Hurricane Irene brings New York City to a halt

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Hurricane Irene brings New York City to a halt

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Normally, it caries seven million passengers daily. But Hurricane Irene has got the better of New York’s subway system. It has ground to a halt like the city itself as the killer storm approaches.

Our correspondent Anna Bressanin says the total shutdown of public transport in New York is unprecedented.

Don’t expect to see a Broadway show this weekend. No one is treading the boards. And forget flying into the Big Apple, with airports closing and thousands of flights cancelled.

For the first time, mandatory evacuation notices have been issued in the city, with 370,000 residents ordered to leave their homes in low-lying areas.

The atmosphere for some native New Yorkers is almost surreal.

“Trains, buses not running, the whole place shut down,” said one man, loading his car. “I have lived here my whole life and this is the first time I have ever seen anything like this.”

Emergency centres opened for those not taking refuge with family or friends although reports suggest many people ignored the evacuation order.

Whatever the warnings, New York remains the city that never sleeps. One public hall offered festive residents a ‘Storm of the Century Fallout Shelter Party’ at 10pm.