Snow Cleanup Assessment

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

You may have noticed that the snow cleanup seems uneven throughout the city. New York Times reporter Russ Buettner discusses how the city prioritizes the cleanup after a storm. New York City Public Advocate Bill di Blasio joins the conversation and takes listeners' calls on how the city reacted to the blizzard.


Russ Buettner and Bill di Blasio

Comments [102]

SUSY from Midtown Manhattan

There should have been a call for cars, taxis, everyone except for emergency and possibly mass transit to stay off the roads.

The problem was (and I watched this play out on 1st ave all night and into the morning) that cars and busses were stuck in the snow. I saw 7 plows come through, none of them able to plow because of motorists and taxis blocking the way.

It wasn't necessarily sanitation/snow/emergency's poor planning. It was the idiots who thought they could drive in this, ending up blocking the roads for vehicles that really needed to get through (ambulances, plows and cleanup).

Jan. 03 2011 10:18 AM

@ approx - 1:30 PM today - WED - Sanitation skip loader plowing & cleaning 26th Avenue between 14th & 18th ST.

Postman & his car spotted on the avenue & postman on his route. 1st mail since Saturday.

Dec. 29 2010 02:54 PM
Marianne from Staten Island

Did Bloomberg volounteer to run for the 3rd time to devastate this city of all necesseary and required services, including of emergency like fire, ambulance and snow???
He laid off 9000 workers from the public sectors and told us to do more with less (i.e. do your own CPR, sanitation, fire, etc.?)I have lived in Easter Europe before 1976 and have not seen such a breakdown of necessery services since WW II. It is a disgrace in NYC .If this is the best of Capitalism, I want Socialism! Or I want what the Germans, the French, the Swiss and all Scandinavians have in services and infrastructure - not this third-world country garbage corporate mentality!
Bloomberg was pretty clear of fiscal calamnity when he run. Why didn't he put his money to plug some holes instead of promoting himself?

The buck stops with him.
Remember, people when he tries as a No-Party or presidential contender!

Dec. 29 2010 02:52 PM
john from Queens

I just commented to a neighbor of mine about how I noticed some snowplows going down the street with the blades about 6" off the ground - I had never seen that before - in all of my 45 years. I also commented that the plows had been down my street twice and there is still 8" of snow on the ground. He told me he saw a plow park on the side street for 3 hours as though it was stuck and then just back up and leave.

I saw one of my neighbors who works for sanitation shoveling his driveway, nice a slow. I asked him "havn't they call you into work?" he said, with a smile, "yes, but I have to shovel or I get a ticket." Didn't seem to care. told me he was already two hours late and he had to take care of his walk.

Odd behavior. The man who told me about the plow sitting on the side street for three house said he heard from someone working for the city that it was a job action - a work slowdown because the mayor did not give them overtime during year.

I have to believe something is wrong here. This city has managed major snowfalls before without problems like this, something else is wrong.

Dec. 29 2010 11:08 AM
Janice from Brooklyn

Still no plow in Flatbush on E.43rd St between Ave. J & K just 2 blocks off Kings Highway. Guess they are waiting for summer.

Dec. 29 2010 11:03 AM
Mike from Manhattan

The last time I checked the mayor (any mayor) does not drive the snow plows. Union "workers" drive the snow plows. Why is the press ignoring this fact in reporting the slow cleanup and recovery?

Dec. 29 2010 08:41 AM

Late in the afternoon, a plow did a scrape thru along 18th ST between 27th Avenue & Astoria PK SO/Hoyt AVE SO. It's still difficult to cross the street as the corners are piled high. Also, now the parked cars are plowed in by the plow run, so the drivers have to dig out in order to move their cars.

Now to see the depth of the freeze & the heat of the thaw.

Dec. 28 2010 06:15 PM
Mira Schor from New York City, Tribeca

Have you been listening to your own broadcast? Just heard on WNYC-FM local news: Mayor Bloomberg actually said (in defense of not plowing side streets particularly in the boroughs) that there are a lot of "ILLEGAL STREETS" that are "NOT ON THE MAP" !!!! As a friend said, why is it so hard to say you're sorry. Or, isn't obvious that if you cut services, you get bad service and that goes for some of the local politicians who voted to cut services and now are upset because their borough isn't getting plowed fast enough!!!!!

Dec. 28 2010 06:12 PM
Eugenia Renskoff from Brooklyn

Hi, Brian, Williamsburgh, Brooklyn was still full of mountains of snow today, Tuesday. I saw a couple of plow trucks on Broadway near the J subway, but the blocks on Wythe and South 5th near the Williamsburgh Bridge were almost impossible to walk through. I believe that because Manhattan is Manhattan it gets top priority. Eugenia Renskoff

Dec. 28 2010 03:12 PM
Lucky in Dyker Heights

Even within NYC, between different branches or organizations, coordination and agreement on policy in such matters is often problematic...

Excerpt from WWW.NYC.GOV:

"Dumping more than 20 inches of snow in Central Park, the blizzard of Jan. 7-8, 1996, marked the second biggest snowstorm in New York City history. With winds gusting to more than 50 miles an hour, the powerful nor'easter caused widespread power outages, scores of fatalities and $1 billion in damages from Washington, D.C. to Boston.

Thousands of travelers were stranded at City airports, bus terminals, and highway rest stops as transportation ground to a halt. On Jan. 8, New York City public and parochial schools were ordered closed, several Broadway shows canceled performances, and the New York Stock Exchange had a short day."

Unfortunately, it later became an issue for arbitration between the Professional Staff Congress/CUNY and the City University of New York regarding Deduction of Annual Leave Day (Snow Emergency, January 9, 1996) when college staff were docked for staying home because of the storm.

Dec. 28 2010 03:00 PM
edward from elmhurst, Queens

To: Francine (Bay Ridge)
Great Videos. But is there a Machine 2B? Whose purpose would be to "Crush" parked cars in the right-lane, so that Machines 3A & 3B can do their job?
Like I said in my previous post, "It's A Free Country".

Dec. 28 2010 03:00 PM

I am originally from Montreal but live in Bay Ridge Brooklyn.

The Montreal snow removal infrastructure usually involves three snow removal machines: Machine 1- removes the road snow, thus piling up the snow on the sidewalks.
Machine 2-removes the sidewalk snow, thus creating a snow bank between the road the the sidewalk.
Machines 3a and 3b- removes the snow bank (a two vehicle operation: a rolling ice crusher that shots the snow bank residue in a dump truck that follows it side by side).
You can see these little marvels in action on these youtube links:
Machines 1 and 2:
Machines 3a and 3b:

It's baffling to me, that my pay-stub reflects deductions for City ans State Tax, but does not reflect this tax going into infrastructure action.

Please explain....

Dec. 28 2010 02:00 PM
edward from elmhurst, Queens

To take a page from the WNYC website: "It's a Free Country, Man". Freedom to act stupid in the fact of reason. Freedom to drive in a fierce Snowstorm. Perhaps Mayor Mike B. was not as forceful as he should have been in cautioning drivers on Sunday. But Mayor Mike B. handled it diplomatically. Former Mayor Rudy G. might have been more direct.
It is also this "Freedom" that might eventually doom ObamaCare.

Dec. 28 2010 01:53 PM
toby from Midwood, Brooklyn

During previous snowstorms the plows and spreaders were out before the storm started and during the storm to prevent the streets from getting filled up in the first place. A decision was obviously made not to do this this storm. Perhaps for budget issues, maybe staffing issues? I wonder if we'll ever find out the real reason.

Dec. 28 2010 01:30 PM
Marilyn from West Village, Manhattan

After listening to the Brian Lehrer show and the Mayor's press conference, (and looking out my window), it seems to me that one striking difference about this storm- as compared with previous big storms, is the vast number of stuck vehicles, both private and service vehicles-buses, ambulances and even plows. It is intriguing and important to learn the reasons why. Within 2 blocks of my apartment on there are 2 private cars and one taxi that were stuck and abandoned. (in 30 years of living here, I have never seen that before).
So why didn't the private drivers stay off the road? Was it just that the public warnings weren't strong enough? The Mayor and Sanitation commissioner seemed to have figured out that calling for an official 'Snow Emergency' requires those parked in those specific 'Snow Emergency' designated zones on main arterial roads causes parkers to scramble for spaces on the lesser traveled roads. We probably need a new and specific emergency designation which can require more drivers to stay off the streets.

But then, we still need to learn- why did so many buses get stuck? Is it there some thing(s) mechanical about the buses that got stuck, that was not known? Was it the decision to run buses longer to get more passengers home?
One of the callers alerted us to some problems that more computerized trains have in colder snowy weather.
And the ambulances, is it just a matter of better training so that the driver does not try to take the ambulance down the secondary street--as the Mayor suggested.
And what was different about the way the snow came down?
my 2 cents......

Dec. 28 2010 12:47 PM
Liz in Brooklyn from Brooklyn

We live on Clinton Street, south of Union. The first plow just came through, followed by a long line of passenger cars. Union was plowed last night, but had to be stopped at Court Street, where an abandoned SUV blocked the road. On Smith Street last night, we witnessed many drivers barreling recklessly down the road. New Yorkers have to take responsibility too. Leave your car at home, take the subway, or heaven forbid...walk!

Dec. 28 2010 12:33 PM
bernie from bklyn

hey connie from westchester-
you should not comment on this page from your cozy little cul de sac in westchester where people like you "call the guy" if anything ever goes wrong. we are working people who can't go to work and people who can't get an ambulance down our block or a police car anywhere near where the crimes occurring on our block are happening(yes, they are happening).

Dec. 28 2010 12:31 PM
bernie from bklyn

leofromregopark- thank you! finally a voice of reason and nye'er common sense. brian and the reporter from the times and di blasio- don't try and pass this ridiculous logic over on us. plow the roads! why aren't they being plowed? i have no idea. i'm a native ny'er and i've never seen this type of response. the lack of plowing is compounding and causing all the other problems, not the other way around.
it's also the state and city worker work ethic at play here. i saw so many plows just sitting on plowed streets idling, drinking coffee or even worse- plowing the same street over and over again until sparks were shooting up!!! and 1 block away was an entire neighborhood with no abandoned cars on the streets that was not plowed and impassable. no one is in charge.
the mayor is going to use the abandoned cars as his excuse for all of this but it is just not the truth. i was out in this all day and night yesterday on fot and i can testify to that fact.

Dec. 28 2010 12:27 PM
Connie from Westchester

Really! Why are New Yorkers such "cry-babies"? (for the record, I was born and raised in the city) Eh gads, we had a blizzard, already. The snow was blowing off of buildings as well as falling from the sky. This was not any ordinary winter snowstorm. Of couse, vehicles got stuck in the snow... of course, cars got buried in snow banks when the streets were plowed. How can one blame the mayor or anyone else. When will we learn that the force of nature is greater than our ability to contol its effects? Really, Brian, is your program just becoming a "sounding board" for soreheads?

Dec. 28 2010 12:21 PM
Leslie from Mamaroneck

I heard only the last two minutes of the discussion, but did anyone address the fact that residents turn to government in such times, expecting government to quickly and efficiently resolve problems? Yet the ongoing narrative is that government is the problem, not the solution. That taxes are "too damn high". That the private sector and the free market solve problems best. The snafus are the inevitable result of 30 years of Reaganism and the chipping away at the social contract and respect for the public sector. Cuts in services, postponing of capital expenditures, upgrades in infrastructure, denigration of public workers--all resulting also in loss of jobs, by the way. We have the country/state/city we deserve because so many have bought into the conservative narrative. We want simple solutions to complex problems--and, please, don't ask me to pay for anything. Someone else should pay.

Dec. 28 2010 12:17 PM
Michael from Prospect Heights

I live on Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn. The main road has been plowed and the local road has not been plowed. Sidewalks are walkable and getting shoveled more. Its actually really nice not to have cars speeding down the street. Everything is quieter, people are moving slower and walking in the streets.

Please don't plow my street!

Dec. 28 2010 12:07 PM
michael from Brooklyn Heights

I live in Brooklyn Heights. We are generally spoiled with city services. Hence our dismay and disappointment that streets are not plowed. There are numerous abandoned vehicles including: trucks, cars, city plows. Many sidewalks are impassable especially at corners. The city should tow all abandoned vehicles. The city should fine all building owners who do not clear their sidewalks. I went out this morning and helped two older people pass the sidewalk after we saw on fall.

Dec. 28 2010 12:06 PM
Leo from Rego Park

BRIAN!: The reason this is an 'unique' situation with hundred of buses and ambulances stuck it is because the streets were NOT being plowed.
There have been no plows out there plowing and salting as before!. . Please, don't be so gullable!!

Dec. 28 2010 12:05 PM
geTaylor from Brooklyn, NY

Why isn't there some attention to the "green solution" to this mess.
Why weren't more bicycles outfitted with snow plows?
They could have made difference - especially on the streets and avenues with bicycle lanes.

Dec. 28 2010 12:04 PM
snoop from Boreum Hill

The Mayor keeps saying, "if your street has been plowed you are happy, and if your street has not been plowed, you are not happy."

Well, my street was plowed last night, and I'm still not happy.

Where are my taxes going? Are DSNY teams deliberately taking a long time because they want to rack up overtime? Are there not enough of them because of budget cuts?

What's going on?

Dec. 28 2010 12:03 PM

Did Mayor Mike just say there are illegal streets in the city that aren't on maps? Follow-up Friday, please!

Dec. 28 2010 12:02 PM


Bloomie sounds on top of his numbers and stats but very dismissive of any question which implies failure or shortcomings.

Dec. 28 2010 11:59 AM
er-nay from UWS

Not to minimize the lack of snow removal service in the "outer boroughs", but here too, on the UWS there are roads that are totally blocked and have not seen any plow action yet. Maybe this storm was indeed different from others.

Dec. 28 2010 11:55 AM
RL from Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn

Keep calm and help one another...I understand everyone's frustration with the clean up efforts but I'm also dissapointed with the lack of personal and social responsibility that fellow NYers are exhibiting. During past storms it seemed people took the responsibility to avoid driving/making unecessary trips as storms approached, neighbors came together to clear sidewalks, people helped to free stuck vehicles and so on. I've seen very little of that taking place which seems especially strange during the holiday season when we are supposed to be more patient and charitable. Finally, the suspension of parking regulations makes sense but anyone who abandoned their vehicle in the street should receive a ticket (with a moderate fee-nothing crazy) and their car should be immediately towed to a location that is convenient for the general public.

Dec. 28 2010 11:53 AM
Jenny from Princeton NJ

As far as people being on the roads Sunday who shouldn't have been, we were forced to go to JFK from Princeton NJ, because Virgin Atlantic refused to cancel a flight to the UK that we were 99% certain wouldn't go. Our thought was that they were desperate to recoup some of the money they lost in London's Heathrow fiasco last week. The flight actually taxied out after 2 de-icings and supposedly gave up because of the wind (which had been blowing for hours). This morning my husband is finally in the UK—with no luggage. If Virgin had been honest about the situation, they would allowed people to rebook without fare or penalty and spared us and others like us the many dangerous hours on the road. And they would not have lost my loyalty and probably that of many other customers.

Dec. 28 2010 11:52 AM
jenpinbar from Cobble Hill, Bklyn

Just heard on the radio the comment from the woman in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, about Baltic St.'s stranded vehicles. I live around the corner on Clinton St. I'm surprised she didn't mention the stranded ambulance, which was abandoned at Clinton & Baltic sometime Sunday night after having gone the *wrong way* down Clinton St. You know the situation is bad when even the ambulance is abandoned...

Dec. 28 2010 11:51 AM
John from NJ, SI & now inside Bklyn

Look where is personal responsibility. This was different for many reasons. Among them was that it took place over a major holiday weekend where so many were busy & naturally distracted by celebrating the birth of Jesus. For those who don't look at CHRISTmas as a religous HOLYiday, they still celebrate it as a time for family gathering & gift giving. Sunday is also football day with the 2 NY teams desperate for wins to make the playoffs. I remember hearing that we were to get some snow CHRISTmas night into sunday. That then was moved to Sunday night. So when I woke up late sunday morning in NJ, it was already snowing & sticking. We thought 2-4 inches was coming, till our older sister came over & she said no they are saying a foot or more! Instead of leaving earlier, I stayed visiting with family, pre-occuppied with watching the Fockers movies so they could catch up on the story before they saw the newest movie. When I left at 2pm the roads were getting bad. Instead of going straight home, I stopped at friends on SI to watch the games. While it was getting worse, clearly a blizzard, I thought he is near the bridge & I don't have to even get on the SI Exressway (I278), so don't worry. Father Capadano Blvd was terrible at 7pm when I finally left. It didn't look like a plow hit it yet. I did see a plow on the other side, but that wasn't helping me. It took me about 2 hours to get home, 3+ miles to Bay Ridge, with over an hour just to get on the VZB, which had the lower level closed, an accident involving a bus on the right & cars stuck on the left, with only the middle lane open & no visibility at all. I should have left NJ at noon & went right home. Since I didn't I should have stayed on my friend's couch or went back when the bridge was so backed up. But no I kept going home. I am glad I made it & can see from 1st hand experience why so many got stuck. While this mayor stole a 3rd term & I would never support him for that reason alone, he is not to blame. All politicians want to do is blame someone, so they can score points & appease the voters for selfish politcal purposes, Katrina with snow, a lot of snow. When this amount of snow comes, as it did, with that wind, no one, no mayor, sanitation dept is going to make everything OK. It is just not possible. We seem to look to govt or somone else to always make things work. This is not TV, there is no Jack Bauer who is going to "fix everything in 24 hours"! People don't know reality. They are lazy & always looking to blame someone else. Snow happens, sometimes it happens a lot & at inopportune times. Fable of this long story is when it comes down like it did, leave early, or stay with family or friends watching mindless entertainment on TV, further weakening your mind. But at least there were so many leftovers to eat!

Dec. 28 2010 11:51 AM

how's bloombergs spainish?

Dec. 28 2010 11:51 AM
Erin from Brooklyn

I moved to New York City from Minneapolis 9 years ago. The job of snow removal and the attitude of citizens in NYC are laughable.

When winter weather threatens in Mpls-St Paul, Snow Emergency is declared early, plows are deployed in advance of the precipitation, and citizens are expected to follow the rules accordingly. Don't go out, in your car, on foot, and so on. Let the professionals get their jobs done so that city streets and sidewalks will be passable and safe again as soon as possible. Although it is somewhat common sense, there also are a series of rules which are enforced by the cities that people follow.
New York City gets a big snow at least once every year. This is not unexpected. Unfortunately every year people are out slipping around in their cars and on foot, travelers end up stranded, streets not plowed, work not reachable. It boggles the mind.
If we are not able to take a cue from the organized Scandanavians in the Northern Midwest, perhaps we could take a note from the practices of our upstate sister cities (i.e. Buffalo and Rochester) who surely handle snow removal better than this.

Dec. 28 2010 11:50 AM
Amanda Remus from Greenpoint

I would like someone to tell me what the arterial streets are. The city needs to allow the people who actually live in the neighborhoods the opportunity to discuss those decisions. Maybe McGuiness Boulevard and Nassau/Bedford are not important streets to the city, but they are absolutely arterial roads to the people who live in this neighborhood (which is 35,000 more people thanks to Bloomberg's rezoning.) Someone needs to explain to me why two buses were trapped across Nassau Avenue at Kingland, blocking the most important street on our side of Greenpoint.

My neighbors cleared my sidewalk- as I was out of town- the sidewalks were passable because the people cleared them. My husband and I spent an hour- and got neighbors out with shovels- to help an old man trying to take his very elderly mother home five streets, while the bus workers who had the original two buses stuck and had brought a third into the mix on Kingsland, thus blocking that traffic as well, sat in the pizza shop eating on the corner of Nassau and Kingsland. The bus workers were incredibly rude to the neighborhood people who were asking if the third bus could be moved out of the only passable street (Kingsland) as they walked to the pizza shop. It was amazing to hear how those MTA workers felt empowered by their own impotence and failure.
I have never seen anything like it here. No information was available on the city's condition or we would have stayed out of town. I am horrified that the city has truly left its citizens to work together while its workers seem to have been instructed to sit about or stop working with the citizens it is meant to serve.
We worked very hard to get that old man off Monitor Street because all of us were aware that there was no way a fire engine or an ambulance would be able to get to people in the neighborhood as the two buses were blocking Nassau (a major arterial street to this neighborhood). We understood the danger and we cared about our fellow neighbors.
The question is whether the Mayor is Manhattan-centric? Is the Pope Catholic? Give me a season and I will tell you how we New Yorkers living in other wonderful and amazing neighborhoods that are- on paper, particularly our tax paper- considered to be part of NYC are treated like second class citizens. This is just another example. Let me comment in June and I would comment that it is horrid that they do not do the July 4th fireworks on the East River, where hundreds of thousands of tax paying citizens can ALL enjoy the fireworks- with places to view on the Manhattan and the Brooklyn/Queens side of the river...
I dislike the Mayor intensely. I think he has been very manipulative and I look forward to the end of his term. That said, I fear that what will make him lose interest in "remaking" NYC is an eye on the White House. Ack.

Dec. 28 2010 11:50 AM
Jaysee from an outsider from NNJ

Listening to the mayor... he's talking about 5 trucks here, a dozen there borrowed, etc. ... these quantities seem trivial compared to the hundreds of street in the five boros... think he bragged there are 14 tow trucks out today... 14 for the 5 boros? I would think he'd be talking about HUNDREDS of machines being in service for this emergency.

Dec. 28 2010 11:49 AM
Ellen from brooklyn

To Larry from Brooklyn:

I live in Crown Heights but work in Williamsburg on Leonard St. Normally I take the B48, but obviously that was not happening today. I was able to get here by taking subway via Manhattan. Luckily I'm near good trains that run often so I have options (many people are not so lucky).

Williamsburg is NOTHING like Crown Heights in terms of plowing. Trust me, the snow on Franklin Ave is not merely drifts. Those high piles of snow on the side of road? Where I live those piles of snow continue right across the street. You can't even tell there is a road. It's seamless with the snow on the sidewalk.

Sure, we can't expect a perfect and immediate clean up. And there are many reasons the snow has not been cleared. But you're talking from a place that is relatively cleaned up so you have no idea what most people are actually complaining about.

Dec. 28 2010 11:48 AM
Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

There are several issues with this snow storm - and all the others:

If people know there is a snow storm imminent, they should stay off the streets. I was supposed to drive to PA Sunday, but because I had checked the weather report, I decided against it because I didn't want to get stuck coming home. Meteorology, as inexact a science as it may be, is around for a reason. People who don't check the forecasts before they go out are asking for trouble.

That said, municipalities are responsible for clearing snow, but it seems that although ALL the residents of NYC pay the same percentages in property taxes and payroll taxes, the residents of Manhattan seem to get better services. Ironically, many of the businesses in Manhattan are staffed by residents of the "outer boroughs," and if we can't get out, the Manhattan businesses will suffer.

I've been living in Brooklyn since 1989 and I think this is the worst year with regard to how the snow has been handled. I do remember not being able to take the subway to work for two days in 1996, but now we haven't even got bus service.

The other problem, though, is the way the snow is handled. What SHOULD happen is that once an inch of snow has fallen, the salt/sand trucks should come out sprinkling a mixture of 20-25% salt and 80-75% sand. When the traffic drives over that, it will pretty much turn it to mush and it won't refreeze and won't need to be plowed. Additional accumulations should be treated the same way, so that the snow can evaporate.

When the city plows, the snow blocks in vehicles and covers storm drains and is plowed into glaciers which keep themselves cold and remain for weeks.

The mayor sounds like he has a cold; maybe that's what's affecting his brain. If the salt/sand trucks had gone out early, this whole mess could have been avoided.

In addition, the MTA should run repair trains over the elevated tracks every hour to keep them clean. They had these same issues in previous years so they should know better.

We are human beings with brains and opposable thumbs. Why can't we learn from our mistakes?

Dec. 28 2010 11:48 AM
Mike from Brooklyn

My neighborhood major blocks have not been plowed. Nostrand Avenue, Avenue U, Bedford Avenue, Kings Highway have not been plowed. Neither have any of the residential blocks in the area! Mayor Bloomberg better remember Mayor Lindsay.

Dec. 28 2010 11:45 AM
Venezia from Park Slope, Brooklyn

I think that the timing of the storm affected cleanup. More staff than usual were probably away for Christmas, and those who were around were probably not as "on their game" as they might have been. I know how I feel trying to get back to work after a holiday - magnify that over thousands of workers, and you've got a slow response to a storm!

Dec. 28 2010 11:44 AM
Leo from Rego Park

I'm listening to the mayor now and he is LYING through his teeth.. The problem preventing the plowing of streets is NOT stuck vehicles.. Vehicles were stuck yesterday during the day because of emergencies and because streets were not plowed.. If you read between the line you can see that street cleaning is now being privatized - somehow the City no longer has enough sanitation trucks that can be retroffitted to plow and salt the streets.. What happened with the equipment in 8 short years?

Dec. 28 2010 11:44 AM
CH from Staten Island

Almost noon still haven't seen a plow here. Last night there was NO mass transit, no buses from the ferry terminal even though bay Street WAS passable. The man-who-would-be-king Mayor showed HIS priorities with his "have fun" "go see a broadway show" "stay off the streets, take mass transit" "I feel your pain" garbage. This response is indefensable, inexcusabe and pathetic.

Dec. 28 2010 11:44 AM
toby from Midwood, Brooklyn

I've been listening to the show, and I have to say that the poor clean up is not due to the storm. There simply has not been any plows out in my neighborhood at all since the beginning of the storm, and my street is still not cleared. The cars got stuck because the streets were not cleared, not the other way around.

Dec. 28 2010 11:43 AM
constance christensen from park slope

I've lived in Park Slope for 40 years and every once in a while we get a horrific storm. Nature happens. The City deals each time less well than we would like. That's life.

But I want to know how many of these complainers have not shoveled their own walks? PS, a brownstone neighborhood of mainly 20 ft wide houses, should have all walks cleared by now. Bottom line, only large apartment buildings have really cleared their walks (staff is nice). But if you are in a house, you should manage 20 feet.

Dec. 28 2010 11:43 AM
Moses from Brooklyn

I have heard some helicopters in the neighborhood but did not see who they were. Hopefully, they are taking picutres of the lack of progress in snow removal.

Dec. 28 2010 11:43 AM

I understand that it takes time to get things going, but the city and various transportation entities needs to communicate better. People were left stranded thinking that certain buses and things were still running. My boyfriend and I were stuck in Jackson Heights along with a lot of other would-be travelers trying to catch the Q33 bus to La Guardia. No signs were posted, and the website also said they were running. We paid $30 just to get a ride to the airport only to find out our flight had been canceled. And then we were almost stuck at the airport as there were no buses, and taxis were hard to come by, etc.

The MTA especially just needs to let us know what's going on!

Dec. 28 2010 11:43 AM

why does prince michael think one can only start plowing once the snow ends?

Dec. 28 2010 11:43 AM
judith from park slope

in 1996 no plows got to the south end of park slope (12th and 8th ave) 'til 2 or 3 days later. it was more snow than this. not so windy.

Dec. 28 2010 11:42 AM
Tracy from Rego Park

I just want to know what happen to MTA. It said all buses run local stop but that is not true. There are limited buses running limited stops which is not full and local buses are so full that they skipped stops. I waited almost 40 mins for the bus.

Dec. 28 2010 11:41 AM

What's odd in Astoria near Astoria Park is that not only have Sanitation plows not come through, but neither have Parks Dept. equipment, etc.

Also, the City made a big noise about hiring independent contractors with dump trucks, skip loaders, etc. What's the cost comparison between hiring these independents & the cost of those fired/early-retired workers. Also, those "additional" City employees would also self-limit the necessity of hiring private contractors.

Dec. 28 2010 11:40 AM


Dec. 28 2010 11:39 AM
Phil from Park Slope

BTW, as the temp goes slightly above freezing today and the next few days, the snow is only going to get super dense and difficult to remove. Then it will turn into very slippery ice.

I worked at a ski area in my youth, and I know the only way to stay ahead of a fast storm like this is to start clearing it right away so it doesn't build up. Once it gets away from you and starts solidifying, you're in trouble.

Dec. 28 2010 11:36 AM
anne from Long Island

Please do a segment addressing the very unsafe practices of the MTA during the storm. A close relative took the 7 train from Times Sq. as the LIRR had shut down completely. The train began experiencing brake problems (approximately 2:30-3:00am) and all passengers (standing room) were discharged at a stop near Qns. Blvd. and 46th St. Many passengers waited for 45 minutes on the platform (windchill factor at 0), until they gave up, started walking in the streets, sought shelter in various bank lobbies and doughnut shops. A cab or two pounced on; no buses, no more trains. The 7 didn't start up again until about 8:30 am. Many passengers unprepared for the cold. Very dangerous.

Dec. 28 2010 11:35 AM
Chris from Park Slope

I live on 11th treet between 4th and 5th ave. in Park Slope Brooklyn and as of this morning, Tues, Dec. 28, NOT ONE PLOW has gone down our street since the storm! Neighbors have cleared the sidewalks, but the street is completely blocked. In past storms, they kept plows running through the night, so the streets were at least passable. The plan here seems to be to just wait 'till it melts!

Dec. 28 2010 11:35 AM
Jeff from South Park Slope, Brooklyn

For what it's worth, 21st Street in Brooklyn between 4th and 5th Avenues has been plowed as of 3am last night.

Dec. 28 2010 11:35 AM
Theresa Seabaugh from Park Slope, Brooklyn

Park Slope- obviously underserved. The intersection of 6th Ave & President St has been blocked by mini buses since yesterday and abandoned cars have made it worse. PS Food Coop workers are trying to keep cars at the intersection of 7th Ave & Union one way so the fire truck can get out. Where are the police; isn't this their job? It's really a disaster & no luck getting through to 311.

Dec. 28 2010 11:35 AM

forget the extra bodies! was every plow that the city owns out and plowing?
that a simple yes or no.

Dec. 28 2010 11:34 AM
Bobby G from East Village

I'm inclined to give the mayor and the Sanitation Dept. a little break here. This was a tremendous, wind swept storm. The airports were shut down, Amtrak was shut down, the LIRR was shut down, and people expect everything in the city to functioning. It might just take a little time.

Dec. 28 2010 11:34 AM
Lonnie from Brooklyn!!!

To all the younger whiney babies out there. . . The rule is SIMPLE: If you can't see across the street-- it's a VERY BAD STORM.

And a VERY BAD STORM means: you DON'T GO OUT, By FOOT or By CAR.

And for you people grousing that the streets have to be cleared so EMS can get thru. . .Mother Nature Trumps Human Needs. If you have a Heart Attack in the Middle of a Blizzard, that is the same as an Act of God. the message is simple: Your time may be up. Get your affairs in Order.

Dec. 28 2010 11:33 AM
Jane Coffey from Crown Heights Brooklyn

I live on Prospect Place, none of the streets are plowed here, even Franklin Ave which is a main thoroughfare. My landlady has a troublesome heart condition and I worry if she needs to get to the hospital she won't be able to.

Dec. 28 2010 11:31 AM
Teresa from Carroll Gardens Brooklyn

While this is the first time my block (1st St between Hoyt and Bond) wasn't plowed right away (and still has not been) I was more horrified to find out this morning at 8:00 AM that the steps to the Coney Island bound F-train had not been cleared and were treacherous. People were climbing up the steps, holding desperately onto the railing to not fall, slipping, sliding.

Dec. 28 2010 11:31 AM
Antonio Gonzalez from Luquer St, Btwn Hicks & Columbia sts, Brooklyn, NY

Yesterday, December 27, I went to the site and reported the block I live on as being unplowed. To date it is still unplowed. I live on Luquer St, between Hicks and Columbia streets, brooklyn. The city has a tough job. Also does not help that snow is being shoveled from the sidewalk onto the street.

Dec. 28 2010 11:30 AM

now more than ever i have no idea what a Public Advocate does, other than turn tax dollars into his salary?

Dec. 28 2010 11:29 AM
Kali from Prospect Heights, Brooklyn

I think everyone is being highly unrealistic and unhelpfully whiny about the progress of the snow clean up. There was a massive snow fall, obviously all the streets aren't going to be cleaned up within a few hours! And the Public Advocate's complaints about people not being told that they shouldn't drive during the year's worst storm is ridiculous. It was basic common sense to not drive. Everyone who drove and got stuck should take responsibility for their bad decision and they should get a ticket for blocking the street with their abandoned cars!

Dec. 28 2010 11:28 AM
Moses from Brooklyn

In Brooklyn, Rogers Avenue has not been plowed. The sidewalk on Rogers between Montgomery and Empire is not cleared. There is a City bus stuck on Empire and Nostrand since yesturday.

Dec. 28 2010 11:28 AM
eli from Brooklyn, NY

I live in the Midwood section of Brooklyn. Not one plow has gone down either the streets or avenues in my neighborhood since this storm began. No cars can go down my street at all. This has never happened before

Dec. 28 2010 11:27 AM
snoop from Boreum Hill


I've been out, and yes, there are some abandoned cars here and there. But I don't believe that they explain the massive inability to plow.

As for prioritizing manhattan over the other boroughs, there is little need to plow manhattan. You can get around by manhattan easily by subway. The people who are stuck out where the subways are shut down are the people who really need plowing and they are LAST on the priority list.

Dec. 28 2010 11:26 AM
Adele Cohen from Brighton Beach

I tried to get information about the subways yesterday after the storm the old fashioned way - listening to the radio - switching among a couple of stations. Finally I turned on the TV. All these media were obsessed with reporting about plowing streets, airport delays, bus service in New Jersey and Metro North. My simple question: what about Q & B subway service?

I finally went to the MTA website for information. Do all subway riders have computers? How many don't speak English?

It is now two days later, and I am still home in Brighton Beach. My two subway lines are still not operating, a total disgrace. Thousands upon thousands of people use these trains but because we live in the outer part of an outer borough we remain prisoners.

Dec. 28 2010 11:25 AM
nyrker from west side

Yesterday I heard on the radio that the city initially announced that there was alternative street parking in effect and then announced that there would not be alternate side parking.

Also, re "don't go out" repeated over and over, what caused the traffic problems, aside from streets not being plowed!, was not people going out, but people driving cars.

Last nite W 73rd St, like many other side streets on the westside, was blocked by the huge snowbanks left by snowplows on the avenues.

Dec. 28 2010 11:25 AM
renee feinberg from newark airport

we, too, were spun by the mayor and made our way in a commandeered taxi to newark airport last night from manhattan penn sta (nj transit had declared power outage in newark, we should have connected these dots and gone home) only to find out once at the airport that continental airlines had cancelled flights at about 6 pm.

they emailed us at 8 pm for a 11 pm international flight. we would have stayed home if a snow emergency was called.

Dec. 28 2010 11:25 AM
Leo in NYC

A friend of mine already helped to dig TWO separate ambulances out of the snow. Why not equip ambulances with snow plows so that in an emergency they can make it down streets that are otherwise blocked?

Dec. 28 2010 11:25 AM
Cory from Manhattan

If your going to have, as just one example, cops retiring at age 40 at full pay thanks to overtime games you're not going to have any money to plow streets. It's just that simple. Wait until spring. It will melt.

Dec. 28 2010 11:24 AM
EducatedinBhurst from Bensonhurst

The city is trying to blame us for their utter mismanagement of this snow storm. People have always been out in cars during storms. The difference is that the city was not keeping up with the clean-up in the manner that they usually do. I live in Bensonhurst, on a side street. I suspect I won't be out until the thaw. But the major streets have not been cleaned either. 86th Street is a major roadway and it is down to one lane, total, not each side.
I called 311 and after hanging on for a full game of scrabble, discovered that I was disconnected. I sent an e-mail. But really, do they need us to tell them that nothing has been plowed? I think they are pretty clear on this, and have chosen to do nothing.

Dec. 28 2010 11:24 AM
Kathleen from Woodside, Queens

Speaking of buses - in Woodside 39th Ave there are 4 buses abandoned overnight and on 61st 37th Ave there are 3 buses stuck overnight , one blocking intersection

Dec. 28 2010 11:23 AM
Matt from Sunnyside

The urban growth machine at work -- the idea that city governments aren't at all mandated to support residents, just productivity. Our mayor doesn't even bother to pretend that the city is anything other than a big factory.

And then he blames us for all the problems.

Boy, do I despise this man.

Dec. 28 2010 11:22 AM
William from Manhattan

What's this hysteria from the Public Advocate? We should stay in our apartments because it's snowing? Get real - I hope you mean Don't drive your car. Which I say is good advice pretty much any time!

Dec. 28 2010 11:22 AM

Quit complaining about plowing streets when a major storm hits NYC--it takes a while to clear 12+ inches of snow. How about a complaint call-in for those of us who couldn't even GET to the city due to the storm. I had 9 flights cancel on me and had to drive, fly, and take trains through eight states yesterday to get back to NYC to get to work.

Dec. 28 2010 11:22 AM
Linda Brown

Lots of abandoned cars and unplowed streets in Bay Ridge. I'm interested in what the plan is to remove all the abandoned cars, like the one on my street, 74th Street between 4th and 5th.

Dec. 28 2010 11:22 AM
Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

I'm on East 23rd Street in Marine Park, Brooklyn. We haven't been plowed yet. I understand from a friend that the plows were going up and down Nostrand Avenue every 5 minutes but avoiding all the numbered streets.

I work in Brooklyn and this is the second day I was told to stay home. Our office on Coney Island Avenue was closed because there are no buses.

Dec. 28 2010 11:21 AM
Morgen from Chinatown

A friend of mine talked to a sanitation worker in Brooklyn yesterday and he evidently said that the sanitation commissioner decided not to plow the streets until the snow stopped. By the time they got out there, it was a much more difficult task than it otherwise would have been and now they are blaming it on abandoned cars. This would explain why I didn't hear a SINGLE plow when I was out at 1am on Monday. It also explains why my street in Chinatown is still not plowed.

Dec. 28 2010 11:21 AM
Phil from Park Slope

Normally, every tiny snow flurry is hyped relentlessly for days in advance by the local news promo departments, but for some reason this one slipped through the marketing cracks--due to the holidays? I think the fact that the city was caught off guard confirms my theory that people get a large amount of their news from promos.

I spent about an hour helping dig out a 4x4 stuck in the middle of my street last night--the guy was on the way back from taking a fallen senior to the hospital because an ambulance couldn't make it.

The depth on the side streets here in Park Slope has clearly gotten ahead of what the garbage trucks can push with a straight blade.

Dec. 28 2010 11:20 AM
Jim Kontnier from carrol gardens brooklyn

1st Place and Court street in Carrol Gardens Brooklyn is not plowed as of yet. Court Street is about 1.5 lanes. My question would be to wonder if all the west village streets have been plowed yet? Surely those cannot be considered arterial? I work for a Major retailier in the city and was surprised when I heard that the store was going to try and open yesterday. I would think that it would be in the public safety concern that a snow emergency would have instructed the store to remain closed. Our main store in Manhattan was open yesterday as well. what sort of congestion and danger was caused by having non esential people come in to the city, any borough, for work?

Dec. 28 2010 11:19 AM
Peter from Astoria

It is of no use for the Mayor to ask people to stay home if the businesses that employ them have a financial interest in remaining open.

All Broadway shows went as planned - forcing workers to get from Queens & Brooklyn into Midtown, not to mention the thousands of patrons.

Businesses that don't shut during a snow emergency should be fined tremendously.

Bingo! Snow removal budget problems solved.

Dec. 28 2010 11:19 AM
Larry from Brooklyn

I am in Williamsburg. Plowing started Sunday night on Leonard St and was regular but in the morning it looked as if it had not been done at all due to the blowing drifts (I would have thought none had been done if I had not seen it the night before). Grand St (larger) looked clear. Leonard St was plowed by 9 or so but the smaller cross streets took a couple more hours it seems. I think they did a pretty good job given the snowfall and blowing wind. I think our expectations are unrealistic.

Why do people need to be told to stay home (at least off roads) in a blizzard? Can't they figure that out for themselves? Seems not.

Dec. 28 2010 11:19 AM
Mike from Brooklyn

Common sense??? It was clear to anyone that driving was impossible. Yet folks still HAD to drive. They should receive summons just for stupidity besides blocking roads.

Dec. 28 2010 11:18 AM
Mickie T from Forest Hills

Another Queens report: I'm in Forest Hills, one block from Queens Boulevard, and no side streets have been plowed.

We have an abandoned car in our intersection - which is one of most popular streets here leading to Queens Boulevard - and last night, an ambulance got stuck trying to rescue a stuck car.

Queens Boulevard is only fairly drivable. Crosswalks have been carved out simply by pedestrians making their own paths, not shoveled by any authority.

Dec. 28 2010 11:18 AM

and the MTA did a worse job than the city.
entrances to the subways not cleared and trains still not running.

Dec. 28 2010 11:17 AM
Mickie T from Forest Hills

Another Queens report: I'm in Forest Hills, one block from Queens Boulevard, and no side streets have been plowed.

We have an abandoned car in our intersection - which is one of most popular streets here leading to Queens Boulevard - and last night, an ambulance got stuck trying to rescue a stuck car.

Queens Boulevard is only fairly drivable. Crosswalks have been carved out simply by pedestrians making their own paths, not shoveled by any authority.

Dec. 28 2010 11:17 AM
Leo from Rego Park

This meme about the 'abandoned cars' is a red herring!..

There are hardly any stuck abandoned cars.. In my walks to the subway in Rego Park and Elmhurst the only cars that are stuck are parked on the side of the streets where cars don't normally park.. But the streets are open.. They have just not been plowed.. There was NO EFFORT at ALL yesterday and last night to plow any of the streets in Queens.. There were no plows or salt trucks..
The mayor and the public advocate are full of it if they are blaming this on abandoned vehicles.. The answer is that there were NO ATTEMPTS to plow the streets!. I only ended up seeing plows last night at 10:30 PM when 4 plows passed in a row doing nothing except for the 4th plow which was plowing.

Dec. 28 2010 11:16 AM

10:30 AM 29 Dec
I live in Kensington (Brooklyn). None of the side streets have been plowed. They are strewn with abandoned cars, mini buses, and even city buses. The service roads on either side of Ocean Pkwy have not been plowed. Ocean Pkwy itself has been kept clear since the start of the storm. However, the center of Ocean Pkwy is being used as a parking lot, impeding the passage of emergency vehicles. Is any other major artery being used as a parking lot, or is it unique to this neighborhood? Let me know, readers.
Today is worse than yesterday, as motorists are venturing out and getting stuck on the cross streets.
Since the Mayor has not hesitated to exercise dictatorial powers in other situations, perhaps he might consider banning all non emergency vehicles at the start of the next major blizzard. It is almost impossible to plow many side streets with all the abandoned vehicles.

Dec. 28 2010 11:10 AM
Patricia from Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn

Yours truly, a truly disgruntled Brooklyn resident, emailed and called her local electeds this morning with this message: "Not one NYC sanitation truck with a snow plow has been down our street or any of our surrounding "secondary" - or is it "tertiary"? - streets in our neck of Bed-Stuy since the blizzard began -- and there are now sections of these roads where high winds have created drifts more than two and a half feed deep. I guess the Mayor doesn't believe that my neighbors and family have anywhere important to get to anytime soon. And what about my elderly neighbors with limited mobility and other shut-ins needing food and other household necessities? Has anyone at City Hall thought of them? I ask you to ask the Mayor why is Bed-Stuy still buried under snow when friends and family of mine who live in Manhattan have had their streets cleared since early yesterday afternoon?"

Dec. 28 2010 11:09 AM
Rick from UES

@ JC from Manhattan. You are forgetting everyone that must commute in to provide basic and emergency services in Manhattan. I hope you don't need to go to the hospital. My poor nurse friend just finished a 48 hour shift at a major hospital emergency room because no one could arrive to relieve the nurses from their shifts.

Dec. 28 2010 11:04 AM
Emily from Park Slope, Brooklyn

I heard Bloomberg didn't want to pay sanitation workers' overtime, so he delayed sending out the snowplows. He should have declared a snow emergency, ordering all but non-emergency vehicles to stay clear of the streets.

Brooklyn's a mess this Tuesday morning. Waited one hour for an R train at Union Street--so crowded, even in the center of the cars, that noone could get on. The station "master" eventually came out and made an announcement that there was no end in the sight, and to walk or bus ourselves to Atlantic.

It sure is beautiful, though.

Dec. 28 2010 11:03 AM

If we've seen zero response in 36 hours, when will we see a response? I would have thought that they would have at least cleared the streets for emergency response. I am beginning to lose hope that the city intends to do anything at all.
Why is this year's storm SO much different than other storms? Has most of the NYC sanitation department workforce been laid off or what?
I keep hearing how Long Island and NJ are plowed... inexplicable!

Dec. 28 2010 11:01 AM
rick from UES

The mayor is lying through his teeth! He is a third term mayor, he knows better than anyone that the city and MTA response to this storm has been neglectful.

So nice to live in Manhattan during this snow storm.

Dec. 28 2010 10:54 AM

someone from sanitation told told a cop friend that "the city took away their OT and gave it to DOT - that's why nothing is getting plowed."

could this be true. is this (like in england) part of the don't tax me budget cuts that we have to live with now.

Dec. 28 2010 10:52 AM
Leo from Rego Park, Queens

I think that our politicians need to come clean and either say that we are trying to save money since this is really an 'off' week and that they intentionally did not really make much of an effort to clean the streets or that the money is being diverted to other purposes.
Only main thoroughfares were somewhat plowed as of last night. Where I live in Queens NONE of the side streets were plowed and cars, ambulances and trucks could not get through.. Even a street for a bus route.. I was absolute shocked to get to the UWS last night and find that most of the side streets (West 73rd for instance) that had NOT been plowed and were impassable. This was after schlepping through the subway station and encountering overcrowded, trash filled platforms (garbage cans were full and trash all around them) that had not been cleaned since at least Friday and over an hour commute. One has to wonder where the money is going since it is not going to provide basic services. We've had the amount collected in property taxes more than double due to the inflated assessments from the real estate boom and we've had subway fare increases of more than 100% in the last 8 years plus significant increases in fees and fines due to the criminalization of such immoral activities such as riding a bike or owning a home..
One has to wonder how a snow storm that is not as major as some we've had in the last 10 years would cause such disruptions to our public transport system - Filthy stations, non-functioning subway; NO bus service in Queens, and no plowing or salting of 90% of streets.. where is the money going? What services are we getting?

Dec. 28 2010 10:44 AM

In Astoria, under the Triboro the sidestreets are still unplowed. It looks like another day without mail, etc. Some cars get through, but the closest deli, pizza parlor seem to be running low on some items, with an unknown delay in re-stocking.

Dec. 28 2010 10:21 AM
JC from Manhattan

Look, we need to face facts. The movers and shakers in this town live in Manhattan. The jobs that these people do are simply more important than those that the support people in the outer boroughs perform. Therefore, Manhattan needs to have first priority on services, especially passable streets. How else does anyone expect the city to function? Why do you think people pay so much to live in the city?

Dec. 28 2010 10:21 AM
Mabel from Neptune, NJ

I cannot get back to my home in Manhattan because I am marooned at the Jersey Shore (no Snooki in sight!) In fact a snow plow filled with salt got stuck in front of our family house in Neptune NJ at 3am Monday morning amidst the brunt of the blizzard. And as of Wednesday 10am it's still mired in the snow and our streets still haven't been plowed. I have never seen this happen in over 40 years!

Dec. 28 2010 10:15 AM
Sue from UWS

It's not just the outer boroughs being ignored. As of last night, my block - W. 75th St. between Columbus and Amsterdam, Manhattan - was not plowed. Nothing was blocking the street. And everywhere on the UWS, it was impossible to cross the street without climbing a several-feet-high wall of snow and ice, even at intersections.

Dec. 28 2010 10:14 AM
Eric from Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn

I have never seen southern Brooklyn treated this way following a snow storm. Of course we've never had a mayor before who defined the city's status strictly as how the Broadway shows and the tourist-oriented restaurants are doing.

Two to three of the four Coney Island-terminating subway lines remain out of service for what may be an unprecedented amount of time (possibly breaking records set by any blackouts). To make matters worse, the bus lines that could carry passengers between the lines that may - or may not - be working are inoperable.

I attempted to catch a bus to a train hours before I needed to be at work but was unable to - meanwhile, my co-workers from outer Queens and New Jersey (New Jersey!) made it to work just fine. This is unbelievable.

Dec. 28 2010 09:41 AM

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