Saturday, November 01, 2014

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City Bundles Up for Frigid Temperatures in Aftermath Of Snowstorm

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TWC News: City Bundles Up for Frigid Temperatures in Aftermath Of Snowstorm
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The city is experiencing frigid temperatures in the aftermath of a winter storm that left behind more than half a foot of snowfall.

The overnight low Friday night into Saturday morning was expected to be 4 degrees.

Aid workers were out caring for the most vulnerable New Yorkers on the frigid night.

The Coalition for the Homeless van pulled up to corners throughout Manhattan and the Bronx, hoping to provide a meal and clothing to those in need.

The Coalition's Grand Central Food Program was out in a mobile soup kitchen, with plans to stop at dozens of sites, from the Bowery Mission in Manhattan to Fordham Road in the Bronx.

The City activated "Code Blue," which means that single adults and families can access homeless shelters without regular intake procedures.

"On an average night, we will do about 1,000 meals," said Juan de la Cruz of the Grand Central Food Program. "I would figure that with the cold and the code blue being in effect and everything else, we may have less people out, but we would still, I would say, have anywhere from 700 to 750 people out."

"Definitely the Coalition Homeless offers a lot of great stuff for people in my position," said one person. "I definitely look up to them a lot."

Q: What did you get tonight?
One person: A meal. And acknowledgement, too, from a person that actually feels the cold like me.

Anyone who sees someone in need should immediately call 311.

Plummeting temperatures can be life threatening for infants, the elderly and the homeless, and Mayor Bill de Blasio urged vulnerable residents to avoid driving and stay indoors.

"It is deceptively cold. It is the coldest it's been all year. And people sometimes think it doesn't feel so bad but if you stay out there too long it will feel bad and will be dangerous particularly to folks who are vulnerable," De Blasio added.

By law, residential buildings in the city must be kept at temperatures of at least 68 degrees during the day and 55 degrees at night.

De Blasio is reminding tenants who believe their building is not being properly heated to call 311.

On the coldest night the city has faced in several years, many residents of one housing complex faced it without heat or hot water.

Residents of the O'Dwyer Gardens Houses in Coney Island said that their heating system has been broken since early Friday morning.

The New York City Housing Authority said that a broken boiler is to blame, and they made a warming center available, but a lot of people chose to stay in their homes.

Some of them tried to heat their homes with ovens or stoves, though city officials have repeatedly warned against doing that because of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning or a fire.

"I put 'em on, but I don't try to keep them on because it kind of like give me a headache 'cause the oven on too much, it kind of give me a headache, so I got to come once in a while to shut it off, then come and turn it on to keep the apartment warm," said one resident.

"She uses the brick so the gas smell gets sucked up by the brick, and it could radiate the heat throughout the house also," said resident Devin Dortch.

NYCHA says they've been checking on vulnerable families all day and letting residents know about the availability of the warming center.

In all, Central Park reported about 6.5 inches of snow from the storm that hit the city with snow Thursday night and Friday morning.

The Bronx and Brooklyn received between nine and 10 inches.

Queens residents saw the worst of it with up to 11.5 inches in spots, while Staten Island varied between seven and 9.5 inches.

The snow is done falling, but not all travel will be back to normal on Saturday.

Mayor Bill de Blasio urged drivers to remain off the streets and use mass transit because of icy roads.

The freezing temperatures are grinding subway repairs to a halt, as the Metropolitan Transportation Authority says that they're canceling all previously scheduled work on the Subways with the exception of the 6, N and R lines, where more long-term work is taking place.

The 6 trains will skip Middletown Road and Castle Hill Avenue until May, while N and R trains aren't running between Court Street in Brooklyn and Whitehall Street in Manhattan until October to facilitate Hurricane Sandy recovery work.

To see how weekend repairs affect your commute, check out the weekender page at mta.info.

Metro-North trains will run on normal schedules Saturday.

Those traveling by air can still expect moderate delays.

Delta canceled all connecting flights from John F. Kennedy International Airport Friday night because of ice on the airfield.

While the streets are still covered with snow, alternate side parking regulations will be suspended Saturday, and as the Sanitation Department focuses on clearing snow, trash pickup with not resume until all snow removal is done.

During a late-morning briefing, de Blasio gave city workers an "A" for their storm response, saying that 100 percent of primary roads have been plowed.

Governor Andrew Cuomo gave de Blasio a thumbs up for his response to the storm.

"We've been working with local governments all across the state, obviously New York City, included, but I think the response has been good all across the state, and in New York City also," Cuomo said.

Cuomo said that though hundreds of people statewide lost power at the storm's peak, that number was less than 30 by noon.

He said that the storm is being blamed for two deaths.

One death was of a driver struck by a tractor trailer on I-87, and the other was a woman who spun off the Southern State Parkway.

Cuomo said that two State Troopers suffered minor injuries near Oneonta when a driver lost control and hit their cruiser.

Saturday may be a good time to actually enjoy all that snow, as the Parks Department is declaring its first ever Snow Day throughout the city.

At parks in each borough, the department will host free activities such as sledding and snowman and snow angel competitions.

There will also be music and free hot chocolate.

From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., the events will take place at Crotona Park in the Bronx, Prospect Park in Brooklyn, Highbridge Park in Manhattan, Juniper Valley Park in Queens and Clove Lakes Park in Staten Island.

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