Gov. Andrew Cuomo was joined by Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand for an aerial view of the region's damage, and the governor is calling on President Barack Obama to reimburse new York for all costs incurred during the storm. NY1's Zack Fink filed the following report.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo arrived at the downtown helipad Wednesday accompanied by New York's two U.S. Senators, Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand.
Cuomo, Schumer and Gillibrand boarded a blackhawk helicopter to get a firsthand look at the damage, not only in Lower Manhattan but some of the hardest hit areas of Queens, including Broad Channel and Breezy Point.
"Our function now is to come up with a coordinated plan for the region," Cuomo said.
The governor said the total cost to government from Sandy could top $6 billion. He is asking for 100 percent reimbursement from the federal government. Private property estimates could run much higher.
The damage is so extensive and extends way beyond New York City into Long island and Westchester. Officials say it could be weeks before a full assessment can be done.
Large swaths of Lower Manhattan remain without power, an unprecedented development from a storm in the modern era.
"Last night, I drove through Lower Manhattan. It's eerie to see all the lights out," Schumer said. "No street lights, no traffic lights and no glows from any of the apartment buildings. Everyone's gone. They kind of thing we feared after 9/11, that Lower Manhattan would become a ghost town, is happening for a few days. Fortunately, only a few days here."
Cuomo declined to speculate on whether the ferocity of the storm had any relation to global climate change, but did note that the region needs to be prepared for a new normal when it comes to weather systems.
"Given the frequency of these extreme weather situations that we've had, and I believe it's an increasing frequency, for us to sit here today and say 'it's once in a generation' and 'it's not going to happen again' would be short-sighted," Cuomo said.
Officials say the city and state must begin a longer conversation about the design and location of some of the critical infrastructure that keeps the power on and mass transit running. Underground may no longer be viable.