Downtown Morristown is open for business.
As the region was continuing to recover from a storm that has knocked out power for 2.5 million homes in New Jersey alone, many of those weary from Sandy flocked to Morristown. As night fell, and with both its surrounding communities and other parts of the town still in the dark, downtown literally became a light in the darkness.
One of those lights was on at SmartWorld Coffee, where owner David Walters and other staff were taking orders for coffee and treats even after the cafe's usual 7 p.m. closing time.
"I can't complain," he said, noting at one point customers were lined up out the door. Though he did say it was tough for some employees to get to work, so Walters donned an apron himself.
Town officials took advantage of the downtown's good fortune by holding their final post-Sandy press conference for Tuesday over cups of SmartWorld coffee and loafs of lemon poppyseed cake.
There, Mayor Tim Dougherty offered good news, at least for morale. Where the town had been listed as 74 percent out of power by JCP&L earlier Tuesday, by evening hours that number had dropped to 44 percent.
"Was it an over-assessment of our outages? We're not sure," Dougherty said.
Maybe not, as at least some in the Lidgerwood Park area had gotten power restored by Tuesday, Paula Court resident Debra Gottsleben said. Sadly, her road was not one of them (if your power is back on, let Patch and our readers know).
While Dougherty and officials from all over the state have told those without power it could take between seven-to-10 days to get their juice, the mayor noted JCP&L assessment crews were expected to be in town by sometime during the day on Wednesday. "We're hoping over the next couple days, there will be more work and more assessments."
Although Gov. Chris Christie has said it may be unsafe for trick-or-treaters throughout New Jersey on Wednesday—prompting a potential executive order officially rescheduling the holiday—Dougherty said Morristown was contemplating allowing its annual Trick-or-Treat event to go on as planned. Halloween festivities would, however, only be permitted in the downtown. "It's just too dangerous in our neighborhoods," he said. "But, everyone could use a little lift."
A final decision was expected to be made by Wednesday morning, he said.
Mennen Arena remained open for anyone seeking shelter, especially those without power who may need a warm place to stay as temperatures drop over the next few days. Town Hall, too, would remain open until midnight for information, warming and recharging of electronic equipment.
Overall, the mayor said of latest reports, "that's good news for Morristown."
That good news could be seen in the throngs of folks walking down South Street and in and out of bars and restaurants, a scene more common on a Saturday night rather than Tuesday. Many stores on Morris Street and Speedwell Avenue were open, as well.
At Tito's Burritos, which opened at 4 p.m., a steady stream of people kept employees busy for several hours.
"It's way more than usual," said store manager Dan Drappi between phone calls for delivery, which he said were coming not only from Morristown but from all over the area, including Madison, Mendham and Parsippany.
"And, it's my first day back from vacation," he said. "Let's get ready!"