Even as evacuation zones were clearly delineated on color-coded, interactive maps and available on multiple websites, many New Yorkers decided to ride Hurricane Irene out.
New York's Mayor Michael Bloomberg practically pleaded with residents in such low-lying areas as Staten Island, Brooklyn's Coney Island and Manhattan's Battery Park City to leave their homes well ahead of the storm.
"I am home, in Far Rockaway. Glad I decided not to evacuate," said Teresa Racine of Queens. "What can I say? Go with your gut feeling where I live is one of the safest buildings. I didn't have to sleep with one eye open." "Yes I stayed and it was fun," P.J. Singh posted on the ABCNews Facebook page. "We didn't lose power and I recorded everything, was expecting much more other then rain and wind. Felt like a normal rainy day."
Among those who refused to evacuate: public housing residents.
About 40,000 people live in housing authority buildings in the mandatory evacuation area known as Zone A.
ABC News has learned that between 20 and 50 percent of public housing residents in Zone A did not leave in any given building despite officials going door to door in those buildings, even sending shuttle buses to deliver residents to safety.
In the East Harlem evacuation zone, a Fung Wah bus used to transport people to a nearby evacuation center reportedly had only taken 10 people by 4 p.m. Saturday.
More than an hour before the city's 5 p.m. evacuation deadline Saturday, the New York City Housing Authority started shutting off elevators, boilers and other services to its buildings in the Zone A evacuation area.
"It is a mandatory evacuation. Your buildings are shutting down. Your elevators are shutting down. Your boilers are shutting down and it will be much too dangerous to stay," Mayor Michael Bloomberg urged at the Office of Emergency Management headquarters late Saturday afternoon.
Among those who did leave, 9,600 people spent the night in city evacuation centers. Many hunkered down in shelters in Eastern Queens, and are believed to have come from the Rockaways.
New Jersey reported 9,659 people in shelters.
Still, many New Yorkers earned their tough reputations.
"I slept like a baby," boasted Queens resident Racine Sunday morning, "and I don't have to worry about how I am getting home."