Residents of Manhattan's 19-building, 1,191-apartment Jacob Riis projects, have been without power and water since late Monday evening, and there's been no sign of help from local government.
In all, city officials estimate some 49,000 public housing residents have been stranded by the storm, left without the resources to escape or find alternative lodging.
When Getty photographer Mario Tama ventured inside, he found residents huddled in living rooms lit by solitary candles and gas stoves running constantly for heat.
Here are a few images from Tama's visit on Thursday:
The Jacob Riis project is located on farmost edge of the East Village, between Avenue D and the Franklin D Roosevelt Drive and covering seven blocks between 6th and 13 street. Each of the 19 buildings is between six and 14 stories high.
Inside one of the buildings, Tama came across Henry Cames and Geronimo Harrison, a pair of friends who were trudging up to their 11-floor apartments by foot. No power means no working elevators. Cames lit their path with a flashlight clenched in his teeth.
They're some of the luckier ones. Many units at the ground level were flooded during the surge, driving tenants to seek shelter and food wherever they could find it. Upstairs, Harrison heats his apartment with a gas stove.
Baby Selena, pictured below, is blissfully unaware of the drama unfolding outside.
To kids on the 11th floor, the blackout probably seems like a game. Lavell Harrington, pictured below, plays while shining a flashlight while the grownups do the worrying.
While they still wait for help with food and water, residents have set up a makeshift barbecue outside of the buildings. Here, Nico DeGallo serves up hot meals for her neighbors.
According to ConEd, the lights should be returned to lower Manhattan by Saturday morning. On Friday morning, government workers arrived with food, water and other provisions for Lower East Side residents –– nearly five days since Sandy struck.
Business Insider's Julia La Roche was on the scene. For some, she was told, it was too little too late.
"This is the first day the food came down to service us," Dolly, a resident in a nearby government housing building, told Business Insider.
Sharice Vadon, a mother of three, chimed in, "I'm going to be honest. They left us. They came the first day and knocked on the doors and said to everybody, 'Leave,' but they knew not everybody was going to leave. And then they left us."