Piles of debris and a beached motorboat in the middle of a road in the oceanside community of Port Channel, N.Y., Thursday.
Nearly a week after Superstorm Sandy made landfall on the coast of New Jersey, much of the transportation system in the Northeast remains crippled and millions are without power.
The storm has also forced some college students to evacuate their residence halls, while other students face headaches as they try to return to their campuses.
Perla Alvarez, a sophomore at New York University, left her dorm Wednesday for temporary refuge with a friend farther uptown. Her dorm had been without power and water since the Sandy hit Monday.
NYU began “recommended” evacuations of the powerless residence halls before relocating students to other buildings, Alvarez said.
“I didn’t want to get caught there when there was a mass exodus and I saw others had left earlier that day [Wednesday] too, so I figured I’d get ahead,” she said.
Emily Sawicki, a senior studying at Fordham University’s Bronx campus, left New York before Sandy’s arrival for unrelated reasons.
Stress and a months-long absence from home because of a semester abroad factored into Sawicki’s decision to take a train back to her native Detroit.
“On top of that, it was the World Series and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see the Tigers game from Detroit,” Sawicki said. “I’ve been a lifelong Tigers fan … so being able to be in Detroit for those two important games was an awesome coincidence and tipped the scales of my decision to shell out $140 to go home for two days.”
Sawicki planned to return to New York on Monday evening, but Amtrak suspended service in the Northeast corridor pending the storm’s arrival. Sawicki was informed about her train cancellation through a phone call and email.
“The most frustrating part of the experience was never knowing what was coming next,” Sawicki said. “I had to schedule and reschedule trains with Amtrak four times before finally giving up and buying a plane ticket for Friday.”
Although over 20,000 flights have been canceled since Saturday because of Sandy, USA TODAY reported, the number of cancellations has steadily declined since all major New York-area airports have re-opened.
Because of the unprecedented flooding in the tunnels leading to Penn Station in Midtown Manhattan, however, limited train service in the Northeast began Wednesday without travel through New York. Modified service from New York to Boston or Washington, D.C. began Friday, according to Amtrak.
Many local universities, including NYU, Fordham and Hofstra University on Long Island, have canceled classes through Friday and hope to resume normal operations Monday, Nov. 5.
In some instances, class cancellations came after some confusion, as the public transit and power situations continue to change, making it difficult for students and faculty to commute to class.
Some students have left the area post-Sandy in light of these cancellations, to be with family or for a respite from the chaos as the area recovers.
Dan Melanson left Hoftsra and drove home Tuesday to Massachusetts, a state mostly spared by Sandy. After his classes were canceled, he was “desperate to get off the island to somewhere that was less disastrous.”
It remains to be seen how the superstorm will continue to impact universities and academics, especially as some campuses remain without power, but students remain grateful.
Said Alvarez from her new temporary residence in Astoria, Queens: “I got really lucky on a lot of accounts.”
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