Lisa Chow is the economics reporter at WNYC. She tries to explore in her stories surprising aspects of New York’s many economies—in plain view or hidden, in neighborhoods or sectors.
After waiting in vain for nearly two hours on the city's 311 help line, Louisa Ocean decided to hang up the phone and do it herself.
She went outside at 7 a.m. Tuesday morning and started shoveling her residential street in Midwood in Brooklyn.
Five hours later, Ocean and her husband had successfully dug out her car, but they still had to clear a path from their street, which hadn't seen a single plow during or after the storm, to a main artery in her neighborhood.
"We have to do it ourselves. Nobody else is going to do it for us," said Ocean, who works at the Kings County Clerk's office.
Many city residents outside of Manhattan are fuming about the city's clean-up response after the storm and said snow plow crews still haven't finished clearing many streets.
"I'm really shocked at the city," said Rodney Riddick, a firefighter, who on Tuesday morning was returning home to Midwood from a 24-hour shift in Bedford Stuyvesant, where he said the streets were in even worse condition. "I'm disappointed. I always prided myself that I lived in a city that was really good on responses with emergencies."
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said sanitation workers have been working around the clock and that the crews were slowed down by abandoned cars on the streets. He asked residents to be patient.
Not everyone was upset at the city's response.
"I don't blame the city for anything. The city can only do so much," said Lindell Sapp, another Midwood resident. With all the cars stuck in the snow and blocking the streets, Sapp sympathized with the crews and said it's difficult for them to do their job.
"It's going to get warmer anyway, and eventually the snow will melt and we'll complain about something else," he said.