City faces uncertainty as it begins recovery

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Above: A New York city worker clears leaves from a sewer drain in lower Manhattan on Tuesday (Photo by Allison Joyce/Getty)

New York City awoke Tuesday morning to survey the extent of the damage wrought by Hurricane Sandy, with everything from power outages to flooded subway stations raising questions of just how long it would be before the city could get up and running again.

Overall, the U.S. death toll stood at 39 as of Tuesday afternoon, with more than 8 million people without power.

News outlets broadcast updates from some of Gotham’s hardest-hit areas, including Staten Island and Brooklyn neighborhoods Coney Island and Red Hook. Viewer-submitted footage of the prior night’s power plant explosion on Manhattan’s East Side also got some play, as did the efforts of firefighters to battle a major fire in Queens. Local stations had broadcast throughout the storm without significant interruption.

All performances on Broadway were cancelled for Tuesday, with the Broadway League saying late Monday that they expected normal operations to resume in time for Wednesday’s matinees. Whether that would hold true remained to be seen.

One high-profile Off Broadway opening, the Nixon bio-drama “Checkers,” penned by film scribe Douglas McGrath and toplined by Anthony LaPaglia, was suspended indefinitely as the company producing it, the Vineyard Theater, struggled with loss of power at its venue, located in one of the swaths of lower Manhattan hit by outages. Performances were suspended beginning Tuesday, with a planned Wednesday opening postponed until it becomes clear when power can be restored to the theater and to the neighborhood around it.

The Roundabout Theater Company’s Off Broadway outing “Bad Jews” cancelled its opening-night perf Tuesday, but reviews were still planned to hit the papers Wednesday. The upcoming Main Stem tuner version of “A Christmas Story” already determined that it would begin previews a day late, pushing the start of perfs to Nov. 7 due to lost rehearsal time.

The majority of Manhattan cinemas also remained closed, with chains including AMC and Clearview Cinemas announcing theaters would be shuttered at least through Tuesday.

All outdoor filming permits were revoked across New York City, and by Tuesday morning “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report” had already cancelled the day’s tapings. Both “Daily Show” and “Colbert” had nixed Monday tapings, as had “Jimmy Kimmel Live.”

“Kimmel,” however, planned on taping Tuesday in Brooklyn, where the show was skedded to tape all week. “Late Show with David Letterman” and “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon” planned to tape Tuesday without an audience; both had done the same Monday.

Suspensions in primetime series production continued. Lensing on NBC skeins “Smash,” “30 Rock,” “Law and Order: SVU” and midseason offering “Deception” were all halted Tuesday after going dark Monday. The same was true of CBS series “The Good Wife.”

The safety of the cast and crew in the face of the city’s major transportation disruptions was a major factor prompting decisions to suspend. For at least one show, concerns about the power going out, making shooting impossible, also played a role.

Gotham’s financial markets also were closed Monday and Tuesday. As of Tuesday afternoon, the NYSE was planning to reopen Wednesday but also was at work on a contingency plan in the event of unforeseen obstacles.

It was not immediately evident how long it would take to complete the extensive repairs to New York necessitated by the storm, nor was it clear how much it would cost — although the pricetag is sure to be high. Public transportation remains suspended until further notice, and power outages are expected to last several days in some areas of the city.

Classes in public schools, which had been closed since Monday, were cancelled for Wednesday as well.

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