Mayor Bloomberg said the city's response to the snowstorm Wednesday morning showed it had improved its clean-up and preparedness methods since the bungled handling of the Dec. 26 blizzard.
"Sometimes you get a curve ball that you weren't ready for, and next time you try to get ready for that curve ball, that kind of pitch as well," Bloomberg said Wednesday.
The storm, which began late Tuesday, dumped 9.1 inches in Central Park and more than a foot in some areas in New Jersey and Connecticut. The mayor vowed a faster and more efficient response to the storm this time. There were 106 private contractors helping to clear the city's tertiary street and 1,000 laborers who cleared bus stops and cross walks.
"Our goal for this storm was not merely to get back to business as usual," Bloomberg said. "Our goal was to deploy a more effective snow response operation than ever, more aggressive and more accountable, based on the lessons that we learned in the last storm and that's what we've done."
Snow totals ranged from 12 inches in the Bronx to about nine inches at Central Park, and about six inches at Kennedy and LaGuardia airports on Wednesday, far from the 20 inches that fell during the post-Christmas blizzard that debilitated the city and drew the ire of New Yorkers.
Bloomberg disputed claims that the improved storm response offered his administration redemption for the messy clean-up that ensued after the post-Christmas blizzard.
"I think the city's response for nine years, over 70-odd storms, has been exemplary," he said. "Things did not work out in that one storm. I look at what we did last night and this morning as an opportunity to see how we could do it better next time."
Schools Chancellor Cathie Black, in her first big announcement, said the city's public schools would remain open Wednesday. All field trips were canceled, she in a statement released just after 5 a.m. Wednesday.
"We understand that's not perfect, but it's the best we could do," Black said about the timing of the announcement.
Public schools have closed only six times since 1978 for a total of eight lost educational days.
The snow did disrupt some forms of travel around the area, with the region's three major airports had more than 1,700 flights canceled flights. Rail service was also affected.
The mayor says garbage pickup should resume Thursday or Friday.
On Long Island, up to 17 inches fell in some areas causing dozens of minor accidents, but no injuries. Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy said police recorded 63 crashes and found 48 disabled cars on the highway. Out of the 1.1 million customers that The Long Island Power Authority services, only several hundred reported losing power Wednesday morning. There is still a 12-hour county "state of emergency" that was ordered at 5 a.m. Wednesday morning.
Yonkers has also declared a snow emergency, which is in effect through Sunday, after more than a foot of snow piled up.
Bloomberg promised to eventually put GPS devices on all snowplows. He said a pilot project initiated during this week's storms was successful and showed the low-cost devices are easy to install and effective. No word on whether the public will have access to the truck locations during storms.