At Broad Street, near the tip of Lower Manhattan, the situation is far from normal. Many streets in the area are closed off and packed with trucks, equipment, and generators. Manhole covers are open everywhere. Verizon’s Broad Street central office, which routes local phone, DSL, and FiOS data, resembles a military field base. Walls of sandbags remain around the building, and the constant hum of generators and pumps bounces down the streets. The lobby of the building is covered in plywood to protect any decorations it may have, and the entrance has become a type of checkpoint lit by a string of incandescent bulbs.

On Wednesday, two weeks after the storm, I met with Verizon's Executive Director of Operations, Christopher D. Levendos, who showed me the extent of the damage and repairs. Levendos tells me the 90,000 cubic foot cable vault has suffered a “catastrophic failure,” far worse than the damage done to a similar, but much larger vault at Verizon’s West Street headquarters near the World Trade Center.