"We need to be innovative," said Orlove. "And we should consider things like putting up flood gates at the mouth of the Hudson (River) and other vulnerable points that could help hold back the tide."
An army of municipal workers and private contractors is addressing the more immediate concerns, working around the clock in New York to pump out sea water and wipe down salt-caked machinery like underground transformers, circuit switches and generators.
As workers scrambled to restore equipment, thousands of otherwise stranded commuters defiantly walked to work this week, often abandoning taxi cabs in the city's traffic-clogged streets.
"I left my house at 6:45 a.m. and I'm still walking," said Elizabeth Gorman, a 40-year-old Queens resident who crossed the Queensboro Bridge at around 10 a.m. "I don't know what (else) to do. I have to get to work."
New York's buses, trains and subways are all slowly coming back online. But for many residents across the region where full transit service has yet to be restored, the slog to work continues.