Spring seems like an impossible dream as Old Man Winter walloped the city with yet another storm nightmare on Thursday, February 25.
The white stuff wreaked havoc on the Friday morning commute, prompting many to declare an early start to their weekend.
The heavy snow totals and dangerous road conditions even forced the city to close all public schools for only the fourth time in six years. Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that the city’s second objective is to educate the kids, while their first is safety.
City officials said they hoped the snow would be manageable, but upon speaking with Schools Chancellor Joel Klein and Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty on Thursday night, Bloomberg decided that keeping schools open “might not be safe.”
Some Queens residents decided to follow the city’s lead by taking a snow day on Friday. Gail Porti of Bayside said that she woke up intending to go to her job as a legal secretary in Manhattan, but at the last minute decided to stay home.
“I saw the trains were running, but I did not want to walk from Penn Station to my building,” said Porti. “I’m actually not that sick of the snow. It’s nice walking around.”
Adrian Cosentini, also of Bayside, had the day off anyway and thought the empty streets presented an opportune time to get some shopping done.
“I’ve dealt with worse,” said Cosentini. “The only thing that bothers me is when the plows come through and I have to redo my driveway a thousand times. But I’m a New Yorker, I can deal with anything.”
On Friday the Department of Sanitation of New York (DSNY) had 365 salt spreaders and 1,600 plows citywide with 12-hour split shifts of 2,200 sanitation workers per shift to combat the snowstorm.
Out of these equipment numbers, Queens has 129 salt spreaders and 539 plows out salting and plowing, according to a DSNY spokesperson.
Salt spreaders are deployed as the first line of defense to salt arterial highways, primary roads and bus routes. At the onset of the storm, the city started with 170,000 tons of rock salt.
According to the DSNY, the current storm will bring city snowfall totals to over 50 inches for the season. That is the most snow in one season since 2002.
The DSNY is calling for temporary snow laborers to report for duty on Saturday, February 27. To register, call 3-1-1 or visit your local DSNY district garage.