Hurricane Irene 2011: New Yorkers Defy the Forecast

PHOTO: Alex Libby, Hannah Gabelmann and Janna Libby decided to survey the extent of Hurricane Irene?s fury by walking through lower Manhattan in scuba gear.
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While Mom thought they were safe at home in Manhattan's Lower East Side, siblings Janna and Alex Libby took to the streets of New York in their scuba gear to join other defiant New Yorkers determined not to let Hurricane Irene ruin one of summer's last Sundays.

"We're not too scared because we got our gear," said Alex Libby, 28, as he motioned to his scuba goggles.

After Saturday's cabin fever, the siblings and their friend Hannah Gabelmann, 19, were anxious to get outside.

"We just wanted to play while we could before we had to go back inside," said Janna Libby, 19.

As the skies cleared over lower Manhattan today, New Yorkers began to venture out armed with only their rain boots and shorts.

They were walking their dogs, riding their bikes and taking their children to the edge of the water at the South Street Seaport to look at the boats.

On Saturday, these same intrepid city dwellers were lining up outside of grocery stores nervously hoping there would still be water and peanut butter once they got inside.

As government officials held almost hourly news conferences over the past few days, some prepared for power outages, flooding and a public transportation shutdown while others doubted that the city that never sleeps would shut down.

Even early on Sunday morning, as trees shook in the wind and rain poured down on the city, some New Yorkers were still out walking their dogs and jogging through the downpour.

In the West Village, people lifted yellow caution tape and brazenly ducked under to survey fallen trees next to the Bleecker Street Playground. They posed for pictures and took video of the fallen trees until firemen arrived and instructed them to move back.

In Battery Park, an New York Police Department van was announcing through a bullhorn that the coast was not clear and that people should return home. No one heeded the warning.

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