Campfire on the Lower East Side of NY for pow
Campfire on the Lower East Side of NY for pow Reuters

It's a slow process, but New York is making its way back to normal life in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

On Facebook, writers are announcing that weddings are "still on!" and congratulating each other for heroism and tenacity. In the borough of Brooklyn, one ceremony actually took place under the stars despite wind and rain during the initial hours of Hurricane Sandy, with the assistance of a Chabad-Lubavitch Chassidic woman from Crown Heights.

On Wednesday, the city sent out notices that all meters and other parking regulations would be reinstated beginning Thursday. It was a sign, said residents, that Mayor Mike Bloomberg is determined to get life back on track as quickly as possible.

That might not be as simple as it seems, however: hundreds of thousands of people are still without electricity. People are homeless, and all over the city, residents last night were building campfires to keep warm.

Due to the flooding and power-related shutdowns caused by the storm, city officials said late Wednesday night that waste water treatment plants and pumping stations have discharged untreated wastewater into the city's waterways.

The New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene advised that any direct contact with any of the city's surrounding rivers for recreational activities – such as swimming, boating, windsurfing or any other water activity involving direct contact with water – should be avoided at all costs until further notice.

The Department of Environmental Protection has said it will monitor water quality conditions via testing to verify when the water is safe again for recreational activities.

Consolidated Edison, the city's electric company, said it would distribute dry and wet ice at six locations throughout the city's five boroughs to help residents keep their perishables cold. Power outages are still occurring sporadically throughout the city, and hundreds of thousands of customers have remained without power since the hurricane put out the lights two days ago.

For information and updates on how to obtain supplies, Con Ed has asked residents to visit the website.

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