Power returns to much of New York City

A man bicycles across Houston Street in Lower Manhattan shortly after power was restored in the area on November 2, 2012 in New York City.
Getty Images/Mario Tama

Updated: 7:52 p.m. ET

NEW YORK Big chunks of blackout-plagued Manhattan, Brooklyn, Staten Island, Queens and the Bronx have gotten their power back this evening.

Con Edison says the lights went back on around 5 p.m. for over 65,000 homes, apartment buildings and businesses on the Lower East Side and in the East Village. Power also returned to many residences in Chelsea, on the west side of Manhattan, downtown by City Hall and by Madison Square Park.

The energy company also announced that power had been restored to at least 122,000 customers in Brooklyn, 29,000 in Queens, 39,000 in the Bronx and 85,000 in Staten Island -- a borough particularly hurt by the storm and home to about half of the city's Sandy-related deaths.

The utility says it still can't give a timetable for when service would be back for the rest of the city still without power.

Much of Staten Island, Brooklyn and the southern third of Manhattan has been dark since Monday evening, leaving many New Yorkers -- including the disabled and elderly -- desperate for heat, light and the internet.

Julie Crespo, a 71-year-old woman who lives on the 9th floor of an apartment building, told CBS News' Jim Axelrod she hasn't left her apartment in four days because the elevator wasn't working.

"I'm desperate, desperate to have electricity back on," she said. "You don't realize how much you rely on it."

Once lights first flickered on in the street and in buildings in the East Village, New Yorkers cheered and expressed their excitement on Twitter.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said at a midday news conference that he hoped power would be restored to most of the borough by midnight.

Con Edison says it is trying to meet that deadline. However, power must be brought back slowly to avoid burnouts, fires and overloads in the system.

To help victims of Sandy, donations to the American Red Cross can be made by visiting Red Cross disaster relief, or you can text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.