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New York says – get ready for Hurricane Irene, capiche?

Petra Cahill / msnbc.com

An information sign at New York's Grand Central Terminal warns train passengers: "Hurricane Irene Update Metro-North Will Shutdown Service On All Lines on Sat., Aug. 27, at 12 Noon Check MTA.Info\MNR For Updates."

Petra Cahill, msnbc.com

NEW YORK – As Manhattan’s unusually quiet streets braced for Hurricane Irene, the city’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg made it clear they need to take the appropriate precautions – now.

“You can listen to the noise of the elevated train. That's not going to be here this afternoon, and I think that's the message that people have to start understanding, that starting at noon today - which is in only two and a half hours - mass transit is not going to be available if you have to leave. You have to start right now,” Bloomberg said during a press conference outside the 60th Police Precinct in Coney Island on Saturday morning.

Even with TV, radio, Internet and word of mouth, it is still a challenge to get the message out that all public transportation will halt midday ET in a city of 8 million.


Petra Cahill / msnbc.com

A sign outside The Brick Church at 91st and Park Avenue seen on Friday night warned parishoners:

On the subway earlier today a recorded message came over the loud speaker alerting people about the planned stoppage of subways, buses and trains. But seconds later, the subway conductor walked into the not-so-crowded train to reiterate the message.

“Sprechen sie ‘hurricane?’ All subways are closing at 12 noon. If you are in a subway by noon, you’re good,” the conductor said, as he gave the universal thumbs up sign. “If you’re not, you’re out luck.”

The subway car’s travelers collectively nodded and he moved along.

At least one church was already planning ahead and had cancelled services for Sunday. The Brick Church at 91st and Park Avenue left notice for its Presbyterian parishioners: “Sunday Morning Worship Service CANCELED Due To Hurricane Please Be Safe.”

For its part, historic St. Patrick’s Cathedral in midtown Manhattan is planning, for now, its usual services on Sunday morning, right at the time when the storm is expected to hit the city.

“We’ll be here. Where else are we gonna go?” said a church usher when asked if the Roman Catholic cathedral was planning to suspend services in light of the storm. “Barring any damage to the church – we’ll be here” added another usher.

Petra Cahill / msnbc.com

Workers board up windows at Manhattan's Saks Fifth Avenue.

Across the street, Saks Fifth Avenue was preparing and boarding up its windows. And NBC News’ headquarters was getting ready, too. 30 Rock’s signature flag poles were bare and all the shops at the New York City landmark were closed. For the few tourists still milling around Rockefeller Center’s empty plaza the unspoken message was “closed, capiche?”