Nightly News | August 28, 2011
>>> what a difference a day makes here in new york city . if you were watching last night, we showed you pictures of times square . it was under no curfew. it's just that we had so many mandatory evacuations here today, no one came. tonight, a little bit of humanity is returning, though to be truthful about it, it's nowhere near what the crowds and traffic would be like on a summer sunday late in the summer. anne thompson is there tonight. anne , a heard a stat from the police commissioner today. average saturday night in august they make 434 arrests in new york city . they made 34 arrests last night.
>> reporter: it was a big difference, brian. just take a look at times square tonight. the people, the noise and the traffic are back. all the things that make new york great. including the swagger. knowing new york took the best of what irene could give and made it through. i reen tried to bring new york city to its knees, pushing the east river into the streets under the manhattan bridge . burying railroad tracks that carry a quarter million commuters a day. littering streets with trees and branches. but in this well-prepared city, the mayor said the damage was far less than feared.
>> nobody likes to shut down the economy of the city. nobody likes to inconvenience people. but human lives are much more important.
>> reporter: new yorkers watched irene blow in with 67 mile per hour gusts on early morning tv.
>> this is not exactly hunkers do down.
>> reporter: two hours ago, i was reporting on the end of that dock. now it's floating.
>> reporter: her family made it through the storm. but irene crushed the suv her husband gave her for valentine's day years ago.
>> i'm glad that my kids are fine. my family's okay. that's what matters.
>> reporter: joseph morone and his dog hercules had their own close call this morning in manhattan.
>> just when we passed the sidewalk behind me, the tree just, like, toppled down.
>> reporter: new york firefighters took to boats to rescue more than 60 people, including three babies, from this flooded staten island neighborhood.
>> when i looked out, my heart sank because all of the sudden the water was up to the level of the cars.
>> reporter: here at the southern tip of manhattan where evacuations were mandatory, irene churned up new york harbor . but the dire predictions of flooding never came true. giving these british tourists a unique experience.
>> it's so quiet! we expected new york to be arm to arm people.
>> reporter: after packing up her battery park apartment friday, today jessica, her husband and their dog moved back in, thankful to come home to an intact apartment.
>> i think they were trying to protect everybody. if they hadn't, everybody would have been upset that, oh, they didn't do enough.
>> reporter: even before irene left town, famously impatient new yorkers were already grumbling about tomorrow's commute. hampered by subway cars still in dry dock .
>> it's frustrating. mother nature calmls. i'd rather take the proper precautions, shut everything down.
>> reporter: mayor bloomberg admits tomorrow's commute is going to be tough. some commuter rail lines is going to be operating. no word on when the subway system is going to be operating. that carries 5 million people. it's going to take people a lot longer to get to work tomorrow morning .
>> anne , then there's air travel . we have a really interesting looking graphic to put on the screen that has just enough lines on it to be truly fascinating. what it shows basically is the weather going up and out to canada and air travel kind of finally closing in around the bad weather . it'll eventually fill in the gaps. you were at laguardia last night when it was an absolute ghost town . well, we may never see it like that again. it's going to take a while to get all that tin in here and fill those planes with people and start getting 12,000 canceled flights back online.
>> reporter: it is. but it's going to start tomorrow morning , brian. the port authority says that they will begin taking arrivals early tomorrow morning at new york 's three major airports, newark, laguardia and jfk. then they hope to actually have departures by late morning. you know what it depends on? that subway system . because that's how most airport workers get to work.
>> i knew you'd raise that complication. all right. anne thompson in a newly vibrant times square on the last sunday night of august 2011 . anne , thanks.