By John Springer, msnbc.com contributor
Despite New York City closing down its transit system at noon Saturday, the streets of Manhattan were unusually quietly when I left the Theatre District in Midtown to drive home to Long Island about noon Saturday. The drive across town and over the 59th Street Bridge into Queens took less than 10 minutes; normally it takes 30 minutes due to congestion.
Traffic on the Long Island Expressway was also light, and only one highway patrol vehicle was spotted during the 60-mile drive, perhaps explaining why most motorists were traveling at 70 to 80 miles per hour and ignoring the hand-held cellphone prohibition.
Grocery and convenience store were packed with cars, and there were long lines for gasoline.
In the Village of Port Jefferson, the largest deep-water harbor on Long Island's North Shore, boat owners who had second thoughts about riding out Hurricane Irene were scrambling to find a boat yard with the capacity and manpower to pull their vessels out of Port Jefferson Harbor and other inlets that dot Long Island Sound.