As Hurricane Sandy threatens to bash the tri-state with record flooding, winds and rains not seen here in decades, many residents in coastal areas are ignoring orders to leave their homes.
Evacuation orders are in place along the coasts in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, and officials are warning against complacency.
"If you don't evacuate, you are not only endangering your life, you are also endangering the lives of the first responders who are going in to rescue you," Mayor Bloomberg said at a news conference Sunday.
But, he said, those who didn't leave wouldn't be arrested. Ralph Gorham, co-owner of the Red Hook Lobster Pound, was one of those who planned to stay.
"When the bell tolls, you live with it," he said Sunday. He said he had planned ahead and kept from ordering his usual batch of live lobsters from Maine, to diminish possible financial losses.
Gorham also said he was going to the storefront lobster business, usually crowded on weekends with clients, to set up generators and cables to keep the refrigerators and freezers going if power goes out.
NYPD officers were out in force in the city's Zone A neighborhoods, under mandatory evacuation orders, warning residents through bullhorn announcements to leave.
In the Rockaways, some recalled how Irene failed to live up to dire predictions surrounding that storm in August of last year.
"I don't think it's gonna be bad," said Susan Chinquemani. "We may have some problems with flooding, but I don't think it's going to be so disastrous that I need to leave town immediately. So I'm just going to stick it out."
If forecasts hold, and especially if the storm surge coincides with high tide, the effects should be much more severe for the city than those in Irene.
Many out-of-town hotel guests in Battery Park City stayed put, but some residents seemed to be heeding the mayor's evacuation orders.
"One reason we can tell is that parking is pretty good around here, which it usually never is," said Matthew Monahan of the Battery Park City Authority.
At gas stations across New Jersey, where storm surges are predicted to reach 9 feet in some places, drivers were lining up Sunday to fill up their tanks in the hours before the rain started falling.
Sipping coffee outside a convenience store Sunday morning, 73-year-old Jonas Clark of Manchester Township said he wasn't sure what the storm would bring.
While concerned that forecasters were predicting the storm might make landfall not far from his Ocean County home, he also felt people were working themselves "into a tizzy" by monitoring the storm nonstop.
"I've seen a lot of major storms in my time, and there's nothing you can do but take reasonable precautions and ride out things the best you can. Nature's gonna do what it's gonna do," he said. "It's great that there's so much information out there about what you can do to protect yourself and your home, but it all boils down basically to: Use your common sense."
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was less blunt than Bloomberg about those who might consider staying.
"Don't be stupid," he said, "Get out."
Drivers, at least, followed his instructions to stay off the roads. The bustling and often crawling Garden State Parkway was empty Sunday night.