"We are going to need some patience and tolerance," New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday.
The airports and subways weren't the only transportation systems returning to the region. Suburban trains started running for the first time on Wednesday, and Amtrak's Northeast Corridor was to take commuters from city to city for on Friday for the first time since the storm.
From West Virginia to the Jersey Shore, the storm's damage was still being felt, and seen.
In New Jersey, signs of the good life that had defined wealthy shorefront enclaves like Bayhead and Mantoloking lay scattered and broken: $3,000 barbecue grills buried beneath the sand and hot tubs cracked and filled with seawater. Nearly all the homes were seriously damaged, and many had entirely disappeared.
"This," said Harry Typaldos, who owns the Grenville Inn in Mantoloking, "I just can't comprehend."
Most of the state's mass transit systems remained shut down, leaving hundreds of thousands of commuters braving clogged highways and quarter-mile lines at gas stations. Atlantic City's casinos remained closed. Christie postponed Halloween until Monday, saying trick-or-treating wasn't safe in towns with flooded and darkened streets, fallen trees and downed power lines.
Farther north in Hoboken, just across the Hudson River from Manhattan, nearly 20,000 residents remained stranded in their homes, amid accusations that officials have been slow to deliver food and water. One man blew up an air mattress and floated to City Hall, demanding to know why supplies hadn't gotten out. At least one-fourth of the city's residents are flooded and 90 percent are without power.
The outages forced many gas stations across the state to close, resulting in long lines of people looking to fuel cars and backup generators. Darryl Jameson of Toms River waited more than hour to get fuel.
"The messed up part is these people who are blocking the roadway as they try to cut in line," he said. "No one likes waiting, man, but it's something you have to do."
On New York's Long Island, bulldozers scooped sand off streets and tow trucks hauled away destroyed cars, while residents tried to find a way to their homes to restart their lives. Joanne and Richard Kalb used a rowboat to reach their home in Mastic Beach, filled with 3 feet of water.
Her husband, exasperated by the futility of their effort, posted a sign on a telephone pole, asking drivers to slow down: "Slow please no wake."
Snow drifts as high as 5 feet piled up in West Virginia, where the former Hurricane Sandy merged with two winter weather systems as it went inland. Heavy snow collapsed parts of an apartment complex, a grocery store, a hardwood plant and three homes. The sixth person killed in the state was a candidate for the state House of Delegates, John Rose Sr., who was struck by a falling tree limb. His name will remain on the ballot on Election Day.
A few more inches might fall in West Virginia, but meteorologists said Sandy's days are numbered. The National Weather Service said Wednesday that the last remnants of the storm are in the Appalachian Mountains, and will be gone by the end of the week.
Contributing to this report were Verena Dobnik, Eileen AJ Connelly, Leanne Italie, Karen Matthews and Lou Ferrara in New York; Samantha Henry in Hoboken, N.J.; Wayne Parry in Mantoloking, N.J., Katie Zezima in Seaside Heights, N.J.; Frank Eltman in Mastic Beach, N.Y., Larry Neumeister in Long Beach, N.Y., and Vicki Smith in Elkins, W.Va.