It's a highway repairman's job to repair the city's roads, but the latest New Yorkers of the Week went above and beyond last Saturday by clearing the Major Deegan for an emergency landing. NY1's John Schiumo filed the following report, which was shot, written and edited by Rachel Smith.
When their shift started, it was business as usual. Six Department of Transportation workers heading to do pothole repairs in the Bronx.
Then, a bigger job came their way out of the clear blue sky.
"We saw this aircraft, and it was overlooking the trees, and it was coming down, and it was devastating because we've never seen anything like that before," said Randall Sanders, one of the workers.
A small private plane carrying three passengers suddenly needed a place to land. It ran into engine trouble headed from a tour of the Statue of Liberty.
Worker Diego Luna first spotted it coming toward the Major Deegan Highway, and the crew jumped into action.
"He cut one lane off, I cut another lane off and Roy Kane cut another lane off, and that was just it," said worker Roger Charrette. "It was a matter of seconds."
They were crucial seconds that made a difference. There were no injuries in the plane or on the ground, thanks in part to the quick thinking of the DOT workers.
"It was shocking to see a plane come down on the Major Deegan Highway," said Adalberto Troche, one of the workers.
Mayor Bill de Blasio invited the crew to City Hall and thanked them for their efforts.
"This is why people should be proud of our public workers," de Blasio said.
The guys say they were just doing their jobs, serving their fellow New Yorkers.
"We all worked as a team, and we was lucky that day," said Miguel Lopez, one of the workers. "And everybody was safe, the people that was driving on the highway that day and the people on the plane."
And if you're wondering: yes, they did still fill that pothole.
"Even after all this was happening, we were still able to perform our duty," Lopez said.
So, for doing their duty to protect New Yorkers on the street and in the air, these DOT workers are our New Yorkers of the Week.