Asking for food, bracing for crime, in the Lower East Side and Red Hook

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Kelly Magee lives in Chelsea and is spending her days working for City Councilwoman Margaret Chin in the Lower East Side and Chinatown.

The entire area is without power.

"'A lot of people are comparing this to 9/11," she told me in a brief telephone interview. "One thing Margaret said is there were a lot of people, city workers on the streets here, willing to help. With this, there's not as much," and local residents are "organizing their own communities."

According to Magee, there are countless residents and elderly people "trapped" in high rise apartments.

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"Even if they can make it down 45 flights of stairs, there is no where to go to buy food or whatever," Magee said. "People are getting really anxious and we are encouraging people to get indoors by nightfall."

When I asked why, Magee said it was "dangerous to cross the street," and said there were criminal "elements" beginning to operate there. 

Magee sent along images of the long lines of people along St. Catherine's Street.

"We're really telling people to be in their houses because there's nothing open. There's no street lights, there's not anything. We haven't had any major incidents of crimes," she said, but admitted, "we have seen some reports of car jacking in in the 7th precincts" and other assaults.

Magee said Chin's office has officially requested three generators (two, plus another one for a building who's generator already died). "I think every building would love one" Magee told me, before wondering aloud, "why can't New York City get more generators?"

Over in Coffey Park, next to the Red Hook Public Houses, an aide to City Councilwoman Sarah Gonzalez told me the food giveaway there will "stay open until everyone here gets the food and supplies necessary."

Gonzalez's legislative aide, Miguel Hernandez, said there were a "couple of hundred" people on line right now. He said there are "thousand of residents here in NYCHA houses without power," and "the weather is dropping."

Emergency workers are trying to pump out water from basements before turning on generators, but Hernandez said getting gasoline for the pumps "has been an obstacle."

Hernandez said "the police presence out here has been pretty strong" and crime hasn't manifested itself into a problem yet. "That situation could change," he said.