"Four days? Thanksgiving? " asked Zack Zavada, 29, a clothing salesman who said he had seen a Con Edison transformer explode from his window.
At Fanelli's, open since 1847 at Prince and Mercer Streets, there were no empty stools as the bartender served by flashlight. Small candles burned on the bar.
"Liquor, no food," said Mark Michaelson, 56, an art director, taking a smoke break at the entrance. "A Jameson's is like a sandwich."
Every block in Lower Manhattan offered a different version of a city in its first full day of coping with Sandy's effects. In TriBeCa, people walked from corner to corner with their smartphones searching for Internet service. Chances improved with every block northward, so many headed north by foot.
At Bleecker Street Pizza in the West Village, one of the first restaurants to reopen, dozens of people waited in line for a warm slice. Most had endured the night without power, and looked it. The smell of yeast blasted down the sidewalk, pushed by wind gusts. The fiercest winds were gone, but the rain continued, and as it intensified nobody budged, including Jonathan Padron, 26, who came out with a box of sausage pizza after a harrowing night of darkness and a tin of tuna in his apartment.
"I was so stressed out, I had to meditate," said Padron, a dog walker who works in Brooklyn.
Businesses, apartment dwellers and homeowners from Manhattan's East Village to Brooklyn's Red Hook spent Tuesday pumping floodwaters from their basements and trying to salvage waterlogged possessions. Simply crossing the street was dangerous, with streetlights out and traffic cops scarce.
Elizabeth Freund, 49, returned to her home in Red Hook on Tuesday morning to find it inundated by nearly 3 1/2 feet of water. "My bedroom is floating, my office is floating, my daughter's room is floating," she lamented.