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Lights out means no elevator, no coffee

When you live on the 31st floor of a New York highrise and the power is out, you tend to stay put.

That's not a bad strategy generally for New Yorkers today, as the nation's largest city struggles to restore power and basic services to millions of residents.

Rochester native Kirin Furst was among hundreds of thousands of people on the Upper East Side of Manhattan who were waiting for power -- and elevator service -- to be restored today. Furst, 24, lives in a 50-story apartment building at 72nd Street along the East River and had a ringside seat to the hurricane as it blew into the metro area early Monday evening.

Power went out in lower Manhattan in late afternoon and by 10 p.m., it was lights out in her highrise. Though power was lost across much of the metro area, it wasn't a total blackout over Queens and Brooklyn, which Furst sees from her windows. Emergency vehicles lit up the night, and this morning police boats were out on the East River. Roosevelt Island and the FDR Expressway were swamped at the height of the storm, she said.

"The building was creaking and swaying all night," and the windows pulsed in the high winds, which let up after midnight, Furst said.


Former area residents Karen Colbenson and husband Joe Eveslage rode out the storm at their home in Millersville, Md., about 10 miles south of Baltimore. Colbenson is from Stewartville and Eveslage is from Rochester. Their home lost power about 9 p.m. Monday and it remained out in Millersville this morning.

"It's cold and rainy today and the area cities are a mess with downed trees and some flooding," said Colbenson, who's a teacher in Maryland. She was a reporter for three years with the Austin Post-Bulletin. 

Baltimore Gas & Electricity reported this morning that 194,622 customers in Baltimore and surrounding cities were without power, with nearly 57,000 of those in Anne Arundel County, where the couple lives.

They drove through bumper-high water this morning to find a warm place for a meal and to charge their cellphones. "We are going to continue our hunt for coffee and breakfast! Enjoy your electricity," Colbenson said in a Facebook message this morning.

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