New York City's transport system was getting back on its feet Thursday as the remnants of superstorm Sandy dissipated over Canada.
But the storm system, which killed at least 63 people in the U.S., could still dump yet more snow in the Appalachian Mountains, the National Weather Service said.
“The last of its effects are winding down along the Appalachian Mountains,” the National Weather Service said on its website, saying several more inches of snow were possible in some areas of West Virginia and Maryland. “The cleanup can begin.”
Sandy devastated the coast from West Virginia to New Jersey.
A source at the National Park Service told NBCNewYork.com Thursday that Liberty and Ellis islands had sustained serious damage during the storm.
"The infrastructure is shot," the source said, adding that the docks and grounds were in "bad shape." While the Statue of Liberty and the museum at its base were OK, the source said, it would likely be "quite a while" before the islands reopen.
The miles of ruined shorefront will take some time to repair, but New York City itself appeared to be closer to getting back to its normal frenetic pace.
Undamaged parts of the New York City subway network began operating Thursday and the city’s LaGuardia Airport was also re-opening. However, the FlightAware website said more than 300 flights out of the three main NYC airports and at least 226 flights in were canceled Thursday.
After “gridlock” in the metropolitan area Wednesday – which Governor Andrew Cuomo described as a “transportation emergency” in a statement on the MTA website – he announced subway, bus and commuter rail services would be free Thursday and Friday.Video: Post-Sandy checkpoints create traffic snarl (on this page)
The subway shutdown and accidents due to inoperative traffic signals that closed intersections led to transport chaos Wednesday. Packed buses sped past lines stretching around entire city blocks.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg ordered that only cars carrying three or more people would be allowed into the city across four East Side bridges Thursday.
After suffering the worst disaster in its 108-year-old history, subway services resumed at 6 a.m. ET Thursday on more than a dozen lines, supplemented by three bus shuttles. “There will be no subway service between 34th St. in Midtown and Downtown Brooklyn,” the MTA website said.Slideshow: Recovering after Sandy (on this page)
The Staten Island Railway service remained suspended due to “extensive damage” there, and downtown Manhattan was still mostly an urban landscape of shuttered bodegas and boarded-up restaurants, where people roamed in search of food, power and a hot shower.
On New York's Long Island, bulldozers scooped sand off streets and tow trucks hauled away destroyed cars, while residents tried to find a way to their homes to restart their lives.
Joanne and Richard Kalb used a rowboat to reach their home in Mastic Beach, filled with 3 feet of water. Her husband, exasperated by the futility of their effort, posted a sign on a telephone pole, asking drivers to slow down: "Slow please no wake."Video: ‘Unwatering’ team is drying NYC subway tunnels (on this page)
In New Jersey, President Barack Obama joined Republican Gov. Chris Christie Wednesday to tour the ravaged coast and promised to get the cleanup moving.
"We are here for you," Obama said in Brigantine, N.J. "We are not going to tolerate red tape. We are not going to tolerate bureaucracy."
The president was to resume campaigning Thursday after a three-day hiatus.Video: New Jersey town’s iconic boardwalk in ruins (on this page)
Signs of the good life that had defined wealthy shorefront enclaves like Bayhead and Mantoloking lay scattered and broken: $3,000 barbecue grills buried beneath the sand and hot tubs cracked and filled with seawater.
Nearly all the homes were seriously damaged, and many had entirely disappeared.
"This," said Harry Typaldos, who owns the Grenville Inn in Mantoloking, "I just can't comprehend."
Most of the state's mass transit systems remained shut down, leaving hundreds of thousands of commuters braving clogged highways and quarter-mile lines at gas stations.
Atlantic City's casinos remained closed. Christie postponed Halloween until Monday, saying trick-or-treating wasn't safe in towns with flooded and darkened streets, fallen trees and downed power lines.
Farther north in Hoboken, just across the Hudson River from Manhattan, nearly 20,000 residents remained stranded in their homes, amid accusations that officials have been slow to deliver food and water.
One man blew up an air mattress and floated to City Hall, demanding to know why supplies hadn't gotten out.
At least one-fourth of the city's residents are flooded and 90 percent are without power.
In West Virginia, snow drifts as high as 5 feet were piled up. Heavy snow collapsed parts of an apartment complex, a grocery store, a hardwood plant and three homes.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.