‘‘If they had said the lights won’t be on until two weeks from now, I could have made a two-week plan,’’ he said. Instead, he and his wife and two children had been sleeping in one bed to try to stay warm, and he missed two weeks of work. ‘‘All you could do was hope that today would be the day.’’
On Staten Island, Napolitano said ‘‘a lot of progress’’ had been made since the storm hit and especially since her last visit 10 days earlier.
‘‘It seems like a different place,’’ she said. ‘‘You can really tell the difference.’’
But, she added, there was a lot more to do. ‘‘The last big chunk’’ to solve, she said, is the question of how quickly power can be returned to thousands of homes without it.
If homes are not inhabitable even after power returns, she said, the government is finding temporary apartments and hotels where evacuees can stay — preferably in the same community so kids can continue going to the same schools.
In New York City, the mayor’s office said about 6,000 residents of low-income housing were still without power in 30 buildings. Ahead of a Veterans Day wreath-laying ceremony, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the city was ‘‘getting more generators in’’ and added, ‘‘It’s a question of how quickly the electricians can set things up.’’
He said heating is ‘‘a more complex problem, but that’s coming along as well.’’
Police raised the city’s death toll from the storm to 43, after the death of a 77-year-old retired custodian who apparently fell down the stairs of his apartment building in the Rockaways, when it was dark and without power. Family members found him on Oct. 31; he died at a hospital Saturday.
Though New York and New Jersey bore the brunt of the destruction, at its peak, the storm reached 1,000 miles across, killed more than 100 people in 10 states, knocked out power to 8.5 million and canceled nearly 20,000 flights. More than 12 inches of rain fell in Easton, Md., and 34 inches of snow fell in Gatlinburg, Tenn. Damage has been estimated at $50 billion, making Sandy the second most expensive storm in U.S. history, behind Katrina.
Associated Press writer Deepti Hajela contributed to this report.