Earlier this week, the east coast was struck with an unprecedented storm. It was one of the largest storms ever seen, and it came ashore in New Jersey with hurricane force winds at high tide during a full moon cycle. This caused the highest storm surge ever seen and before it left it affected 24 states in one way or another. I have been following the aftermath closely because I grew up on the Jersey Shore and have roots there.
I hate to discourage tourism - the area certainly needs all the income it can get - but the infrastructure just cannot support visitors at this time and into the foreseeable future. The worst damage was in the most densely populated area of the country.
The storm surge overwashed all the barrier islands and peninsulas up and down the entire NJ coast and NYC area and went inland a considerable distance. Between that and the winds, almost all utilities were wiped out. Downtown NYC was seriously flooded and the transportation infrastructure was seriously impacted.
A huge number of people have lost their homes, there is no electricity, gas, water, or sewer in a lot of areas. There is a serious gasoline and diesel shortage due to stations not having electricity to run the pumps, refineries and terminals running at reduced or no capacity, and difficulties getting tankers in. There is gasoline rationing, what stations are open have lines several hours long, and are imposing purchase limits and odd/even license plate procedures. The weather is getting cold, people have no heat or electricity, hotels that are open are booked solid and rental cars are scarce. Most of the barrier islands and peninsulas between Cape May and Sandy Hook are completely closed, residents can't even get back in and may not be allowed to return for 6 months. The worst damage is on Long Beach Island and points north.
Atlantic City was reopened yesterday, the casinos and hotels are back in business, but there are major transportation issues just to get there. NYC is open, but transportation in and out is at a virtual standstill.
For right now, I would advise tourists not to go within 100 miles of NYC.
Attached is a typical picture of what they are dealing with out there.
If anyone has any specific questions about any specific areas, I'll try to answer them to the best of my ability. I'll post updates from time to time as the situation improves. The Jersey Shore as we knew it is no more.