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CNN BREAKING NEWS

New Yorkers Trying to Return to Normal Life

Aired August 15, 2003 - 07:43   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: Let's get down to City Hall and Michael Okwu.
Michael -- we tried this an hour ago. Let's try it again. Good morning. Can you hear us?

MICHAEL OKWU, CNN CORRESPONDENT: New Yorkers are trying to go back to normal life. In fact, you can see behind me a sanitation truck making its daily pickup.

But, in fact, things are slowly getting back to normal. We understand that the lights in Times Square are finally back on. I took a very surreal walk through Times Square on the way home last night, and it was something to see, this cavernous area that is usually representative of this city of lights here completely in darkness, just teeming with hundreds and thousands of tourists who seemed to be standing in complete and total disbelief.

We understand that Mayor Michael Bloomberg will be addressing the media within the next 20 minutes or so. We expect him to give us a full update.

We understand that in addition to Times Square, other parts of Manhattan are getting their power back and up. And we also understand that there are various boroughs -- the South Bronx as well as southern parts of Brooklyn -- that are also getting its power.

All along, officials have been telling us that New York City in all likelihood would be one of the very last sections involved in this power outage to have its lights restored. And, of course, again, this outage involved sections as far north as Canada, as far west as Ohio, and as far as south as New Jersey.

We understand that the airports for quite a few hours have been dispatching and receiving flights. But I've spoken to at least one person who was expecting to see a loved one come in from out of town at the airport, and he has not heard from that person. So, it's unclear what's happened to many of those flights.

We understand as well that the subway is not completely up and running, and officials suggesting that that might take another seven or eight hours. Of course, there are some "straphangers," as we call them here, subway riders yesterday who were caught in the subways as the power went out.

But, again, Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of New York, will address the media momentarily, and we expect him to talk to us a little bit about what the city has experienced in the past 14-15 surreal hours.

I can tell you that last night on my way home, after descending about 21 flights of the CNN offices here in New York and walking about 50 blocks, you could see a major police presence at some of the major intersections last night. And, in fact, early in the morning, just imagine a completely dark New York City, no lights whatsoever, police vehicles at certain intersections and red flares on the streets -- a surreal experience here in New York City.

Back to you.

HEMMER: Michael, thanks. A great report there. Michael Okwu down around City Hall with the Brooklyn Bridge behind him.

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