Saturday, December 20, 2014

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City Clears Snowy Streets For Monday Commutes

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Mayor Michael Bloomberg said despite heavy snow fall and continuing removal efforts, the city was open for business Sunday.

The mayor said that after an overnight effort, Department of Sanitation workers cleared out the city's major streets and highways by Sunday morning. He also announced that on Monday schools will be open and alternate-side parking will be suspended.

The overnight storm deposited 9.5 inches of snow in the Bronx, 10.9 inches in Central Park, 14.2 inches at John F. Kennedy International Airport and 8.8 inches at LaGuardia Airport.

All through Sunday, 2,500 DOS workers manned 365 salt spreaders, 1,500 plows and many shovels to clear secondary streets, bus stops and crosswalks for the Monday morning rush and school commutes.

"During the evening, we will continue to plow streets and we'll be out taking care of the schools," said DOS Commissioner John Doherty. "That will be a primary effort tonight on the night shift, to make sure all the buses and the parents who are driving their children to school can get to the schools and that teachers all have areas to park if they come in by car."

New Yorkers who are shoveling out their on driveways today are advised to:
• dress warmly and protect the nose, ears, hands and feet.
• stretch the arms and leg muscles to avoid straining them.
• use a shovel with a small blade to avoid any strain to the back.
• scoop the snow in a forward motion.

Anyone with heat problems related to the weather should call 311.

Citywide Closings, Travel Delays

All libraries were closed Sunday and garbage and recycling collection were been postponed until at least Tuesday.

Local drivers are warned to take caution, as the city's roads are still slick and icy.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority suspended weekend track work and used snow equipment to keep 220 miles of outdoor tracks and third rails clear of snow and ice, while delays affected all bus and subway service.

The Dyre Avenue Shuttle trains were not running to the 149th Street-Grand Concourse Station.

Long Island Rail Road service experienced limited service and two-hour delays and Amtrak said trains are running on reduced schedules Sunday.

From Saturday night through Sunday evening, about 1,200 flights were canceled at John F. Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark Liberty Airports, according to the Port Authority.

A Port Authority spokesperson said local airport runways are clear and conditions are safe for takeoff, but the airlines chose to cancel most flights leaving the area.

The agency is urging travelers to check with their airlines before heading out.

Winter Fun Outdoors

Meanwhile, the Parks Department declared Sunday a "snow day" and has opened hills throughout the city for sledding and playing in the snow, and some parks are offering sleds and free hot chocolate.

"It's a perfect day to get out. Don't be a couch potato. Just because it's cold doesn't mean that you shouldn't be getting exercise," said Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe. "And the kids are having a blast out here."

"Whenever enough snow has accumulated in New York, each borough puts together a snow day and basically we just come out, we serve hot chocolate to the people," said playground associate Tyrone Fosmire.

"Mostly sledding. I made a few snow angels, and I started to build a fort, but I really didn't exactly finish it," said one young New Yorker.

The mayor said a snow day is the perfect opportunity to enjoy the city during the holiday season.

"If you want to take in a Broadway show that normally you've had trouble getting tickets for, maybe there will be some people canceling, so make the phone call," said Bloomberg. "It might be a great opportunity to do something you otherwise could not have done."

More light-hearted New Yorkers enjoyed a "winter wonderland" in Central Park since Saturday night.

"We love the snow. We're excited. We actually celebrated Christmas a little bit today so this is perfect weather," said one winter enthusiast.

"We're both big winter fans. So now that it's snowing it's nice to go skating and stuff," said another.

"I like it because it gives me a special Christmas feeling," said a third. "And in New York there's a lot of Christmas decoration and it fits together, the snow and the beautiful decoration."

Many people rode in horse-drawn carriages, ice skating and strolling through the park, saying it's the best way to enjoy the first snowfall.

Sledding Areas

The NYC Parks Department is providing sleds and free hot chocolate at the following locations:
• Crotona Park, Bronx - Fulton Avenue and East 172nd Street
• Prospect Park, Brooklyn - near the Tennis House at Prospect Park West and Ninth Street
• Riverside Park, Manhattan - Riverside Drive at 103rd Street
• Juniper Valley Park, Queens - 78th Street and Juniper Valley North
• Clove Lakes Park, Staten Island - Martling and Slosson Avenues

For more information on Parks Department events, visit nycgovparks.org.

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