Last night everyone in New York City was instructed to stay home and await the arrival of Hurricane Sandy, and pretty much everyone-- including many of the TV shows that broadcast from Manhattan-- obeyed. But while Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert canceled their tapings entirely, David Letterman and Jimmy Fallon hung around their studios with a skeleton staff, and decided to move forward with their shows, despite the absence of what's usually a key element: an audience.

I tried to watch both shows here in New York last night, but the networks were still given over to local news coverage and I missed them. But if you're like me you can catch excerpts of both completely surreal broadcasts below, in which Dave does his top 10 list even without the graphics guy who usually puts the list up onscreen (an intern with poster board fills in), and in which Jimmy starts the show on the rain-soaked Rockefeller Plaza, explaining to the viewer just how strange a show they're in for.

Last night in New York City was odd and at times intense, especially around high tide at 8:30 p.m., when some of the most devastating and astonishing photos arrived of the flooding in lower Manhattan. I think if either Jimmy Fallon or David Letterman had been on my TV last night, I wouldn't have wanted to see it-- give me local news and updates instead. But for the rest of the country not in the middle of the hurricane, I have to imagine it was good to see two New Yorkers and their staffs doing just fine-- a reminder that, for the vast majority of the people in the city, the effects of the storm are limited to power outages and gusty winds. There is serious damage all over the New York area that's still being assessed, but at least in Rockefeller Center and the Ed Sullivan Theater, the show goes on.

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