Becky Kazansky writes:
Through a mesh network first launched in November 2011 through a local nonprofit, residents after the storm were able to alert people to their needs over social media and check up on relatives. Access is limited and the network could, at the time, support only about 100-150 connections simultaneously. But in the wake of a disaster that created a new camaraderie in Manhattan around cellphone charging stations and free wifi, New Yorkers can appreciate that when the neighborhood goes dark, even a scrap of a link to the outside world is better than nothing.
Full Story: TechPresident: In Red Hook, Mesh Network Connects Sandy Survivors Still Without Power
Via The Doctor, a volunteer with Project Byzantium, a Linux distribution that includes mesh networking out of the box. The Byzantium team also helped out during Sandy, as noted in the article.
My interview with The Doctor is here.
See also: Government-less internets