The subway — which handles 5.3 million passengers on a typical workday — wasn’t running south of midtown or out to Brooklyn. They left many commuters waiting for the few seats on temporary shuttle buses into Manhattan.
At one Brooklyn bus stop, more than 1,000 people snaked through police barricades. At another pickup point, passengers rushed the door when a bus pulled up. It filled instantly, leaving most people stranded at the curb.
Others dusted off their bikes or just prepared for a lengthy walk.
Those able to take the subway were thankful.
Technology worker Ronnie Abraham was trying to get from Penn Station to Harlem on the subway — a 20-minute trip. Buses fighting worse-than-usual traffic were taking 2 ½ hours to make the same journey.
‘‘It’s the lifeline of the city,’’ Abraham said of the subway.
Koenig reported from Dallas. Contributing to this report were Associated Press writers Verena Dobnik, Meghan Barr and Adam Geller in New York and Joan Lowy in Washington.
Scott Mayerowitz can be reached at http://twitter.com/GlobeTrotScott and David Koenig at http://twitter.com/AirlineWriter.