MANHATTAN VALLEY — As much of New York City deals with the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, Upper West Siders were relatively unscathed by the epic storm — and streets bustled with activity early Tuesday.
“We were very lucky,” said Leslie Hughes, 30, as she stopped into Mario’s Gourmet Deli on 105th Street and Amsterdam Avenue for coffee early Tuesday morning. “Power stayed on, we had everything we needed.”
Fallen trees and debris lined some streets, but the Upper West Side didn’t suffer the massive power outages and floods that have battered other neighborhoods.
A number of groceries — like Gristedes on 103rd Street and Broadway — and delis stayed open relatively late into the night and were open bright and early for the many locals who headed out into the neighborhood to see the aftermath of Sandy for themselves.
Mario’s Gourmet on Amsterdam managed to stay open for 24 hours, as it usually does.
“It wasn’t that bad, the storm was actually beautiful,” said Zakaria Mana, 24, who worked the overnight shift at Mario’s. “Maybe 4 people came in through the night.”
And Mana didn't have to worry about getting home, since he lives a block away from the store.
Many Upper West Siders took to the streets early Tuesday and were happy to see the damage was relatively light — despite some unlucky residents who woke to find car windows smashed by uprooted trees.
“We heard wind howling, and I watched trees bend outside my window, but it everything was fine,” said Jill Sakowitz, 47, as she walked out of her apartment on 105th street near Broadway to find a car with a back window crushed from a fallen tree. “We only had one little flashlight, so I’m glad things turned out okay — but I feel bad for people who are dealing with so much damage."
Many locals also headed into beloved Riverside Park Tuesday, despite warnings from Mayor Bloomberg to stay away from city parks, which are officially closed.
The park, which also appeared to fare well through the storm, was busy with Upper West Side families, locals walking dogs and couples taking leisurely strolls through the muddy paths — along with runners and bikers who wouldn’t let Sandy keep them from their exercise routines.
But NYPD officers riding through RIverside in their patrol cars, weren't too keen on letting the crowds meander through the park.
"Get out, get out now," the cops blared through loudspeakers. "The park is closed."
But as people began to stroll out, and police drove off, more Upper West Siders just kept wandering in.