Photos: Charging stations as power source, meeting place, and the new face of disaster relief

The roar of generators can be heard throughout lower Manhattan as the area slowly creeps back to life. With the electricity grid still off, these rumbling machines are bringing power to buildings, pumping out flooded basements, or in many cases charging cellphones and other gadgets.

In areas without power, the charging station has become a common sight and a relief to residents. There are tricks to saving your cellphone battery, but the powerless will eventually have to juice up. Large companies like Duracell and Time Warner have turned the power crisis into a marketing opportunity by sending branded wifi and charging station trucks around New York City, while less formal operations are run by churches, politicians, government agencies, and others.

Bike Charging East Village 11022012
A man rides a stationary bicycle to generate power to charge mobile devices for free to residents in Manhattan’s East Village (Getty Images / Mario Tama)
Tribeca Charging 11022012
People in New York’s Tribeca neighborhood wait to charge their cellphones with a generator setup on a sidewalk. (AP Photo / Richard Drew)
Silver Charging 11022012
New York Assemblyman Sheldon Silver’s staff set up a charging station in New York’s Chinatown neighborhood. (AP Photo / Craig Ruttle)
Church Charging Station 11022012
People rest and charge devices at Saints Peter and Paul Church in Hoboken, New Jersey. (Getty Images / Mario Tama)
Charging in the dark in New York’s East Village (Getty Images / Allison Joyce)
Queens Charging Station line 11022012
Lines for a charging station set up by local government in the Rockaway neighborhood in the borough of Queens, New York. (Getty Images / Spencer Platt)
Chase Charging station 11022012
Banks are a popular spot for makeshift charging stations. (Getty Images / Andrew Burton)
Residents in the Rockaway section of Queens , New York, charge their phones at a government generator. (Getty Images / Spencer Platt)
An outdoor outlet in the Tribeca neighborhood of New York City. (Quartz / Gloria Dawson)
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