(CNN)"Better safe than sorry."
That was New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's message to New Yorkers on Tuesday morning as they woke up to just 7 inches of snow -- nothing compared to forecasts of an epic storm that could heap 2 to 3 feet on the City.
De Blasio practically shut down the city and mobilized a massive city-wide response as New York braced for a blizzard that the National Weather Service called "life threatening" and "potentially historic." Heeding meteorologists' forecasts, de Blasio urged New Yorkers Monday to "prepare for something worse than we have seen before."
But by 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday morning, de Blasio and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo lifted the travel ban in effect throughout New York, hoping to get the city running again after a storm that will cost the city millions of dollars in cleanup costs and lost income. Public transit in New York will be up and running again starting at 9 a.m.
The city will tally up a final estimate of the storm's economic cost in the next few days, but de Blasio said the safety of New Yorkers trumped all financial concerns.
"You gotta keep people safe first," de Blasio said. "You can't put a price on that."
The storm quickly changed overnight, dropping the most snow on the eastern tip of Long Island and further north in Massachusetts.
But Govs. Chris Christie of New Jersey and New York's Cuomo took the same precautionary stance on Monday, shutting down public transportation on Monday evening and soon enough putting travel bans in place as residents hunkered down.
And de Blasio said getting residents off the streets helped city crews clean up the streets much more quickly and efficiently and will help to get New York back on its fast-paced track.
"We're getting back to normal pretty quickly here. It's going to be a fast return to normalcy," de Blasio said.