, “It’s dirty, and it’s getting a little crazy down there.”

Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced today that meals and bottled water are going to be distributed in hard-hit neighborhoods around the city.

Three days after Sandy slammed the mid-Atlantic and the Northeast, the U.S. death toll has climbed to more than 80. More than 4.6 million homes and businesses are still without power.

New York’s subways are providing limited service today — operating only above 34th Street in Manhattan. Flooded tunnels are preventing the restoration of full service.

Motorists trying to get into New York faced long lines of traffic — and police enforcing a three-person-per-vehicle carpooling requirement. Drivers have also faced long lines at those gas stations that still have fuel, and electricity with which to pump it.

In Hoboken, N.J., across the river from Manhattan, nearly 20,000 people are stranded in their homes by floodwaters.

And large areas of the New Jersey coastline are in ruins, with homes, piers and boardwalks wrecked.

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