From ripped up light poles to the shredded boardwalk, crews have begun the daunting task of removing debris in the Rockaways.
Residents who stayed behind have no heat, no water and supplies are running out.
MTA buses are on standby in case they want to evacuate to shelters off the peninsula.
"It was almost surreal, I saw nothing like it before in my life. I was here for Irene last year, and just totally different. The ocean surge and the bay coming it was from both sides, the two met. It was just amazing, something I had never seen before," said one Rockaway resident.
Some people say they haven't been able to get in contact with loved ones since before the storm.
One local fire department has set up a generator to help residents charge their cell phones.