Snow end not in sight as NYers try to dig out

January 28, 2011 2:12:16 PM PST
A day after the latest winter storm, New Yorkers struggled to get around as the piles of snow grew higher as people tried to dig out. New York City was pummeled by 19 inches of snow on Thursday that shut down businesses and closed public schools.

On Friday. it was treacherous trek for many young children walking through the snow to go to school. The streets are still a mess. Plowed yes, but still difficult to negotiate for drivers.

Parents say the day after the storm brings a number of headaches. School buses were delayed, stuck in the ice blocking lanes of traffic.

The playgrounds and parking lots have been a work in progress. For the handicapped it was a challenge and anyone making it through the snow had an adventure.

Many vehicles are still covered in snow or plowed in. It all leaves very little room for people to walk and turned the day after the snow storm into a morning of difficulty.

Along with the snow, potholes are piling up. This brutal winter is creating havoc on the roads.

One of the biggest surfaced along the Belt Parkway near Flatbush Avenue.

We saw the crater literally swallow cars and clearly back up the morning rush as many drivers slowly crept through it.

Drivers and repair shops say the potholes are resulting in lots of flat tires and other problems with vehicles.

Take heed though, the DOT Pothole Patrol is working overtime. A crew spent most of the morning filling the one on the belt parkway and others in both directions.

The morning commute on mass transit was better as Metro-North Rail Road and the LIRR operated on a regular weekday schedule, but there were still some delays and crowding.

Alternate-side parking regulations remain in effect for snow removal, but where to put all the snow remained a lingering question. And fear of even more snow next week loomed in the back of minds of many New Yorkers.

"I've lived in New York 70 years, and this year is the worst I remember," said Lenny Eitelberg, 77. "It's the continuity of it. It just keeps coming. Every week there's something new to be worried about. It's almost become comical."

Virginia Sforza, 61, was indignant as she shoveled her sidewalk in Pelham, outside New York City.

"My biggest fear is if it continues like this all winter, we won't have a place to put it and we'll never get our cars out and we won't even be able to go to the stores," she said. "We had a year like this back in the '90s, but I was a lot younger. The prospect of this continuing is disgusting."

New York City typically gets 21 inches of snow a winter. Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the latest storm makes this January the snowiest since the city started keeping records; at 36 inches, it easily breaks the mark of 27.4 inches set in 1925. The New York area has been hit with snow eight times since mid-December.

The city, slammed for its slow response to a big storm in late December, handled this one better. It closed schools and some government offices. Federal courts in Manhattan and the United Nations shut down as well. The Statue of Liberty closed for snow removal. The Queens borough president's office got only three or four complaint calls - compared to dozens following the day-after-Christmas storm.

Bloomberg said the city benefited both from lessons learned and the storm's timing. "This time people were already home by the time the snow really got bad," he said.

Still, the city wasn't hassle-free. Dozens of passengers spent the hours from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m. huddled in subway cars after their train got stuck at a Brooklyn station because of malfunctioning signals.

Two girls, ages 4 and 7, passed out from breathing carbon monoxide gas while sitting in the family car waiting for their mother to finish digging it out. The vehicle's tail pipe had apparently become clogged with snow. Both were hospitalized in critical condition but expected to survive.

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