Amateur video uploaded to YouTube on Monday night showed a nearly empty Times Square -- a rare sight in an area of New York City that is almost always jammed full of cars and people.

The brightly-lit area is a major hub for the entertainment industry and a frequent destination for tourists from around the world. But as Hurricane Sandy quickly approached the east coast, Times Square was only populated by a couple of taxi drivers and a handful of pedestrians.

Like much of the northern east coast, New York City was in lockdown as the storm approached.

Officials preemptively shut down the city's mass transit system, closed all four bridges over the East River into Manhattan and shut off power to parts of downtown Manhattan. Most businesses, including the New York Stock Exchange, closed for the day as well.

High winds and flooding from the superstorm are expected to cause about $20 billion in damage.

Watch video, uploaded to YouTube, below: