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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Hurricane Sandy Aftermath
Aired November 1, 2012 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone. It's 10:00 here on the East Coast.
And we have a lot to get to tonight, a lot happening. What we have been seeing all day, and what we will be seeing for a long time to come is not the aftermath to a disaster. Ask anyone just down the street from us in the dark in Lower Manhattan or across the water in Staten Island or down the Jersey Shore. They will tell you Sandy is ongoing. The storm winds are still blowing.
And almost every moment, there is a new reminder of why. We just got this video of a fire crew out on Long Island the night that Sandy hit, surrounded by water, battered by wind and facing a wall of flames.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Guys, What about the downed wires? We don't have to worry about that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Watch the wires over your head.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are stuck up in the tree right now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hold on.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here comes the wind.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The block is pitch black for the most part.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Imagine that, fighting fire in the midst of all that water.
Tonight, the fire is out, the homes destroyed. Power is out to more than 635,000 Long Island customers. For those 635,000 people, it is still a disaster, still a disaster as well for hundreds of thousands in New York's Westchester County, who might not see power for another nine days. In Lower Manhattan, they're looking at what could be billions of dollars in damage.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo took me for a rare look inside the World Trade Center site early today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: Governor, when you saw the water coming out Monday night, what went through your mind?
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: It was one of the most frightening things. I mean, it was truly frightening, to say the least, because, first, it was all dark. All you hear is water in every direction and it really was in every direction.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: He was there Monday night when the water was pouring in. What we saw down there is staggering today as you will see in a moment. There is a lot of work ahead for a lot of people.
Some progress to report as well. No doubt about that. This evening, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie lifted evacuation orders in Cape May and Atlantic counties on the southern tip of the state. That's progress, but as you will see growing danger farther up the coast from broken gas lines. It has been that kind of day. Danger, heartbreak, victories and setbacks everywhere Sandy hit.
COOPER (voice-over): The sound of progress, subways, limited service, rolling once again. The subways wend where the power went out and where the water came in. Aboveground, more buses, but still too many riders.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is amazing to see the faces of people get off the you subways. And they're thinking things are going fine and then they see this. This is just a mess.
COOPER: A mess that many simply choose to walk away from. Tens of thousands walking miles to work over the city's bridges. All around the area, driving meant waiting to gas up, with tanks running empty and patience running low.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the line. I follow the line. And he comes and is jumping.
COOPER: And it is not just gas running low.
MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (I), MAYOR OF NEW YORK: We are over the next few days going to have to work out some procedures to make sure people can get food.
COOPER: As many as a million New Yorkers may need help. FEMA is flying in food, supplies, and personnel.
BLOOMBERG: We're all in this together. We are desperately trying to help everybody. We're trying to prioritize.
COOPER: Across the river in Hoboken, New Jersey, National Guard rescues continue. Up and down the devastated Jersey Shore, natural gas service being cut with utility crews scrambling to plug hundreds of explosive leaks. And on New York City's Staten Island, all the worst that Sandy brought is all coming home.
MICHELLE MCCOMB, RESIDENT OF NEW YORK: Total, total devastation. Never in my life.
I live a mile from the beach. How did that water get to my house?
COOPER: And there has not been as much attention on Staten Island as there should have been. So much heartache out there. Of the 88 people who lost their lives in the storm, 36 were in New York City, 19 were on Staten Island. Two were young boys, brothers who might have survived. That's what their mom says. And if her story bears out, it wouldn't have taken a miracle either, just a neighbor doing the right thing.
Gary Tuchman has their story.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A Ford Explorer on the side of the street in the Staten Island, New York. The car seats remain where two little boys, Brandon and Connor Moore, were sitting as their mother, Glenda, was driving during Hurricane Sandy, desperately looking for shelter.
(on camera): The story of what happened to Glenda and her sons, , Brandon and Connor, is sad, horrifying, terrifying. She was driving her SUV down this street. It plunged into this hole during the height of Hurricane Sandy. She then got out of the vehicle with her 2-year- old son and her 4-year-old son. Remember, it is pouring rain, torrential, the winds 90 miles per hour.
And she comes over here to this tree and holds on to the tree, grabbed the branches, grabs the tree and holds on to it and holds on to her sons at the same time. And she did this, according to police, for hours. That's what she told police. She then said she went up to this house right behind me, knocked on the door. A man was inside and pleaded with him, let us inside your house.
She says, according to police, the man would not let her in the house with her sons. She then went into the back, stood on the balcony, took a flower pot and tried to break a window to break into the house, wasn't able to, and ultimately floodwaters came through and swept her sons away.
(voice-over): Everyone was wishing for a miracle on the search for the children. But there really wasn't any optimism the boys would be found alive. New York City police used a fan boat to look for them in the nearby marsh. Police divers walked through that swampy marsh. Sadly, the bodies of both children were found not far from each other about a quarter mile away from where Glenda last held them. Family members say Glenda is too distraught to talk to us. We wanted to meet the man who lived in the house where police say Glenda sought protection. Nobody answered the door. But while we were standing near the house on public property, an angry man appeared.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get the hell out. Stop filming. It's my house. No cameras here. Stop. Stop. Get out. Get the hell out.
TUCHMAN (on camera): Sir, can I ask a question? Did the woman knock on your door to get...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, sir. No, sir.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Alan (ph) did not want to say his last name, but the house in question is his and he says he was inside during the hurricane.
(on camera): The police say that Glenda came with her two sons, knocked on your door.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, sir.
TUCHMAN: Begged to go in during the hurricane.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, sir, absolutely not.
TUCHMAN: So, you did not see a woman with two children?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, absolutely not.
TUCHMAN: So what she told the police is not accurate?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely -- I never saw anybody. I only saw the man.
TUCHMAN: So, you saying you saw a man come to your door?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. He didn't come to the door. There are stairs in the back of the house. And he came. He was standing -- he must have been standing at the bottom of the stairs.
TUCHMAN: And what did he do?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He took a concrete flower pot. I can show you. There's one in the backyard. I can see -- there were two of them. He threw one of them through the door.
TUCHMAN: OK. What they're saying is that she -- after you didn't let her in that she tried to break a window to get in. So, is it possible you're mistaken?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, because I had to stay there all night. I sat all night with my back against the door in the kitchen.
TUCHMAN: Well, let me ask you. The man, if a man threw a flower pot, did you let the man in the house? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He didn't ask to come in. He asked me to come out and help him.
TUCHMAN: So, did you help him?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I couldn't. What could I do to help him? I'm wearing the same clothes. I had these shorts on. This is my brother's jacket. I had a pair of shorts on with flip-flops. And I was going to come out?
TUCHMAN: But what it comes down to is, are you saying you did not see a woman and two children?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, sir.
TUCHMAN: You saw a man?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A man, yes.
TUCHMAN: You must feel terrible for this woman and her two children, right?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Did they find the children? I don't even know.
TUCHMAN: Yes, they found them. They found them dead today.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Of course it's a tragedy, of course, absolutely. It's unfortunate. She shouldn't have been out, though. It's one of those things. She shouldn't have been on the road.
TUCHMAN: Well, a lot of people are, though, sir.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
TUCHMAN: And they look for help sometimes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's nothing I could do. I'm not a rescue worker. The mayor said -- people said, rescue workers, don't endanger the lives of rescue workers. If I would have been outside, I would have been dead.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Alan says police have talked to him and he told them the same story he told us, an upsetting story about a most tragic night.
COOPER: Gary, clearly, somebody's story is not accurate, either his or the mom's. I mean, is there any more to find out about this? Are police looking into it? Or is it -- I guess, is that the end of it?
TUCHMAN: Well, it brings up an interesting point. There is a lot of outrage. The police officers, they don't go on camera here in New York City. But off-camera, they told us they're very upset. They're very emotional about finding these children's bodies. And one police source told me very angrily, this man should be charged criminally.
Now, aside from the fact that he denies they came to his house, we wanted to consult our legal experts to find out if this could be a crime. And, indeed, it apparently is not a crime not to help. Whether it is ethical or moral is another question, but it doesn't appear to be a crime. It doesn't appear anything else will happen in this situation with this man.
COOPER: Yes. Well, you certainly want to think that everybody reaches out to help strangers in their time of need. And if that did not happen in this case, it is -- it just compounds the tragedy.
Gary, I appreciate the -- I appreciate your handling of this really difficult story.
New Yorkers already know that Staten Islanders are proud and tough. Tonight, though, people there want the city, state and country to know they need help and say they're not getting it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONNA SOLI, STATEN ISLAND RESIDENT: We're going to die. If we get killed with the weather, we're going to die. We're going to freeze. We got 90-year-old people.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will have the food this afternoon, right on...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We can't get there.
SOLI: We have no cars. Don't you see? We need the -- please, President Obama, please listen to us down here. We are going to die. You don't understand. You have got to get your trucks here on this corner now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are trying
SOLI: This is three days.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: With us now is Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro.
The situation on Staten Island is grave, and it really hasn't gotten the attention from certainly the media, but also from authorities over the last three days.
Are you finally starting to see some aid?
JAMES MOLINARO, STATEN ISLAND BOROUGH PRESIDENT: Well, we're seeing some improvement from the events that took place this morning.
COOPER: Explain what happened this morning, because you basically, you know, said some tough words about the Red Cross, saying, saying, look, people shouldn't even donate because they're not there to help. And does that seem to have gotten at least the wheels moving a little?
MOLINARO: Well, frustration turned into anger. There wasn't much help for the people of Staten Island. And I didn't see the Red Cross nowhere, nowhere at all to be found. And the event that you see this morning with this young lady, I saw throughout Staten Island for the past two-and-a-half, three days. There was no one there to answer these questions.
COOPER: Why is that? Just the bridges were out? How do you explain it?
MOLINARO: I'm not going to justify why or why not, because they weren't committed by me.
But after today's outburst that we had this morning, there has been a lot of results. I had 10 buses come over from the Red Cross. They're feeding the people, giving them soup. And Speaker Quinn has been absolutely excellent, sending over food and water. And Senator Schumer came down to have a press conference where we disclosed to him that there was a lack of help coming down to people that I saw come into the shelter the day after the storm with no clothes on almost, no shoes on, no socks.
COOPER: And there was nothing for them there?
MOLINARO: No. No. We were stocked. The city shelters were well stocked.
But we ran out. And I gave them orders to go out and buy it. Just pay for it and buy it and I will vouch for it. But there were no answers for these people. Some of these people that came into shelters, their homes had been destroyed the night before. They had no place to go. Where do they go when they leave the shelter? I need answers. These people need answers.
COOPER: Yes. It is frustrating that it takes you yelling to start to get some answers.
MOLINARO: Right. You're not supposed to govern by yelling. But frustration went into anger. But it seems to have gotten some results.
COOPER: What do you need most right now in Staten Island? What are your biggest needs?
MOLINARO: Well, I need FEMA to be there.
I got a call from FEMA headquarters that we will have a squad there tomorrow attached to me.
COOPER: So they say they will be there tomorrow?
MOLINARO: Absolutely, he said. And it will be attached to your office.
MOLINARO: And then we will go throughout Staten Island. People need someone to speak to. How do I get help? From whom do I get help? How do my children go to school? They have no clothes, they have no home.
These are questions that should be answered by government. That's the function of government is to do for people what people can't do for themselves. And obviously there are no answers to that.
COOPER: Well, listen, we want to touch base with you tomorrow, and if that team doesn't show up, will you let us know?
MOLINARO: Yes, absolutely.
COOPER: All right.
MOLINARO: And I want to thank you for giving us the publicity that we need. Thank you very, very much. God bless you. God bless you.
COOPER: I appreciate it. Thank you very much, Mr. Molinaro. Thank you very much.
Let us know what you think. Follow us on Twitter right now @AndersonCooper. I'm actually in an area where Twitter actually works. I will be tweeting tonight. Downtown, where I live and downtown in Lower Manhattan, where a lot of people live, there's still no Internet service, no phones, no electricity.
Just ahead, inside the New York subway, the parts that got submerged. Jason Carroll actually takes us underground, really our first look at the water's edge.
And some breaking news, progress report on one of the big car tunnels coming into the city. We will be right back.
COOPER: Hey. Welcome back.
Some breaking news to report, late word that the Holland Tunnel, one of the major arteries into and out of Manhattan, is going to be partially reopening tomorrow morning. That's a good sign of progress. One of the two tubes under the Hudson River opening back up to bus traffic for rush hour tomorrow.
Still, for many, getting around tonight and tomorrow is going to remain a nightmare. Take a look at this. These are pictures from outside the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Those are thousands and thousands of people waiting for hours to get on buses into Manhattan.
This is what it looks like when New Yorkers lose the subway system that we all rely on. The subway has been shut down obviously since Sunday night. Limited subway service started today, but very limited. Nothing is running below 34th Street, where there's no power. If you're familiar with New York, that's a huge chunk of the city.
There is still no power to Lower Manhattan. And entire subway stations are flooded.
Our Jason Carroll got an up-close look at the Southbury station with an MTA official. And it is not hard to see why the subways are down in that part of the city. Watch this.
JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: What is it exactly that you will be doing down here? Because this is an area clearly where you're working now.
FRANK JEZYCKI, CHIEF INFRASTRUCTURE OFFICER, MTA: Well, the station complex itself will require a significant rehabilitation due to the damage from the storm. The infrastructure, the electrical systems, the fare collection systems, the lighting systems, the stairways, the ventilation systems, the elevators, the escalators, they're all pretty much ruined from the water damage, from the surge damage.
Just follow my same footsteps. Believe it or not, these timbers washed in from the ocean or the bay, wherever they came from.
CARROLL: This did right here, this timber right here?
CARROLL: so this washed in from somewhere?
JEZYCKI: All of this...
JEZYCKI: ... that you see washed in from the tidal surge.
CARROLL: It is incredible to think that this was a subway station. It doesn't look anything like a subway station now.
JEZYCKI: One of our newest subway stations. CARROLL: So were you able to -- obviously you were able to pump out a lot of the water from this -- where we are right now, because it's dry.
JEZYCKI: It is dry to this level, but we will take a quick look over there at the stairway that goes down to the 109 terminal station and you will see the level of water where it stands today.
CARROLL: I think this pretty much says it all, too, when you look at what's left in this over here.
JEZYCKI: Yes, this is the finished surface wall with tile surface. You can see it washed out from the wall coming down the stairway.
So that's the level of water. This is completely flooded all the way down to the platform level and to the tracks. Where you would typically go down and get on a train would be another level down.
CARROLL: At one point, the water was up where we're standing here, because you can tell where the steps are rusted.
JEZYCKI: Yes, at this very level, the water -- it is about -- we have pumped down about 15 feet so far.
CARROLL: OK. So you have pumped 15 feet out. Fifteen feet, you have already pumped.
CARROLL: Wow. OK.
And a lot more to go, and 25 feet down of water, additional water to go.
JEZYCKI: Addition water still lies in place.
CARROLL: When do you think this particular subway station will be up and fully running again?
JEZYCKI: I could not tell you. I really couldn't tell you. I don't have the skills or expertise to really estimate it.
CARROLL: If you had on guess?
JEZYCKI: I would say months.
COOPER: Jason Carroll joins me now. That's incredible to see that. This is unprecedented in the 108 years of the subway. Just nobody has planned for this kind of thing, saltwater in the subway system.
CARROLL: And when I asked him about what they will have to do to get this done, the task that lies ahead of them, he said, Anderson, monumental. That's how he described it.
He said, basically, it is not just about pumping water. You saw the debris there. They have to get rid of the debris. Then what you have got to do is you have got to test the equipment. You have got to have power in order to do that, so a monumental task ahead.
COOPER: And saltwater is so corrosive on the instrumentation, they don't even know if some of that stuff will work.
CARROLL: Well, you could just see the stairs there. The stairs had already started to rust.
And though it is hard to tell from those pictures there, when we looked down that stairwell, I said how much further down do you have to go? Two more flights. So, there's two more flights of water that is submerged. So it really gives you a sense of the work that lies ahead for the MTA workers.
COOPER: Well, I'm just thinking also with all that water still in there, even after a couple days, the amount of mold that could develop , and mold, getting rid of that stuff takes a long time. So months is very easy to understand.
CARROLL: It is a conservative estimate.
And once again, I also -- we were talking about, well, what, if anything, could you do to try to prevent something like this? Because that's what a lot of people are thinking. He said really nothing, unless you're going to build some sort of a seawall to protect Manhattan from the water from coming in.
COOPER: A lot of people are starting to talk about that or building some kind of system of gates like now that they have in New Orleans, because I talked to a climate expert who said over the next 100 years the water will rise two to three more feet. It has risen 100 feet in the last -- excuse me -- it's risen one foot over the last 100 years.
COOPER: So the next 100 years, they're saying two to three feet. For New York, that could be devastating.
CARROLL: And think about this, too.
When you look at the pictures, you look at the images that you saw there, what it comes down to, these commuters who are watching, they're thinking, when am I going to be able to get back to that subway station? And 8.5 million people use the system every day. It is really going to be a while.
COOPER: It's incredible. Jason Carroll, appreciate it. Thanks for getting down there.
To see another major part of the storm's aftermath that's affecting a lot of people in New York and New Jersey, all you got to do is look at any gas station. People are waiting for hours to fill up their tanks. Pedestrians are also waiting in lines with gas can for generators. The power outages are one problem.
Also, AAA says ports in New Jersey and Staten Island are closed for transporting fuel and all of the traffic jams, well, they're making it hard for trucks to get the gas to stations. So, in some parts of New Jersey, the problem is also natural gas. The gas company said it has gotten more than 1,000 reports of leaks in just the past three days.
Randi Kaye went to check it out.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For days, this part of the coast has been a ticking time bomb. Natural gas lines broken during superstorm Sandy have been spewing gas.
We took a boat ride on Barnegat Bay to see the threat for ourselves, the damage truly unimaginable.
(on camera): We came out here in search of the natural gas leaks. But you can see, there is plenty of damage here as well. Just take a look at this house here in the distance. This is in the town of Mantoloking. You can see it has completely collapsed there, completely falling apart, practically broken in half.
And then if you can just swing over here, look at this one. This house used to be over there on land. Now it is sitting in the middle of the water.
(voice-over): People up and down the coast have been anxiously waiting, wondering if their neighborhood might explode.
(on camera): Here in Barnegat Bay, we came across another house you see there behind me. It is split in two. You see on the top there that blue one. And you can smell right here in this area -- as we were getting closer to that home, you could smell the gas in the air. It was getting stronger and stronger as we got closer to it.
Already, the gas company says that they have responded to 1,300 gas leaks and they have cleared all of them. But here you can still smell it in the air.
(voice-over): Resident Rob Williams checked on his house and snapped this photo of a gas crew working to plug the leaks. Look closely. They are digging for gas lines in the sand where a house had been washed away.
Williams said the gas crews were overwhelmed.
(on camera): The gas company says they didn't even know how bad the problem was, because they could only survey the damage by air. But once they were able to get closer in a boat, like we are today, they were able to see just how dangerous it was. They, too, smelled the gas and they, too, realized they had a real problem on their hands.
(voice-over): The gas leaks forced the mayor of Mantoloking to shut the town down today. And by this afternoon, New Jersey Natural Gas began venting the system, purging the gas lines from the Point Pleasant Beach to Seaside Park, as well as Long Beach Island.
Turning it all off may make it safer for about 28,000 customers. But they are sure to be without natural gas for some time.
COOPER: Well, Randi joins now me from Belmar, New Jersey.
So is the gas company successful in shutting down all the gas lines today?
KAYE: They were, Anderson. That's the good news. They got the whole system shut down. I spoke with the company spokesman tonight and he confirmed that.
But as far as the next step now, it is really hard to say, because in purging the system of the gas, they had to flood it with water. And that could really destroy all the pipes. This was their last resort. They were trying to save the whole system.
So, in doing so now, they probably lost the whole system. So, in the next few days, they will go in and they will try to assess the damage. But, right now, 28,000 customers are without any gas and they will likely have to rebuild this whole system, Anderson. So not only will it take a whole lot of time, but it may cost millions of dollars.
COOPER: Wow. Randi, appreciate that.
Coming up, we will survey the damage at the World Trade Center site, formerly known as Ground Zero in Lower Manhattan, where water poured into the construction site of the 9/11 Museum. New York Governor Cuomo took me for an exclusive look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Is there a moment that stands out from this entire experience? Or was it the moment you came here Monday night?
CUOMO: I think it was this moment. I think it was this moment.
I think it was, that night, you got a sense of how quickly it could all go so very bad.
(END VIDEO CLIP) (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
COOPER: We have some remarkable video to show you. It's a time- lapsed video of Sandy that somebody put together there as it rolled across Manhattan and the lights went out in the lower part of the island and across the East River. It's amazing to see it like that.
Some of the power had already been turned off downtown as a precaution, but as things stood before the storm, there was no way of holding back the sea. Highways flooded, cars, subway tunnels flooded as we talked about.
Some of the most commercially valuable on the earth is now waterlogged, and so are 16 acres of hallowed ground. This afternoon, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo took me down below the World Trade Center site. Take a look.
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO, NEW YORK: This is One World Trade.
COOPER (voice-over): Monday night Governor Cuomo was here when the water poured in. In pitch black, he and lead engineer Steve Plake (ph) used flashlights to try to figure out how bad it was.
(on camera) When you saw the water coming in on Monday night, what went through your mind?
CUOMO: It was -- it was one of the most frightening things -- how are you doing, guys? I mean, it was truly frightening, to say the least. It was all dark. All you hear is water in every direction. And it really was in every direction.
And again, you didn't know when it was going to stop. And you're in the middle of building this building, which has taken so long. And a lot of the site is in a very delicate, precarious area because it's under construction. Watch your step.
So frightening is the only word. It was disorienting and frightening. The memorial is in place. The museum is being constructed underneath. And the question is, what damage was being done to the museum? The museum did wind up filling up with water.
COOPER (voice-over): Now the water on the surface is gone but below ground, there's still a lot to pump out.
(on camera) So the water is still being pumped out. How much water is still there right now?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We think there's somewhere between 150 to 200 million gallons at the bottom of this site.
COOPER: And how much can you pump out...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've pumped out right now about, over the last day, about 20 million. So that's not good enough. COOPER: How concerned are you about what lies ahead? Because the other day you said, you know, we've had now 200-year storms in the last two years. You know, I talked to a coastal expert who said the water is going to be rising two to three feet over the next 100 years.
CUOMO: Well, New York is very vulnerable if that's the case. I do believe that there's been an increase in extreme weather patterns. I believe, to be prudent, we have to bank on additional extreme weather patterns, and that could be the learning experience from this episode, as painful as it is.
Here the underneath for the memorial site goes down about seven stories. And that's where the retaining wall is.
COOPER (voice-over): Underground on the floor of the museum, the water remains, but the retaining wall is still intact.
(on camera) So this is the actual retaining wall for the Hudson River?
COOPER: And you were afraid this could even break?
CUOMO: That this was where the water was coming from. It was rising so fast. Steve was the master of the site. He's just a construction genius. It was coming up so fast. It was either because it was coming from the Hudson that quickly on the top or it was filling from the bottom that quickly.
And the worst fear would be that the retaining wall had breached, and it was filling from the bottom. And that's why we came down to check this wall. And it was wet like this, but you didn't see any obvious cracks or leaks.
COOPER (voice-over): There was water everywhere here, and it was coming in fast.
(on camera) Water pouring over here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here, there, there, everywhere you turn.
CUOMO: And pitch black. Little flashlights, and the noise was deafening. Because you'd have water that was falling 20 or 30 feet, cascading. So it was deafening.
COOPER (voice-over): The water is still being pumped out, and Lower Manhattan is still without electricity. Tonight, for the first time since the storm, the lights on One World Trade will turn on, and construction begins again.
(on camera) The work goes on tonight.
CUOMO: The work goes on.
COOPER: People are going to look up and see the lights. CUOMO: The work goes on. The work will start again tonight. They're ready to go back to business.
COOPER: And when New Yorkers look up and see that, what do you want them to know?
CUOMO: New York is back. New York is resilient. We're tough. We've gone through a lot, but we're the better for it. We learned from it. And I believe we don't just rebuild. We rebuild better. And that's what this site is all about. That's what New York is all about.
COOPER: And for the families who lost loved ones on this site and, you know, want to see this come to life again, as soon as possible.
CUOMO: It's been a long struggle, but it's coming. And it is going to be something magnificent and something to be proud of and something all of -- all of New York will...
COOPER: The governor wanted -- he actually called me up after we talked, after we had already separated, just to remind me and to remind everyone of the extraordinary work the men and women who are working on that site are doing, and how eager they are to get back to work tonight, and have those lights on so they can start work again on One World Trade.
We met a lot of the men and women who were down on the site today. And they're incredibly proud of the work they're doing and the work that they weren't able to do to pump out so much water.
National Guard troops worked all night to evacuate patients from Bellevue Hospital. We talked about that a lot yesterday. By this morning, just seven were left to move.
Several major New York hospitals, as you know, have shut down after losing power. Probably the most harrowing evacuation came in the middle of the storm Monday night. We cannot forget this image. It's been seen around the world; it's gone viral. A nurse on a stretcher cradling a baby as they're lowered into an ambulance outside NYU Langone Medical Center. The hospital generators had failed.
We've slowed down the video to take a look at what the nurse is doing there. Manually pumping air into the baby's lungs. The infant, a patient in the NICU, was just eight hours old. So fragile. Couldn't breathe on its own.
That nurse's name is Margot Condon. She works in NYU's NICU and was part of the team that moved 20 babies in all. I'm so proud that she joins me now.
Thank you for all you've done. I mean, I hope you know how much people around the world are just amazed by what you and the other nurses and orderlies and doctors did at that hospital. Explain what it took to move those little babies down those flights of stairs in the dark.
MARGOT CONDON, NURSE AT NYU'S NICU: Well, it took a lot of coordination between many, many people. Because the babies -- normally babies that tiny are not, like, held unless the mother is holding them.
So we had to be sure that the baby was safe and warm. Because they lose heat a lot. They all had central lines, so somebody had to be holding the line. They were on monitors, because we had to know how they were doing, because you could not really see them that well. So somebody was holding the monitor and then somebody was holding the oxygen tank, and we were bagging the baby. And the dad was there, too.
COOPER: In the meantime, you have people with flashlights shining light on the stairs.
CONDON: Yes, the staircases were lined with volunteers and medical students that all had flashlights.
COOPER: It's incredible.
CONDON: It was just a wonderful...
COOPER: So how many people in each group per baby?
CONDON: With the really -- with the really sick infants, we had about six or seven in a group.
COOPER: So you're going down, what, nine flights of stairs...
CONDON: Nine flights.
COOPER: ... with six or seven people...
COOPER: ... all -- you all have to move together.
CONDON: Everybody has to move together. Right.
CONDON: We had one of our -- one of our unit clerks in front of us who was like saying, OK, another step, another step. She was helping us. It was -- it was actually so great. All the babies got safely.
COOPER: Everybody survived. That's incredible.
CONDON: Everybody was safe. Everybody actually did really well.
COOPER: What is going through your mind in that time?
CONDON: Next step. Hold the baby. Make sure the tube -- if it -- the baby a breathing tube, so I really had to make sure that that tube didn't jiggle, that it didn't come out. Because then, if it came out, we'd have to, like, resuscitate right there on the stairs. So it was really important.
COOPER: You've been a nurse for 26 years?
COOPER: Thirty-six years.
CONDON: Yes, yes.
COOPER: Have you -- I mean, you've saved a lot of lives. Have you ever experienced anything like this?
CONDON: No. This was the most dramatic.
COOPER: The most dramatic.
COOPER: And does the training just kick in? Is part of your mind -- I mean, are you worried? Or are you just thinking, OK, next step. I've got to -- going through all the things you've got to do.
CONDON: I think the worry is there, but you have so many jobs to do that it blocks the worry.
COOPER: You said being on TV is harder than what you did? I don't believe that.
CONDON: Being on TV is harder, because I have nothing to do except stand here and...
COOPER: I don't have anything to do, either.
CONDON: No, no, it's just that, this is not my job. So when you do your job, you know how to do it.
COOPER: Yes. You do your job incredibly well. And the whole city is just -- I mean, I was tweeting about this. Because Monday night, at the height of the storm, when I heard about this -- I mean, because you know, we covered Katrina so much. We heard so many horror stories about what patients went through there. You know, the whole issue of how the generators failed or why is something we'll get to in days ahead.
But for everybody who worked there, I just -- I just want, as a resident of the city, I want to say thank you.
CONDON: You're welcome. And it was the whole team.
CONDON: You have to remember that 19 babies, that people took one at a time.
COOPER: Each had that team.
CONDON: Yes, each had that team.
COOPER: Incredible. Margot Condon, thank you so much.
CONDON: You're welcome.
COOPER: Thank you so much. Yes. Makes your heart feel good.
Another critical story is now in its final days. From now until Tuesday, of course, President Obama and Mitt Romney plan to campaign nonstop in battleground states. Today the Romney campaign added a new one to the list. Is that a sign of confidence or is it a bluff? We'll talk about that, "Raw Politics" ahead.
COOPER: At least 88 deaths in the U.S. from Superstorm Sandy. Every life deserves to be honored and remembered. Tonight we honor some of the fallen ahead.
COOPER: We're obviously intensely focused on the still-unfolding crisis that Sandy left in its wake. But another critical story, the presidential election, is now just five days away.
President Obama resumed campaigning today, a day after Governor Romney went back on the trail. They both plan to hold virtually nonstop events between now and Tuesday. The race still considered too close to call.
CNN's latest poll of polls shows President Obama ahead by one point, 48-47 percent. That's a national poll. Polls in the battleground state of Colorado, a new CNN/ORC International poll, shows 50 percent of likely polls backing Obama, 48 percent backing Romney, a two-point lead. That's within the sampling number.
And in Pennsylvania, Franklin-Marshall poll says President Obama with a four-point lead among likely voters, 49-45, also within the margin of error.
Now today, Governor Romney's camp says he will campaign in Pennsylvania on Sunday. They claim the deep-blue Keystone State is in play. They said the same thing two days ago in a memo; didn't cite any particular data. The Obama campaign called it a sign of desperation on their part -- on their part.
Joining me now with the "Raw Politics," the chief White House correspondent, Jessica Yellin; national political correspondent Jim Acosta; and chief national correspondent John King.
Jim, the storm has been a real curveball for candidates, obviously. How has Mitt Romney been handling the transition back to regular campaign mode? Does his team feel that the break may have stopped his momentum at all? JIM ACOSTA, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, what we saw, Anderson, earlier from Mitt Romney, is he certainly went back on offense. After dialing back his criticism of President Obama in the immediate aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, he really went on the attack.
He ridiculed the president's idea for a new secretary of business in a second term, and he also unleashed this very negative ad down in Florida. A Spanish language TV ad that links President Obama to Hugo Chavez and the Castro family.
I think the Romney campaign at this point, they're not really saying one way or the other whether or not they feel like the campaign has been damaged to some extent by what happened with Hurricane Sandy but I think the -- getting back on offense does reflect the fact that they feel like they'd better get this momentum back on their side. Because clearly it has been affected, Anderson.
COOPER: And just President Obama has obviously been in full presidential mode. He took a break from officially campaigning, but he's been very visible. He's getting good marks on his handling of the storm, most notably from Governor Chris Christie in New Jersey. Is there any sense how voters may be reacting?
JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We don't know how voters are reacting just yet. But the president is in his own way taking advantage of the moment.
He bounded off the plane today at his first stop, Anderson, wearing his leadership credentials on his sleeves, literally. He was wearing a bomber jacket that read "commander in chief." And he opened his first remarks by commenting on the storm and saying, it's an -- it's one of those times when Democrats and Republicans come together. He is sort of walking that line of not politicizing it but making sort of oblique reference to his role in it and his time with Governor Christie, it would seem.
And then he's broadened out his message now. He has a new closing argument. He's dropped the line, Romney has; he no longer uses that. And instead he's talking about Bill Clinton and what Bill Clinton's role was in doing kind of right by the economy. And now talking about himself, Barack Obama, President Obama, as a leader who unites people, brings people together.
And is now going back to the message of change from 2008, saying -- not talking about changing Washington, but bringing Americans' voices into Washington and talking about himself as a unifier, clearly a mantle he's picking up in the wake of his leadership role in the role he's taken after Superstorm Sandy.
COOPER: John, I mean, it's amazing. The twist and turns this race has taken, as I guess every presidential race does in the final days. But new polling out tonight from Colorado; still a very tight race there. What does it mean for next Tuesday? What do the numbers show?
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the numbers in Colorado show 50-48 for the president. That's a statistical tie. This is a state that is going to go down right to the very end. You can tell that when you're here, Anderson.
The early voting. This is one of the places Republicans have even a slight advantage. That's not the case in any of the other early voting states. But if you look at Colorado, if you look at Nevada, then you move into the Midwest, you'd have to say in the public polling, the president has a slight advantage. They're all close enough for this to play out, still, on election day.
But you mentioned it. Jess and Jim talked about the impact of the storm. Look, incumbency cuts both ways. And we may find out tomorrow whether the president's post-storm leadership, commander-in- chief, use of the White House, the bully pulpit, certainly has helped him. When we get that final jobs report tomorrow, we might be reminded again that he's the incumbent; we have a sluggish economy. So we could have yet another twist before we're done.
COOPER: John, does either candidate have the momentum? I mean, can anybody say which side has the momentum right now?
KING: No. If you look nationally, it's been consistent for a week. The race is tied. If you go state by state, in one state you say the president has a bit of momentum, or at least a bit of a lead. In other states, Governor Romney has a bit of a lead; you might call that a bit of momentum.
In most of these places, Anderson, the president had the luxury of no primary challenge, so he has a better ground organization on paper. He has more offices; he has more people. They've had more time and money to spend on this, so you would say it's an advantage.
But look, the final days of a campaign are always surreal. I remember Michael Dukakis saying, "He's slipping and sliding, we're rocking and rolling" days before he went on to lose 40 states.
But the Democrats did send Bill Clinton into Minnesota this week. They wouldn't do that if they weren't nervous. They're sending him back into Pennsylvania. They wouldn't do that, even as they say Romney's desperate, if they themselves weren't quite so sure.
That's the mystery of this campaign. The Obama campaign thinks we're going to have an electorate that looks very much like 2008 on Tuesday, but they're not certain about that. None of the campaigns are. That's why we have so many states that are so close. Guess what? We just don't know.
COOPER: Yes. John King, Jessica Yellin, Jim Acosta. Thanks.
We were reporting earlier this evening on the broadcast about the lack of attention that Staten Island has been getting. Well, we got some breaking news tonight. We just got word that Janet Napolitano, the secretary of homeland security, is going to visit Staten Island tomorrow.
As we mentioned, people there have been expressing a lot of frustration at the federal response to the disaster. Secretary Napolitano will tour the island with FEMA's deputy director.
Still ahead, we remember the victims of the storm. Some of them. We're learning more and more about some of those whose lives were lost, the faces and the names of this tragedy, the lives they lead. We'll remember them and pay tribute to their lives that ended suddenly when Sandy struck.
COOPER: So many people here in New York and New Jersey and throughout the northeast are picking up the pieces from life-changing storms. Some have lost everything. Others are still without power or having a lot of trouble just getting around; waiting in long lines for gas.
But for some families, the toll that Sandy took is much higher. At least 157 people were killed in this storm. Eighty-eight of them here in the United States.
Tonight we remember all those who died. And we want to take a minute just to get to know a little bit about some of their lives.
COOPER (voice-over): As the swirling winds of Sandy swept through southwestern Connecticut, Russell Neary was doing the job he cherished as a volunteer firefighter. He was returning from a fire, and authorities say he stopped his truck along a road in the small town of Easton, Connecticut.
He and two other firefighters were trying to remove a huge log in the middle of the road when a suspected microburst of wind sent an enormous tree falling on top of him. Russ was pinned beneath the tree and pronounced dead at a local hospital.
He was 55 years old, and he'd spent ten years as a volunteer.
Connecticut's governor, Daniel Malloy, praised Russ as a firefighter who died doing what he loved most. Said his chief, he was a hard worker and he would do anything for anybody.
In New Jersey, the slashing winds also caused mayhem and death. Richard and Beth Everett, who owned the Blue Crest Riding Center in Long Valley, were in their pickup truck, police said, when a large tree fell across their vehicle. Their kids, aged 11 and 14, were in the truck, as well, but they survived.
On the riding center's Facebook page, the tributes flowed in. Said one, "I know of no other people so generous and loving as the Everetts were."
And out on the ocean, many of you have heard by now about the replica of the sailing ship HMS Bounty and how it reportedly sank in huge winds and waves caused by Sandy. The Coast Guard rescued 14 members of its crew. The ship's captain, however, Robin Waldridge, remains missing. One crew member is known dead. Her name was Claudine Christian. That's her alongside the replica. Forty-two years old, she often told reporters she was related to Fletcher Christian, the 18th Century sailor blamed for leading the legendary mutiny on board the original ship. She won a job as a deckhand on board the replica just last spring.
On her Facebook page and on Twitter, she was clearly thrilled with her new job. She tweeted, "I am in love with my ship, Bounty."
Russell Neary, Richard and Beth Everett, Claudine Christian all lived life to its fullest. All died far too soon.
COOPER: And unfortunately, we have late word tonight the Coast Guard has suspended its search for the captain of that ship, Robin Waldridge.
We also want to correct a mistake we made last night when we were honoring the victims of the storm. One of the victims is Lauren Abraham. She was a makeup artist. We showed the wrong picture last night. We apologize for that. Police say Abraham was killed when she stepped on a downed power line outside of her home in Queens.
Lauren Abraham was just 23 years old. We honor her and all those who lost their lives.
For information about how you can help the victims, go to CNN.com/impact. We'll be right back.
COOPER: OK. That's it for us. Thanks for watching.
"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts now.