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18 Deaths Caused by Sandy in New York City; Fire Devastates Queens Neighborhood; Hoboken, New Jersey Swamped by Sandy; Sandy Devastates Jersey Shore; West Virginia Reeling from Sandy

Aired October 30, 2012 - 20:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Erin, thanks. Good evening, everyone. Twenty-four hours since Hurricane Sandy came ashore and tonight we are still -- still dealing with its aftermath.

Breaking news tonight, 18 people have now lost their lives here in New York City alone. That is directly from New York's mayor, Mike Bloomberg, who spoke just a short time ago. There are rescues under way right now as well. We're going to bring you one of them shortly.

If you are in an area on the eastern seaboard and you have power and you know somebody who does not have power, try to listen closely to the information we are going to give you in this hour and pass along that information to someone who does not have power. And if you do have power tonight and you have a home and a roof above your head,, consider yourself very lucky because there are many people right now in this city and elsewhere along the eastern seaboard who do not.

I want to show you the scene where I'm standing in -- in the Chelsea neighborhood in New York City. No one died in the building over there, the building behind me here on the border between Chelsea and Greenwich Village but the picture says a lot. The entire facade of this apartment building ripped off, fell last night. Those four rooms tell the story in miniature.

This is actually an illegal hotel. There were a group of Australians, I'm told, staying in one of the rooms on the top floor. They left moments before the facade crumbled. Thankfully, no one was killed, no one was injured in this, but elsewhere, lives have been lost as I said. We know 18 now confirmed in New York City.

Also, in midtown Manhattan, a dangling crane, something else entirely, a dagger pointing 90 stories down. Still thousands in a nearby hotel and apartments have been evacuated. They were evacuated yesterday and today anyone in that area paused for a long time and looked skyward wondering what might happen to that crane dangling over the street.

Local airports flooded. Three quarters of a million New Yorkers are without power tonight. But even that staggering figure and all the damage to America's biggest city is simply dwarfed by what Sandy has done and is still doing, we should point out, to the lives of tens of millions of people in the thousand mile path of this storm. Entire neighborhoods in New Jersey, New Jersey, the hardest hit state, simply do not exist anymore. They've been washed away. Others, flooded. President Obama and New Jersey's Governor Chris Christie are going to tour the damage tomorrow. We learned that earlier today.

What they will be seeing and what we'll be showing you tonight, well, it covers an awful lot of ground, a lot of cold, wet ground.

Here's Jason Carroll.


JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A disaster still ongoing. The images, overwhelming.

MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, NEW YORK CITY: This was a devastating storm.

CARROLL: A tanker onshore.

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: It is beyond anything I thought I'd ever see.

CARROLL: Miles of shoreline washed away. Home after oceanfront home surrounded by water, yet consumed by fire.

In West Virginia, and across the Appalachians, ice and snow. All of it, all of this, the legacy of Sandy. A superstorm that's living up to the name. As bad as the billing, as terrible as the forecast.

ALI VELSHI, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Just this massive -- look at these waves coming through behind me.

CARROLL: New Jersey caught some of the first of it and much of the worst.

CHRISTIE: We're at a moment now where evacuation is no longer possible. And we're no longer able to come and rescue people.

CARROLL: Those who stayed woke up to this. In Toms River, New Jersey, and elsewhere, EMS phones rang nonstop, and rescues continued today until nightfall. Crews pulling several hundred people to safety.

JEANNE BARATTA, BERGEN COUNTY EXECUTIVE CHIEF OF STAFF: We're not sure if it was a levee compromised, something was compromised there.

CARROLL: Inland and farther north, the police chief of Bergen County, New Jersey, describes a breach that left several towns and one trailer park as much as five feet deep in dangerous water.

ELAINE ACQUAIRE, RESCUED MOONACHIE RESIDENT: I may have lost my home, I may have lost my car, but I'm alive. GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: As everyone knows in New York, Sandy packed a punch for the metropolitan area yesterday. I don't think words like catastrophic or historic are too strong to explain the impact. I saw people put themselves in the way of danger that was really inspirational. And if it wasn't for the National Guard and the state police and the NYPD, and what the agencies at this table did, I think that the number -- the loss of life would have been much greater.

CARROLL: Manhattan is an island. Lower Manhattan is at sea level in the best of times and nearly 14 feet below it last night. Water filled the river front, then the streets, then tunnels, cars and subways, then at a Con Ed power plant serving lower Manhattan, a spark. A transformer explosion and a massive fireball.

It's the last night the skyline would see and might see for the next several days. Three quarters of a million without electricity and somewhere down there in the darkness, producer Rose Arce reported --

ROSE ARCE, CNN PRODUCER: It's completely dark. There's absolutely nobody outside. The police a little bit earlier were driving up and down the streets where the water comes up to and had bull horns on, they were telling people if you're on the first floor, you should get out. You should evacuate. You should move to higher ground.

CARROLL: New York University's massive Riverfront Hospital lost power. Backups failed and evacuations began for 260 patients, including critically ill babies. But even this wasn't the worst of it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The danger is of course that it will continue to spread with the embers blowing in the wind.

CARROLL: Out where New York meets the Atlantic Ocean, New York City's Breezy Point. Home after home, 80, maybe more, went up in flames.

Jason Carroll, CNN, New York.


COOPER: The devastation in Breezy Point is really hard to kind of wrap your mind around. Eighty homes went up in flames, homes that are very close to one another and that high wind just brought those flames leaping from one house to another.

Our Deborah Feyerick is live in Breezy Point, Queens, right now with the latest -- Deborah.

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, Anderson, somebody who lived here summed it up best, they said, fighting a fire in a hurricane is a lesson in futility. All the homes here completely obliterated. You can see some foundations but pretty much nothing else. You can see cars that were incinerated. This we believe is a jeep. This we believe is a Honda. It is hard to make out anything in the massive debris.

There were 200 firefighters who were trying to put out this six- alarm blaze and it followed the exact path of the wind last night, southeast, taking out all the homes almost in a pie-shaped direction. One official earlier, Anderson, said there were probably as many as 100 homes which may have been devastated.

This is such a tight community. As I was walking through, folks would actually come to see whether anything was salvageable. One man checking out his sister's home saying not only his sister's home was burnt to the ground but his father-in-law's home, and then folks who live here year round, three sisters, their homes side by side by side. It's that kind of community, Anderson.

One home which miraculously was spared belongs to a 9/11 widow, we're told, and apparently only the siding melted but the intensity of that heat, so dramatic.

We spoke to Paul Joyce and he told us what this whole community is about.

And, Anderson, what he described -- what he described is simply this sort of camaraderie. You've got a lot of firefighters, you've got a lot of police officers, you've got first responders, people from the Coast Guard here.

And what Paul told us earlier, he said, you know, look, if you had a house that was closest to the water, you'd simply open your door, your window, and everybody else would open their door. The breeze would simply flow through those homes. But right now, we can tell you the smell of smoke so heavy in the air, firefighters spent the better part of the day simply trying to put out blazes that kept erupting. One of them on the wires.

It's pitch dark by the way, Anderson, because you really can't even see all the electricity is off. They don't know whether the fire was caused by a transformer or whether it was caused by some downed power line. But even one of those posts holding all those power lines, that was on fire at one point today. So this is still very much in progress, with people just trying to figure out exactly what they're going to do next. Right now, they're simply trying to catch their breath -- Anderson.

COOPER: Yes. No loss of life, though, among those 80 homes, correct, Deborah?

FEYERICK: That's correct. Now they haven't gotten in to search all of the homes but right now they do believe that all of them were evacuated. One firefighter who said the water got so high.

COOPER: That's amazing.

FEYERICK: He was something in a drift off and tried -- heard people screaming for help, came back, rescued 15 people.

COOPER: Amazing. And again, you know, you were saying those homes are a lot of first responders' homes. They are no doubt out working now so they have that burden knowing their homes are gone and their families staying at other people's houses, and yet they are out on the streets.

There's a heavy police presence in the streets of New York. Lower Manhattan is without power, basically on the west side from below 31st Street or so on the east side from below 39th Street. There's no cell service. People can't get e-mails on their mobile devices. In fact right now we have a satellite truck about 30 feet from here that has some light and I think there's a Wi-Fi attached to it and there's about 30 people right now bunched around it using that Wi-Fi and obviously we are happy that they are, to try to at least get in touch with their loved ones.

Mike Long is the chairman of the Conservative Party of New York State. His home was among those that burned down. He joins me now on the phone.

Mike, I'm so sorry to hear about what happened to your home. Is your family OK? Is everyone you know OK?

MIKE LONG, HOME BURNED DOWN: I appreciate your thoughts, Anderson. I thank you very much. And my family is OK and my home is gone, my home for 35 years has disappeared. It's mind-boggling to see the photos of it. I have three sons that have -- and one daughter that have homes down there. One son's home was just totally burned down to the ground like ours was, my wife and I, and my other children, their homes, three of them have severe water damage.

So it's not just the people who suffered from the fire. And it's probably going to be more like 110 or more burnt to the ground, homes burnt to the ground, but it's hundreds of homes that have received severe, severe water damage. Some of them actually have been shifted from the power of the storm, the power of the water actually moved homes off their foundation. So it's a devastating, it's a great community, it's a real, you know, lovely community where everyone is part of the family, everyone -- you know, in the summertime you would go to the beach or you would go shopping.

You never have to lock your doors. Doors were open all the time, night and day, and no one ever bothered you. It was a beautiful community. And, you know, I believe the power of this community will rise again and people, once they get past the devastation, will start building again.

COOPER: What is the first step? I mean, just on a personal level, what do you do?

LONG: Well, you know, it's a tough question. You know, I'm just trying to wrap my arms around the fact that my home is gone. And the first thing I did yesterday was to call the insurance company, and the next thing, I can't really do a heck of a lot, nor can the insurance company do a heck of a lot until they're allowed in there and take a look at the amount of damage.

In my case, my home is burnt to the ground. There's nothing left. There's nothing to be salvaged. And there's going to have to be -- it looks like, in all honesty, it looks like a war zone. It looks like during the night that fighter planes or bombers came through and just bombed the entire area.


LONG: It just looks terrible. Terrible. It's mind-boggling. You can't believe what it looks like.

COOPER: Yes. Well, Mike, listen, again, my thoughts, my prayers are with you, your family and the entire community and all those suffering tonight. And I appreciate you talking to us. And we'll talk to you in the days ahead. And I wish you the best.

LONG: I appreciate that. And I ask all your listeners to -- and viewers to please say the prayers for all those people who have been severely hurt and devastated in this havoc of a storm. OK. Thank you very much.

COOPER: Thank you, Mike. Hoboken, New Jersey, sits just cross the Hudson River from Manhattan. And today it woke up to this. The city occupies just one square mile. It's a great community, much of its southern end, though, under water. Fifty thousand residents are looking at major property loss and repairs.

Gary Tuchman joins me now.

Gary, what's the latest from Hoboken?

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, the situation here is very tenuous and very surprising, frankly, to us when we arrived here. It is not a situation where people should panic but there is a lot of concern because 50 percent of this town behind me, there are still, according to the mayor, thousands of people who are trapped inside their houses and apartments.

Now people are being rescued on a priority basis. They are using a front-loader, a dump truck of sorts, to rescue people. I actually went with the mayor on the dump truck, she invited me to go on the dump truck, sit in the shovel with her actually to get an idea of what's going on in the town because she's very concerned that she hasn't gotten state help yet. And while we are going down the streets, and they look like canals, it reminded me, Anderson, of what we experienced in 2005 in New Orleans with Katrina.

Fortunately at this point here in this city, no one has died. There are no confirmed injuries. And that is the good news. But it certainly looked like New Orleans. And what also looked like New Orleans, when you looked in the windows, and what we saw in the windows were children, mothers and fathers, waving at us, in most cases, smiling. People on balconies waving at us. And why were they smiling? What they've seen is the water receding.

And that's the good news. It's gone down from yesterday. The reason they can't get out of their homes is because the water not only is four or five feet deep, but there are also believed to be live power lines in the water. So it could be fatal to walk outside your house.

So the spirits seemed good but it was sure strange to see people in their window, stuck in their homes with no power whatsoever, no heat and in some cases not a lot of food and not a lot of water.

We also saw people who seemed a little disoriented and confused and were trying to get out of their homes. And in one case we saw two people trying to drive their car through four or five feet of water. The cars got stuck and a man was trying to push his vehicle through the water. At that point, the police officer who was on the dump truck with us got out of his vehicle and then prepared to rescue the two people.

He actually picked up the woman on his shoulders and she was heavy because she was also wet and so was he and there was also a current in the water so it was very hard to lift her up, but he lifted her up and then the mayor and I helped him put the woman on the dump truck.

He also then rescued two more men who were in the other car and we got them on the dump truck also. So those people were safe. But either way, we talked -- we talked to the mayor of the city and she's very concerned right now that she's not getting help from the state of New Jersey that she needs. Let's listen.


MAYOR DAWN ZIMMER, HOBOKEN, NEW JERSEY: We have 50,000 people in Hoboken and probably half of Hoboken is flooded, so there's anywhere from 15,000 to 25,000 people that are --

TUCHMAN: Still in their homes.

ZIMMER: That are still in their homes.

TUCHMAN: And they can't get out.

ZIMMER: And they can't get out. I'm asking for the National Guard to come in. We are desperate for the National Guard to come in. We need their specialized equipment to be able to get to our city streets, to be able to safely get to people and to be able to evacuate those that absolutely need to be evacuated.


TUCHMAN: That's -- will be asked for the National Guard.

ZIMMER: I have been asking. There's a chain of command with the state, and we've been going through the OEM process and --

TUCHMAN: And what are you hearing? What are you saying to you?

ZIMMER: They're coming, they're coming, they're coming, but they're not here. And I just had a grandmother that I had to tell I'm so sorry but we can't get in to get your grandchildren. They are 7- month-old twins running out of food. She last spoke to her grandchildren or her daughter this morning and she said I think I have enough food to get through the night. This is 7-month-old twins. I can't get to. I cannot help them.


COOPER: I mean, it's heartbreaking to hear the mayor talking about that. I talked to her last night and she was saying, look, the water is coming in. If you are on the ground level building, if you were on the ground level, you need to get to higher ground. You need to get into the apartment on the second or third floor.

Was this a mandatory evacuation area and people, just because they hadn't experienced it before, didn't actually evacuate?

TUCHMAN: They've had flooding here before so people were recommended to evacuate, but people have lived through the flooding before. Most of them decided to stay because they've experienced it. They didn't realize it would be this bad. But most people did have enough food and water to last a couple of days. That's the good news.

But I must add something, we just got the news, Anderson, just a couple of minutes ago, while we were running that interview with the mayor, that the state of New Jersey has announced that the National Guard is on its way to Hoboken now.

COOPER: Now that's a huge relief, I'm sure, for that mayor.

We'll continue to check in with you throughout the night on that developing story. We're live of course in the 10:00 hour tonight.

There's just so many places we want to bring you reports from. So we're going to be live again at 10:00. You can follow me on twitter, @andersoncooper. I'll try to be tweeting tonight, though I got to tell you this is -- this is an area where my cell phone is just frankly not working. My house is without power, this entire area has no power, no cell service, no e-mail, no nothing.

Next, the mayor of a town where people normally go to escape. Tonight, sadly the people of Seaside Heights, New Jersey, well, they need all the help they can get. We're going to tell you what is happening to them. And later, we're live on the snowy side of Sandy, if you can believe it. We'll be right back.


COOPER: Welcome back to our continuing coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. You are looking at pictures from the National Guard. The coastline of Seaside Heights, houses buried in the sand. Sand washed into homes at least 100 yards from the normal high tide line. The Jersey shore suffered what New Jersey Governor Chris Christie describes as unthinkable devastation. And we saw that, we were there last night in Asbury Park. The task going forward is daunting, to say the least.

Seaside Heights Mayor Bill Akers joins me now on the phone.

What are you contending with tonight? What is your number one priority right now?

MAYOR BILL AKERS, SEASIDE HEIGHTS, NEW JERSEY: Right now we're just trying to get through the evening. We were trying to secure some diesel fuel to keep the police station running and the borough hall which is the only building that has the power through the generator -- through the generator right now. We're trying to get over 100 gallons of fuel from the OEM right now. That's what we're doing at this time.

COOPER: Do you -- I mean the pictures are just horrific to look at. Do you have any sense of the scope of the destruction?

AKERS: I'm glad that you have a picture because if you don't see it, you just can't fully understand it. And as you're going through it, I'm not ashamed to say I'm overwhelmed. I feel so small against what we have to do going forward here. I'm going to need a lot of help from the federal government, the state government, the local government, the individuals in our community, professionals that certainly know a lot more than myself. Because we're going to be going basically from the ground up. Seaside Heights as it was known before will never be known that way again.

COOPER: I understand there were rescue efforts under way as of earlier today. Can you give us the latest on that?

AKERS: Yes. Most of the rescues we've gotten out just about everybody that we can at this point in time. We feel like that we've gotten everybody that's wanted to go out. Some people waited until a very, very late date and we got some very special people over here that have done a wonderful job, volunteers that want to do nothing more than just help, put their own life on the line to just help these people, and we're very grateful to have individuals like that. So our rescue is just about, I'd say, about 98 percent complete.

COOPER: Mayor Akers, I -- my thoughts and prayers as are the thoughts and prayers of so many are with you and your community right now. And I wish you the best. And we'll talk to you in the days ahead. Thank you. I hope you get the help you need quickly.

AKERS: Thank you, sir.

COOPER: Sandy hit West Virginia hard all day, bringing snow, not rain, snow, blizzard conditions across parts of the state. Heavy wet snow is weighing down trees, knocking out power lines. Utility companies say more than 340,000 customers are without power. At least a dozen counties were under blizzard warnings today. If it's not one thing it's another. One death is being reported there.

Martin Savidge now joins us from West Virginia.

Martin, what is it like?

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, you know, this weather we've been in, it's been like this actually now for 16, 17, 18 hours, just continuously snowing. But one thing that's changed is the depth of the snow. Now we're up to what looks to be at least a foot and a half, maybe two feet in certain areas. Drifts certainly much deeper than that. Wind continues to blow.

There's blizzard warnings that were supposed to expire in this area at 6:00. Now they've been extended for another 24 hours. That means these conditions are only going to deteriorate because the temperature is dropping tonight. Some good news to report, they are slowly getting a few areas with the power back on but the problem is it's probably also going to be a defeated thing because then you're going to have more snow, more power lines coming down, tree limbs coming down. So it's really a mixed bag of news here.

The National Guard has been called out. They are going in some cases door to door to check on the welfare of people. It's going to be a very, very cold night, and it's still blowing and it's still snowing -- Anderson.

COOPER: And I understand, the images are just incredible. And such a juxtaposition what we've been seeing here. I understand there's still possibly worse yet to come?

SAVIDGE: Yes, it could be. I mean they're talking some areas two, three feet. At this point it's going to be anybody's guess. And there could be some pockets get heavier, more snow. Higher you go in elevation, definitely the more snow you're going to get. Some areas, smaller communities could be cut off by snow. Just remains to be seen.

But you're right, such a juxtaposition. People saw the storm surge, they saw the rain, they saw the wind. Here is a different side of Sandy and it's a completely different look, but different type of danger, different type of problems, they still have in West Virginia and in Maryland.

COOPER: And that's what has made this storm such a superstorm, just a confluence of horrible events.

Marty, try to get warm. We'll continue to check in with you.

Want to go to Chad Myers with a look at what the storm is doing now.

And Chad, I mean, I'm just struck by how this was just this combination of blizzard conditions in some areas, major waves, I mean, such an odd combination. Have you ever seen anything like it?

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, it's likeable to the perfect storm of 1991. You can kind of put it together. But with 1991, it never made landfall so no, we've never had a condition like this in recent memory, maybe something 400 years ago but not recent memory, where we had cold air here, perfect low system here, and then it just gets gobbled up and just all of a sudden these two systems come straight together and you have the cold enough air to make snow but yet you have all of this humidity. It's going to come around the top of the storm and just dump itself in Pennsylvania, even here to -- that's Garrett County, Maryland, and all the way back down into West Virginia. And our Marty Savidge right there in the middle of it. And you know, there's already 30 inches of snow or at least very close to that in some spots, and this snow isn't going to stop for 24 to 36 hours. So there is still a lot more to talk about with this.

One more thing I want to talk about, too, is the severe weather event with some wind and maybe even wind damage here not that far from Boston as a storm came off the ocean. Still really part of the outer bands of what would still be Sandy, but there it is right there. A big red zone right over Boston. If you see lightning flashes, yes, that's what it is. One storm coming off the ocean, one over Barnstable and then now it's up into Boston. But there it is.

Wind spinning all the way back to Milwaukee, to Detroit and all the way down for some rain showers into Lexington.

We still have big waves coming off of Lake Erie and Lake Michigan.


MYERS: And this is going to continue for quite some time. The winds are just howling down Lake Michigan, and howling down Lake Erie. And here are some of the pictures. And there are advisories to stay away from this. They can suck you into the lake. This water is very, very cold. But I have seen -- this is some big pictures of some big waves coming down Lake Michigan, also coming down and across Lake Erie and smashing into the south shore and also into Cleveland. Big stuff there.

Winds yesterday, Cleveland, calming down now but 67 miles per hour over 600 miles from the center at the time -- Anderson.

COOPER: Incredible. Chad, we're going to check in with you again live at 10:00. Want to get another update from you then.

Tonight, we have new details also about the crisis last night at NYU Langone Medical Center. That's -- we're on the west side of -- of the island of Manhattan. That's all the way on the east side in the 30s. Critically sick infants, hundreds of other patients had to be evacuated after the hospital lost power and the backup systems failed. Where they were brought, how they're doing. We'll tell you.

And the amazing story of how so many people survived being brought down nine flights of stairs in total darkness. Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins me for that ahead.


COOPER: Thousands of people in New Jersey had to flee safety today as flooding overwhelmed their towns. Rescue teams trying to go house to house helping those who could not leave on their own.

It has also been a harrowing 24 hours for hundreds of sick patients who had to be evacuated from the NYU Medical Center during superstorm Sandy. The hospital which is just a block from the east river, which is basically across town in that direction and a little bit uptown in the 30s, they had a backup generator.

The backup generator failed. Patients had to be, get this, carried down multiple flights of stairs with flashlights giving the only illumination. Can you imagine trying to do that? For some of the tiniest patients, the infants on ventilators, nurses had to manually pump air into the little babies' chests.

Patients were taken to five different hospitals, including Mt. Sinai. The most critically ill obviously were moved first, a dramatic terrifying night for the patients and their caregivers. Tonight, there are questions about why the backup systems failed and the sickest patients weren't evacuated before the storm hit.

Our chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta was given exclusive access to the NICU at the Mount Sinai Hospital where some of the babies were taken. He joins me now.

Sanjay, when I heard this, it reminded me so much of some of the things you saw with your own eyes during Katrina in New Orleans, but it's amazing that everybody survived.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: It really is. I mean, look, Anderson, transporting these patients under any circumstances is difficult, even within the hospital. So just imagine doing that in the middle of a hurricane.

There were lots of babies that need to be transported, some of them very premature. There was this one baby, Anderson, her name is Emma, just 13 days old weighing just two pounds. She was one of those babies that had to be transferred as well.

They are very, very fragile at that particular age and again, transport under any circumstances is challenging. I talked to the CEO of this hospital, Mount Sinai, which is right over here, Dr. Kenneth Davis, and asked him what was going through his mind? What was he thinking about when this happened? Take a listen.


DR. KENNETH DAVIS, CEO, THE MOUNT SINAI MEDICAL CENTER: It's frightening. It's about as challenging as you can get. When you're dealing with tiny little babies like this who are so fragile, it really can be an extraordinary circumstance. Remember, the common event here is these kids have arrest, cardiac and respiratory arrest. They are being resuscitated all the time.


COOPER: Sanjay, you went up with the doctor to actually see the babies?

GUPTA: I did. You know, they gave us some extraordinary access here. Again, challenging circumstances, Anderson. Many people haven't slept in a few days and the families alike, but they wanted, these families wanted us to see how they were doing. They're all doing well. They gave us exclusive access into the Neonatal ICU. And there is something else, Dr. Davis, who was the one that OK'd this entire transfer, orchestrated a lot of this in the middle of the storm.

Rarely does he get a chance to actually meet some of these patients, talk to some of these families and understand the lives that he's impacted. So I don't know if you can see this, Anderson, but he is doing that for the first time. That's what's going on in this hospital here behind me -- Anderson.

COOPER: That's great. I mean, not only incredible doctors, but I mean, nurses and orderlies and all those who work in the hospital really pitching in on this, just incredible, Sanjay.

Alice Rosenbaum came into the world as New York was bracing for superstorm Sandy. Imagine this, she was born Sunday at NYU Hospital, four weeks early, but healthy. Less than 48 hours later, she and her parents, Kim and Charles Rosenbaum, were waiting by the light of glow sticks to be evacuated.

Alice will not remember the dramatic night, certainly, but her parents certainly will never forget it. Charles Rosenbaum joins me now. Charles, first of all, congratulations on the birth of your beautiful first child, Alice is adorable.

I want to welcome Alice as well. I know she came into the world four weeks early, should have been at the hospital until today for monitoring. How is she doing now? How's your wife doing? How's everybody doing?

CHARLES ROSENBAUM, INFANT DAUGHTER EVACUATED FROM NYU HOSPITAL: Thank you, Anderson. She's doing great. We feel very fortunate that we were able to get through this and she's pretty happy, healthy. She is actually opening her eyes for you. She's been pretty sleepy.

She is 36 weeks old so we were definitely concerned that her health was going to be OK through this, and the people at NYU were great. So we're very happy the way this turned out.

COOPER: I've seen the pictures of you and Alice with glow sticks. Walk us through what it was like when the power went out, when you knew it was gone for good.

ROSENBAUM: Well, it was definitely an interesting time there. We got there on Saturday night at 3:00 in the morning. We didn't deliver her, my wife delivered her Sunday at 9:00 a.m. and then we thought everything was kind of business as usual.

We assumed that power was going to be going in the hospital. We figured that NYU and New York City, it was probably one of the safest places to be, but as time went on, turned out that we were out of our room and on the 13th floor when the power went out, the generators went on.

I think that was about 7:00 p.m. then shortly after that, I think one of the generators failed and the power on our side of the floor went out. We had the glow sticks that got passed around by the nurses who seemed pretty calm and confident so we weren't too worried at that time.

There was still, the electric was still going on the other side of the floor, 13th floor, and so I actually went over there to plug my phone in to get a charge and I heard the nurses talking about how in 15 minutes, that all the electricity was going to be going down.

So obviously a good father, I scooted right back to my room and told my wife, Kim, and we started talking about well, what was going to be the next step.

COOPER: You know, it's not often that anything good comes out of a storm. I got to say, your daughter is the most beautiful thing I have seen that has come out of this storm and I'm just so happy that everybody is well and safe and healthy. Charles, I wish you and baby Alice and your entire family the best.

ROSENBAUM: Thank you very much. Thank you.

COOPER: Incredible story. What a beautiful baby.

New York's subway system is completely shut down tonight. It's been shut down all day. The worst news is there's no clear prediction for when it will be up and running again.

Stations are flooded. It is unprecedented damage for the system that all of us in New York rely on every single day. I'm going to speak with the MTA spokesman coming up next.


COOPER: That what's it looked, sounded like when Sandy hit. One of our CNN I-Reporters captured this video from outside his apartment in Jersey City just across the Hudson River from the island of Manhattan, where I am right now.

New Yorkers are going to be dealing with the effects of this storm for days, if not weeks and months to come in a lot of different ways, some of them disastrous, some of them simply inconvenient.

A quarter of a million customers do not have electricity on Manhattan, on this island right now. Mayor Michael Bloomberg said today that power may be out for the next two or three days, maybe even four days or longer.

Schools are closed again tomorrow, no school for 1.1 million students in 1,700 city schools. Many of the bridges and tunnels have reopened, but the entire subway system is still shut down. That is a huge deal for folks here.

All of us take subways pretty much every day. Amazing video from the MTA, which runs the subway system here in New York City. Subway stations in Lower Manhattan completely flooded. It's unprecedented disaster for the 108-year-old subway system, according to the chairman of the MTA.

A huge deal obviously for them and to the millions and millions of us who rely on subways to get around every single day in this city. Joining me now on the phone is MTA Spokesman Kevin Ortiz. Kevin, what is the process for trying to get these subways online?

KEVIN ORTIZ, SPOKESMAN, MTA (via telephone): Well, in essence, we are in the process of pumping water out of these under river tubes. It's a slow process involving complicated equipment, portable pumps, pump transit at these locations.

You know, in essence we have millions and millions of gallons of water in system, just some anecdotes. We saw the south ferry station with water from track to ceiling. So this is going to be a complicated, long process.

COOPER: Are there any estimates of how severe the damage might be to the actual mechanical infrastructure or at this point, do you have no idea because it's under water?

ORTIZ: No, that's exactly right. First and foremost, we have to really pump al the water out of the system before we can even get in there and assess the damage.

So in essence we're looking at hours to days before we can pump all the water out of these tubes and then we need to get in and really inspect every inch of the system, assess the damage, then actually make repairs to whatever damage we find down there.

COOPER: You are going to be bringing, when you do bring back the subways online, you will be bringing them back piecemeal, right? Not like you wait for the whole system to come back on, you go line by line, correct?

ORTIZ: That's exactly right. I wouldn't even refer to it as line by line more so as segment by segment. You know, there are plans in place where we considered bringing back segments of lines, in essence running service from say uptown to parts of Midtown Manhattan where we still have power.

But in essence, this is something that's apparently being worked on. We're kind of formulating the plan moving forward. Again, this is going to be a really long process in terms of recovery, pumping water out of the tracks, clearing the tracks and moving forward.

But that being said, we are seeing some resumption of service. We have resumed partial service on our buses and hopefully by tomorrow, we should see full bus service, full schedule of buses tomorrow morning.

COOPER: So full schedule of bus service tomorrow morning. That's a huge deal. Kevin Ortiz, I appreciate it. I know you got a lot of folks working around the clock on this and everybody here appreciates that.

Residents on Long Island are still dealing obviously with the damage from the flooded streets. You're looking at pictures from the Lindenhurst area on the south shore.

New York Congressman Peter King represents a district on Long Island. He joins me now on the phone. Congressman, first of all, I'm so sorry for everything that all the folks in your area are going through.

Can you give us a sense of what you have seen today, how it compares to other storms that you've seen in the area?

REPRESENTATIVE PETER KING (R), NEW YORK: There is nothing like this has ever hit Long Island before, certainly not in the last 70 years. I was at Lindenhurst today, Long Beach, Freeport, they have been absolutely devastated. That's the only way I can describe it.

Long Beach has no sewage treatment, has no electricity, and has no water. They had to evacuate the hospitals. It's just basically, there is absolutely nothing functioning in Long Beach right now and there's an evacuation going on.

You mentioned Lindenhurst, that is south of Merrick Road and it's been hit like nothing has hit Lindenhurst before. Same in Massapequa, they had seven houses burn to the ground last night. The fire department couldn't get there, there was so much flooding.

You hear stories of people being cut out of their attics. That's how high they had gone to avoid the water. Another family, thank God, they had gone into their backyard to look at the fire across the canal from them.

When they went out of their house, their home actually blew up. It was a gas explosion. This is horrific but right now, I'm at the Nassau County Emergency Preparedness Management Center, the command center, and there's tremendous coordination.

Same thing going on in Suffolk County, the state is doing an excellent job. All counties, I'm being bipartisan, Republican, Democrat, are working both with the state and with each other. All of the towns, the police departments, fire departments.

This is going to be a long haul. There are a million customers out of power on Long Island. Over 90 percent of the customers are out. There's never been anything like this before.

COOPER: Yes. My house in Suffolk is under two feet of water. I know how a lot of folks there feel. Listen, Congressman King, I know you're incredibly busy. I appreciate you talking to us tonight.

No doubt we will be in touch with you a lot over the next couple days and weeks as we continue to cover this situation. Congressman King, thank you.

Coming up next, that broken crane dangling over midtown, that's about two miles from where I'm standing right now. These are live pictures.

Questions tonight, how did it happen, can it be fixed, how is it going to be fixed, or do they have to bring the whole thing down? We're going to get some expert advice as our storm coverage continues.


COOPER: You're looking at video from yesterday, New York video that captured the moment when the arm of the construction crane attached to a high-rise building toppled over, started dangling above Midtown Manhattan. That crane is still dangling, the boom is.

Police cordoned off the area around the base of the building for several blocks. Thomas Barth has investigated dozens of high profile crane accidents. He joins us now by phone.

Mr. Barth, Mayor Bloomberg said this afternoon that experts believe the crane is stable, that tomorrow workers will be able to pull the boom back toward the building, tie it down and from there, they'll dismantle, basically dismantle it. Does that sound to you like the right plan?

THOMAS BARTH, CRANE EXPERT (via telephone): Well, to me it's not the right plan. I don't know how they intend to take that boom and tie it off against the building. The boom fell over backwards, it did damage to the tower so they want to probably swing the crane around, tie it. That's a dangerous move.

COOPER: So what do you believe should be done?

BARTH: I believe that the crane should stay in the position it is, then get a rope or chain or something like that and put a strain on the boom to the tower itself. It doesn't take much, but it will keep it from swinging back and forth like we have seen in the past.

That would be the safest. I don't know who has been up there or if there have been any structural engineers or any forensic experts to see how the metal has been deteriorated, weakened or the boom fell over backwards, there could have been --

COOPER: You believe a second crane -- sorry. You believe a second crane may be needed to be erected atop the tower to dismantle the first one, is that right?

BARTH: That's my belief. Because the crane, the way it is now, you can't jack it up and you can't jack it down. There's nothing -- I don't know how they could get anything up there.

They can't bring a mobile crane in because there's no such crane with 1,000 foot of boom. Definitely they would have to bring another tower crane in and install it and jack it up to 1,000 feet or more, take the other one down. That would be the safest way to do it.

COOPER: Wow. Well, it's going to be a mess, sounds like, for quite some time to come. They said this area's about seven blocks or so have been cordoned off.

I was riding my bike around today just to see it and it's quite a sight. Everyone stops, lot of people taking pictures and just kind of waiting to see what happens. Thomas Barth, we will check in with you. We'll be right back. Our coverage continues.


COOPER: Welcome back to our continuing coverage. We have all been on the streets for more than 24 hours now covering this storm and its aftermath. We will continue to do that in the days and weeks ahead.

We will be back at 10:00 Eastern time tonight, another live edition of AC 360, trying to bring you the latest information because there are so many different parts of this storm, so many different places to try to bring you to, again, 10:00 p.m. Eastern. Thanks for watching. "PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT" starts right now.