After the abrupt cancellation of Sunday's New York City Marathon, some of those who had been planning to run the 26.2-mile race through the city streets instead volunteered their time, handing out toothbrushes, batteries, sweatshirts and other supplies on Staten Island.
Thousands of other athletes from around the world ran anyway inside Central Park, where a little more than four laps around it amounted to a marathon. "A lot of people just want to finish what they've started,'' said Lance Svendsen, organizer of a group called Run Anyway.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said New York state is facing "a massive, massive housing problem'' for those whose neighborhoods or buildings are in such bad shape that they won't have power for weeks or months.
"I don't know that anybody has ever taken this number of people and found housing for them overnight,'' Bloomberg said. "We don't have a lot of empty housing in this city,'' he added. "We're not going to let anybody go sleeping in the streets. ... But it's a challenge, and we're working on it.''
The mayor and the governor gave no details of where and how the victims might be housed.
After Hurricanes Katrina and Rita smashed the Gulf Coast in 2005, hundreds of thousands of victims were put up by the Federal Emergency Management Agency in trailers, hotels, cruise ships and apartments across several states for months and even years.
George W. Contreras, associate director of the emergency and disaster management program at Metropolitan College of New York, speculated that large encampments of trailers might be set up at a stadium, in a park or in some other open space in the city -- something he couldn't recall being done in New York ever before.
"The amount of actual units the city might have in buildings is probably very limited, so I think people will be in FEMA shelters for a while,'' he said.
On a basketball court flanked by powerless apartment buildings in the Far Rockaway section of Queens, volunteers for the city handed out bagels, diapers, water, blankets and other necessities. Genice Josey stuffed a blanket into a garbage bag.
"Nights are the worst because you feel like you're outside when you're inside,'' said Josey, who sleeps under three blankets and wears longjohns under her pajamas. "You shiver yourself to sleep.'' She added: "It's like we're going back to barbaric times where we had to go find food and clothing and shelter.''
On Staten Island, emergency management officials distributed leaflets urging people to take shelter from the cold. But "people are apprehensive and don't want to leave their houses. It's a definite problem,'' said Fred Melendez, who helped run a shelter at Tottenville High School that was nearly empty of storm victims Sunday afternoon.
Fearing looters, Nick Veros and his relatives were hoping to hold out in their storm-damaged Staten Island home until power was restored. He figured the indoor temperature would plunge into the 40s.
"If we get two consecutive below-freezing days, I'm probably going to have to drain the water out of the pipes,'' he said, "and then we'll have to get out of the house.''