New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the city would send bottled water and ready-to-eat meals into the hardest-hit neighborhoods, but some New Yorkers grew dispirited after days without power, water and heat and decided to get out.
"It's dirty, and it's getting a little crazy down there," said Michael Tomeo, who boarded a bus to Philadelphia with his 4-year-old son. "It just feels like you wouldn't want to be out at night. Everything's pitch dark. I'm tired of it, big-time."
The mounting despair came even as the subways began rolling again after a three-day shutdown. Service was restored to most of the city, but not the most stricken parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn, where the tunnels were flooded. A gas shortage, delayed delivery of promised food and water supplies, water-damaged homes and a prolonged lack of power put people on edge.
"People are desperate," said Beatrice Rivera, a Chinatown resident who waded through knee-deep water Thursday to get to a fire hydrant to wash clothes. Other neighbors outside her blacked-out building filled water buckets there.
She said some people were charging $5 to charge cellphones from their cars.
For six hours, Rivera and hundreds of other people waited in line for packaged meals and bottled water to be distributed by National Guard and the Salvation Army on the Lower East Side. The Smith Houses, which face the East River, were flooded up to the first floor.
Bloomberg said city workers and volunteers would provide food, water and other necessities to those stranded, for example, in high-rise buildings without working elevators.
"People are transitioning from shock to real world problems: How do you get water? How do you get food?" he said at a City Hall briefing.
Networks schedule telethons for victims
NBCUniversal said Thursday that it would show a one-hour telethon and concert on its flagship NBC network and its cable channels Friday night to benefit relief efforts for victims of the storm. The ABC television network said it would turn Monday into a "Day of Giving," starting with Good Morning America and ending with Jimmy Kimmel Live. NBC's telethon, "Hurricane Sandy: Coming Together," will be held at one of NBC's studios at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in Manhattan. Among the artists scheduled to perform are Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, Jon Bon Jovi, Sting, Christina Aguilera and Fallon.
Search suspended for 'Bounty' captain
The U.S. Coast Guard halted its search Thursday for the captain of the HMS Bounty, which sank off the North Carolina coast during Hurricane Sandy after more than three days of around-the-clock effort. The Coast Guard for 90 hours searched for 63-year-old Robin Walbridge of St. Petersburg.
FEMA sets up centers for disaster aid
Federal officials moved to establish disaster-recovery centers in storm-damaged areas of New Jersey as relief equipment and workers poured in, aid money began to flow, and state police were dispatched to arrest looters. By Thursday morning, more than 36,000 storm victims from New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut had applied for federal disaster assistance, and more than $3.4 million in aid had been approved for some of them, White House spokesman Jay Carney said.
Military vehicles to serve N.J. voters
New Jersey officials say they will deploy military trucks to serve as polling places on Election Day in storm-battered communities and are also extending the deadline for mail-in ballots. The trucks will be parked at polling places that don't have power.