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Stories from the heart of Super Storm Sandy

Lower Manhattan goes dark during Hurricane Sandy as a massive storm surge floods parts of New York City and surrounding boroughs. (AP image.)

New Yorkers are trying to make sense of the flooding and damage caused by Hurricane Sandy after walls of water and high winds pummeled the city Monday night.

In an interview with Seattle's Morning News, CBS correspondent Mara Rubin says it was surreal and scary as water rushed in, transformers blew and a large part of city went dark, the normally bustling streets empty.

"It was really crazy and scary. I was frightened actually because you're used to seeing so many people and crowds."

Rubin says the power of the storm surge was awesome as a 14 foot wall of water poured over a seawall in Battery Park in lower Manhattan.

"We have this one Battery Tunnel that looks like a car wash because the water was rushing down the street and in this tunnel and it looked like the water was just going crazy in there," she says.

CBS' Jim Taylor tells Seattle's Morning News the darkness was most unsettling.

"Occasionally you would almost run into somebody running into the street because you couldn't even see them. It was kind of zombie like, it was really weird. It was almost as if Hollywood had taken over."

Taylor says at one point he worried for his safety as winds gusting to 70 miles per hour hurled debris through the air while huge trees snapped like twigs.

"In Greenwich Village, the cabbie couldn't take us any farther because the trees were blocking our path and that's just something you don't see in New York City."

With the brunt of the storm now gone, Rubin says the big challenge now is getting rid of all the flood water left behind that inundated subways, tunnels and building basements.

She says it's a particular challenge for building superintendents responsible for the maintenance of the hundreds of apartment complexes flooded by the storm surge.

"They're dumbfounded. They don't know what to do because their basements are filled with water and a lot of them do not have electricity so pumping it out is not going to happen anytime soon."

Taylor says while crews are out in force drying out and trying to restore power, it could be days before the city that never sleeps gets back on its feet.

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