Gallery: Tropical Storm Irene, Downgraded from Hurricane, Passes Throug...

Tropical Storm Irene -- downgraded from a hurricane -- passed through New York City Sunday morning, leaving broken branches and flooding in many parts of the city, and also leaving many New Yorkers wondering what all the fuss was about. A day after the New York subway system was shut down and large portions of the city were evacuated, the storm didn't cause nearly as much damage as initially feared, but it did leave thousands of New Yorkers without power, and it left officials scrambling to get the subway system back up and running.

Photo © Eguchi Shintaro

According to the New York Times, the storm left both of New York’s major airports closed on Sunday afternoon, and it caused widespread flooding in low-lying neighborhoods of Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island. Early Sunday afternoon, Mayor Bloomberg lifted the mandatory evacuation order for 370,000 New Yorkers, but still wasn’t clear when New York City subway service would resume. Because of flooded tracks, downed wires and fallen trees, MTA officials said it was unlikely that the subway system would be back to full speed by Monday morning.

Not everyone was impressed with the storm’s power, though. “I slept through the whole thing,” writer James Trager, who lives in Midtown, told CNN. “Nothing. It’s exaggerated.”Despite warnings from Mayor Bloomberg to stay inside, New Yorkers were seen walking dogs, snapping photos, doing yoga, and wading around in flood water. Others were seen playing rugby in Times Square during the storm.

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