Kathleen Horan, Reporter, WNYC News
Kathleen Horan is a staff reporter for New York Public Radio, covering the neighborhood beat. She also reports 'Reset', an ongoing series documenting police-community relations in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.
What a difference a year makes.
Last year was the snowiest January in the city’s history according to Vito Turso, Sanitation Department Deputy Commissioner. “More than three feet fell last January compared with only 4.3 inches last month,” said Turso.
It also means that the money set aside to deal with winter weather hasn’t been used much this year. The city has set aside $43 million in this year’s snow budget, according the mayor’s office. It’s an increase from the $39 million the city set aside last winter for snow removal. In actuality, it spent $124 million trying to keep up with all the storms.
This year, the Sanitation Department also had 230,000 tons of rock salt on hand to spread along the five boroughs' 6,000 miles of streets during winter snow storms that did not materialize.
If the salt isn’t needed Turso said it can last several seasons. “We cover it up with tarps or it store indoors at 35 different locations around the city.”
As for the money, if this year’s snow funds don’t get spent, the mayor's office said it’ll be used to fill in budget gaps.
The first day of February looked more like May Day along the Brooklyn Bridge with joggers in shorts and cyclists in T-shirts on Wednesday.
Brooklyn Heights resident Alan Luks, 85, said the 60 degree day inspired him to get out of the house.
“I think it’s wonderful, it sort of brings back a summer kind of feeling," he said. "The weather kind of stimulated me a little bit more to definitely take the walk.”
A prediction on whether the unseasonably warm weather will continue will commence on Thursday morning, when local rodent Staten Island Chuck will partake in Groundhog Day rituals. If Chuck ventures out from his digs at the Staten island Zoo and sees his shadow, a longer winter is expected.
Manhattan resident Wilburt Turner who was soaking up spring-like rays on 6th Avenue in Greenwich Village on Wednesday said he expects an early spring. “I don’t think he’ll see his shadow — not at all!”