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“Everybody’s tired of it already,” added Rosemarie Zurlo, a makeup artist who once worked on Woody Allen movies. She said she planned to temporarily abandon her powerless, unheated apartment in the West Village to stay with her sister in Brooklyn. “I’m leaving because I’m freezing. My apartment is ice cold.”

There was increasing concern about the outage’s impact on elderly residents. Community groups have been going door-to-door on the upper floors of darkened Manhattan apartment buildings, and city workers and volunteer in hard-hit Newark, N.J., delivered meals to seniors and others stuck in their buildings.

“It’s been mostly older folks who aren’t able to get out,” said Monique George of Manhattan-based Community Voices Heard. “In some cases, they hadn’t talked to folks in a few days. They haven’t even seen anybody because the neighbors evacuated. They’re actually happy that folks are checking, happy to see another person. To not see someone for a few days, in this city, it’s kind of weird.”

Along the devastated Jersey Shore and New York’s beachfront communities, a lack of electricity was the least of anyone’s worries.

Residents were allowed back in their neighborhoods Thursday for the first time since Sandy made landfall Monday night. Some were relieved to find only minor damage, but many others were wiped out. “A lot of tears are being shed today,” said Dennis Cucci, whose home near the ocean in Point Pleasant Beach sustained heavy damage. “It’s absolutely mind-boggling.”

After touring a flood-ravaged area of northeastern New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie said it was time to act, not mourn.

“We’re in the ‘triage and attack phase’ of the storm, so we can restore power, reopen schools, get public transportation back online and allow people to return to their homes if they’ve been displaced,” he said.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood planned to visit Christie’s state Friday.

Gov. Chris Christie on Thursday announced the federal government will be providing rail cars to help NJ Transit get train service up and running. The governor said 25 percent of the system’s rail cars were in yards that flooded.

LaHood’s schedule has not yet been released

In Staten Island, police recounted Glenda Moore’s fruitless struggle to save her children.

Kelly said the 39-year-old mother “was totally, completely distraught” after she lost her grip on her sons shortly after 6 p.m. Monday. In a panic, she climbed fences and went door-to-door looking in vain for help in a neighborhood that was presumably largely abandoned in the face of the storm.

She eventually gave up, spending the night trying to shield herself from the storm on the front porch of an empty home.

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Associated Press writers Cara Anna and Karen Matthews in New York, David Porter in Moonachie, N.J., and Wayne Parry in Point Pleasant Beach, N.J., contributed to this story.