Forecasters said the latest storm appeared weaker than first thought, but still carried the threat of high winds and storm surges that could cause further damage to the already weakened infrastructure of the country's most densely populated region.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg ordered police to use loudspeakers to warn vulnerable residents, many of them in low-income public housing, about evacuating.
"Even though it's not anywhere near as strong as Sandy – nor strong enough, in normal times, for us to evacuate anybody – out of precaution and because of the changing physical circumstances, we are going to go to some small areas and ask those people to go to higher ground," Mr Bloomberg said.
But many people were deciding to stay, worried about their empty homes being looted.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency said 95,000 people were eligible for emergency housing assistance and just under one million people were still without power in the region.