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Regions hit by Sandy struggle to resume daily life

NEW YORK -- People in the heavily populated U.S. East Coast corridor battered by Superstorm Sandy took the first cautious steps to reclaim their upended daily routines, even as rescuers combed neighborhoods strewn with debris and scarred by floods and fire.

But while New York City buses returned to darkened streets eerily free of traffic and the New York Stock Exchange was set to reopen its storied trading floor Wednesday, it became clear that restoring the region to its ordinarily frenetic pace could take days — and that rebuilding the hardest-hit communities and the transportation networks that link them together could take considerably longer.

“We will get through the days ahead by doing what we always do in tough times — by standing together, shoulder to shoulder, ready to help a neighbor, comfort a stranger and get the city we love back on its feet,” New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.

The scale of the challenge was clear across the Hudson River in New Jersey, where National Guard troops arrived in the heavily flooded city of Hoboken to help evacuate thousands still stuck in their homes.

As New York began its second day after the megastorm, morning rush-hour traffic was heavy as people started returning to work. There was even a sign of normalcy: commuters waiting at bus stops.

President Barack Obama was planning to visit New Jersey on Wednesday to see the area near Atlantic City where the violent storm made landfall two days before. With the presidential election just six days away, Obama was canceling campaign events for the third straight day to focus on coordinating the response to the superstorm. His Republican rival Mitt Romney planned to resume full-scale campaigning in Florida on Wednesday.

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The New York Stock Exchange, right, is lit before it reopens for trading following Superstorm Sandy, Wednesday, Oct. 31. Much of lower Manhattan and the financial district are still without electrical power. (AP)

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