Walkin in a winter WTF

Local, writing-irrelevant griping here; all who are disinterested in the mundanities of my daily life please move along.

You may have heard that the northeast US got smacked with a massive snowstorm a couple of days ago. It’s the northeast; it happens. But this particular Snowpocalypse has been exacerbated by the worst snow-emergency response I’ve seen since I moved to this part of the country. The snow isn’t the problem; the problem is the complete failure of New York’s administration to send snowplows, etc. into the non-Manhattan boroughs of the city. A few main streets have reportedly been plowed, yes. But the bulk of Brooklyn still looks like this:

stalled bus on snowy street

This bus was still stalled in place 6 hours after I first saw it.

Most of the trains in the boroughs have been shut down since the storm. Buses are mostly shut down, or like the one in the photo, inoperable (and blocking streets in their inoperability). I trekked out to a nearby grocery store to buy food, and passed several stalled/abandoned cars and SUVs in the middle of the street. This is bad enough, but the (outpatient) hospital in my neighborhood is closed; a number of local medical facilities are in a similar situation. Staff just can’t get in to tend patients. The city’s entire emergency service system is virtually useless. People are dying here.

This isn’t the first time we’ve had two feet of snow, note, or a major holiday — or two feet of snow on a major holiday, for that matter. Usually I’m impressed by the city’s efficiency in such matters. I truly don’t know what’s going on this time, but man, somebody needs to get fired for it. And yeah, I’m looking at you, Bloomberg.

Fortunately, New Yorkers have been responding like New Yorkers. In my neighborhood, I’ve seen dozens of young men roving about with shovels, offering to help stuck drivers, elders, and so on, for free. Neighbors are looking out for each other, those who can climb over snow-mounds going out to buy food and supplies for those who can’t. People with motorized snow-removal machines have been using them on more than just the buildings/sidewalks they’re responsible for. The mosque, Catholic church, and synagogue in my neighborhood have all opened their doors to those in need of food, heat, or just companionship. Everybody’s doing a little more, and it is helping.

The City That Never Sleeps isn’t unconscious. Just kind of woozy and pissed-off.

So that’s my life lately. How’s yours?

5 Responses »

  1. Um. Just got back to Hawaii today after 20 days away. That was plenty long enough away.

  2. In Pittsburgh, we had a snow storm like that last year. The snow removal was bad, and some people lost electricity for days. One team of paramedics couldn’t get up a hill to an emergency call so they just turned around and left.

    I worry about situations like this, and wish all communities and their governments could work together to better alleviate these kinds of disasters. You can’t stop the snow from falling, but people can make better plans for clearing it away when it does fall.

  3. And this is why our mayor called the troops in when we had five feet dumped on us last century. Ambulances and fire trucks couldn’t get through the drifts etc etc. For this, it helps to have troops at home, which is another problem entirely.

    That said, TO occasionally gets caught short in a blizzard as well and even the best laid snow plan doesn’t work out; if, say, the plows have been sent off to the snow belt because we’ve had a dry winter.

  4. Ugh. I have been keeping myself informed about NYC’s situation and sending the best of wishes to friends there. It’s just incredible to me the city can’t seem to cope with this!

    But, that’s coming from where I live, where we expect there’ll be massive snow removal required and have private contractors standing by as well as the city’s fleet of snow removal vehicles.

    I’m glad to see people rallying to fill the gap left by municipal services but I despair knowing it isn’t enough.

  5. That’s completely shameful, given Manhattan’s sidewalks and streets were rather clear when I was wandering around yesterday. Admittedly, the curbs … were not (and I pity anyone trying to catch a bus). But then, this is still a better response than anything the VA/DC/MD would come up with.

    Definitely heartening to hear people were stepping up to fill the gaps.