A new storm was expected to hit the New York-New Jersey region still shivering and cleaning up after last week's Superstorm Sandy, bringing the threat of 55 mph (89 kph) gusts and more beach erosion, flooding and rain by Wednesday.
Temperatures dipped toward freezing early Monday, and tens of thousands of people without power along the ravaged Atlantic coastline faced the growing certainly that they would have to find somewhere else to stay. Especially hard hit are the thousands in public housing, who often have no place to go and barricade themselves in darkened apartments for the 12 hours of night.
"Nights are the worst because you feel like you're outside when you're inside," said Genice Josey, a Far Rockaway resident who sleeps under three blankets and wears long johns under her pyjamas. "You shiver yourself to sleep."
As millions of students joined the morning rush hour Monday for the first time since the storm, commuters continued to wait, and sometimes sleep, in cars in long lines for gas.
And with the U.S. presidential election on Tuesday, New York City's mayor was asked if the city would be ready for it. "I have absolutely no idea," Michael Bloomberg said.
Sandy left more than 100 people dead in 10 states.
With temperatures sinking into the 30s Fahrenheit (1 to 4 degrees Celsius) overnight, New York City officials handed out blankets and urged victims to go to overnight shelters or daytime warming centres.
But government leaders began to wonder where to find housing in the densely developed area around the largest U.S. city for the tens of thousands whose homes could be uninhabitable for weeks or months.
Bloomberg said 30,000 to 40,000 New Yorkers may need to be relocated, a monumental task in a city where housing is scarce and expensive, though he said that number will probably drop to 20,000 within a couple of weeks as power is restored in more places.
"We're not going to let anybody go sleeping in the streets. ... But it's a challenge, and we're working on it," Bloomberg said.
One option is setting up Federal Emergency Management Agency trailer camps of the kind that existed after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005, said George W. Contreras, associate director of the emergency and disaster management program at Metropolitan College of New York.