Tag Archives: snow

Queens commuters and business owners unhappy over shutdown of city’s mass transit during storm


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

BY CRISTABELLE TUMOLA AND ERIC JANKIEWICZ

The city’s subways and buses are back on track after this week’s snowstorm, but frustration over the mass transit shutdown is lingering on like piles of dirty snow left over from the blizzard.

Many Queens residents are still furious over Gov. Cuomo’s  decision Monday to shut down the city’s subway and bus system for the first time ever for a snowstorm as a precaution against the possibility of having buses and trains loaded with passengers stuck in snow.

The storm was large and real as expected, but moved eastward, hitting Long Island a lot harder, Mayor Bill de Blasio pointed out. After suspending transit overnight, the MTA slowly resumed subway and bus service at 9 a.m. on Tuesday and was running on a Sunday schedule by noon, which is about 60 percent of weekday service.

“The last time the city was put on lockdown like that was during Sandy. And that made me think that this was going to be the blizzard of the century or something,” Elvir Beharous said. A resident of Bayside, Beharous commutes by bus from his neighborhood to Flushing during weekdays for work.

After announcing a state of emergency and travel ban on all state and local roads for 13 New York counties starting at 11 p.m. Monday for all non-emergency vehicles, Gov. Andrew Cuomo lifted the ban in most of those counties, including all the five boroughs, as of 7:30 a.m. Tuesday.

But Beharous couldn’t make it to work on Tuesday since buses were running erratically. As a wage worker he couldn’t afford to take the loss of a day’s work.

“So I just shoveled for people all day in Bayside to make up the money,” he said on Wednesday as he waited for the now-running Q12 to take him back home from work in Flushing.

Full MTA weekday service was back on Wednesday, allowing Beharous to go back to work, even if he did have a cold from being out all day in the snow on Tuesday.

Wing Hangsong, a GED-student, didn’t mind having the day off of school, but that evening he couldn’t go to his job as a bus boy at a restaurant in downtown Flushing with buses down.

“It was necessary to close down the roads, but they could’ve at least given us some kind of emergency service,” said Hangsong, who lives on the southern edge of Flushing near Kissena Park.

Commuters weren’t the only ones affected by the shutdown.

The storm, known as Juno, took a chunk out of businesses in the downtown Flushing area, according to Dian Yu, head of the area’s business improvement district.

“It definitely wasn’t business as usual on Tuesday,” he said. “There were less people shopping in the area and most businesses took a loss.”

Thankfully, Yu said, celebrations for the Chinese New Year are still going strong and he is confident that the next two weeks of increased holiday-related business will make up for the loss.

“In a way, we’re very  lucky that this happened now,” Yu said.

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Sledding spots you can try at Queens parks


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

File photo

Here are local parks you can visit for some fun in the snow and suggestions for sledding spots, courtesy of the city’s Parks Department. But remember to stay warm and be safe.

Be careful of slippery paths, snow-covered bodies of water and fallen branches. If you see a fallen branch, call 311.

Astoria Park, Astoria, 19th Street between Shore Boulevard off Ditmars Boulevard

Bowne Park, Flushing, small hillside on the 155th Street side of the park

Crocheron Park, Bayside, 35th Avenue opposite Golden Pond

Cunningham Park, Oakland Gardens

Forest Park, Mary Whelan Playground at 79th Street and Park Lane South

Hermon A. Macneil Park, College Point

Juniper Valley Park,  Middle Village, Juniper Boulevard North and South near the Tennis Building at 75th Street

Lower Highland Park, Jamaica Avenue and Elton Street

Kissena Park, Flushing, east side of lake: enter Metcalf and 164th Street

Have a suggestion for a great sledding location in Queens? Let us know by commenting below. 

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PHOTOS: January 2015 snowstorm


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photos by The Queens  Courier Staff

The season’s first snowstorm may not have been the record-breaker that some were predicting, but it still covered the borough in an impressive amount of the white stuff.

Take a look at our gallery of photos taken during the storm dubbed Juno, including pics of plows clearing the streets, dogs braving the blizzard and pedestrians fighting the windy conditions.

IMG_9503

Photo by Bradley Hawks

If you want The Queens Courier to include your storm photos in our gallery, let us know by tweeting them to @queenscourier, posting them on our Facebook page or emailing them to editorial@queenscourier.com (subject: snow pics).


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Queens only gets about a foot of snow after massive blizzard predicted for city


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Updated 3:22 p.m. 

Public transit service has resumed and streets are open to normal traffic again after a storm that was expected to bring a substantial amount of snow to New York City turned out to be far less impactful than predicted.

“Put simply, we got about half as much as what a lot of the projections had been, or even under half as much.” Mayor de Blasio said at a storm briefing Tuesday.

The storm was as large and real as expected, but moved eastward, hitting Long Island a lot harder, the mayor emphasized.

“Things turned out a lot better than we feared, but we were prepared,” he said, defending the city’s snow preparations, including shutting down mass transit and banning non-emergency vehicles from local streets.

Snow totals for the city were forecast as high as 30 inches at times, but as of 9 a.m. Tuesday, totals in Queens reached a foot at the most, according to local weather reports.

After announcing a state of emergency and travel ban on all state and local roads for 13 New York counties starting at 11 p.m. Monday for all non-emergency vehicles, Gov. Andrew Cuomo lifted the ban in most of those counties, including all the five boroughs, as of 7:30 a.m. Tuesday.

While passable, the roads are not clear, Cuomo stressed during a storm briefing that morning.

“If [travel is] nonessential we wouldn’t recommend it,” he said.

The vehicle ban included New York City streets, and De Blasio also cautioned motorists to be careful, especially in eastern Queens, which experienced the brunt of the storm.

The storm, known as Juno, also prompted the MTA to shut down its entire subway, bus and commuter rail systems at 11 p.m. Monday. It was reportedly the first time the transit agency has suspended service for snow.

After suspending transit overnight, the MTA resumed subway and bus service at 9 a.m. and was running on a Sunday schedule by noon, which is about 60 percent of weekday service. The Long Island Rail Road started operating on its electrified branches around 12 p.m. with a weekend schedule. 

Full MTA weekday service is expected to be back on Wednesday.

Life in the city also started to return to normal Tuesday morning when its parks reopened after closing the previous evening because of fears over falling branches.

The city’s public schools, however, were closed on Tuesday. They will be open on Wednesday.

Alternate side parking is suspended on Tuesday and Wednesday to help with snow removal, but payment at parking meters remains in effect. Garbage and recycling collection is also suspended on those days, but it’s not clear yet when it will resume.

The Department of Sanitation continued to clear the city’s 6,000 miles of streets as the storm headed out Tuesday, with personnel on 12-hour shifts and 2,300 pieces of equipment deployed.

To track the progress of snow clearing operations throughout the five boroughs, click here.

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‘Potentially historic’ blizzard targets NYC


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

Updated Monday, Jan. 26, 6:55 p.m.

A crippling storm that could be one of the largest blizzards New York City has ever experienced is shutting down public transit, closing schools and restricting travel on roadways as it’s expected to bring two feet or more of snow.

After declaring a state of emergency for all New York counties south of Sullivan, including the entire five boroughs, earlier in the day, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a travel ban on all state and local roads in those areas starting at 11 p.m. Monday. Only authorized emergency vehicles will be allowed on those roads, and a violation of the travel ban is punishable as a misdemeanor that includes fines of up to $300.

“This blizzard is forecasted to be one of the worst this region has seen, and we must put safety first and take all necessary precautions,” Cuomo said. “Commuters and drivers need to get home as quickly as possible before the storm completely cripples our transit networks and roads.”

The governor also said the MTA and Port Authority public transit systems will be suspending service beginning at 11 p.m. Monday.

Only 1 to 3 inches was forecasted for the day Monday, but heavier snowfall is expected Monday evening and during the day Tuesday before tapering off that night, according to the National Weather Service (NWS). A blizzard waring is in effect until midnight Tuesday, with snowfall estimates at 20 to 30 inches and gusts as high as 50 mph, which will likely create whiteout conditions.

There is also a coastal flood warning for northern Queens from 3 to 7 a.m. Tuesday, and a warning for southern Queens from midnight through 5 a.m. Tuesday

‘“You can’t underestimate this storm,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a weather briefing Monday afternoon.

“People cannot be caught off guard,” he added.

De Blasio urged New Yorkers to remain inside if possible, telling them to stay off the roads and even to keep walking to a minimum because of slippery conditions.

The mayor also asked people to stay out of city parks because of the potential for falling branches, saying they will be closed as of 6 p.m.

The city’s public schools remained open on Monday, but will be closed on Tuesday. All Monday school trips, after-school programs, PSAL and evening adult education programs were also canceled.

Ahead of the storm, the Department of Sanitation issued a “snow alert” starting at 12:01 a.m. Monday and will be deploying its snow fighting equipment as needed. According to the mayor, there will be 2,400 workers per shift on 12-hour shifts and 2,300 vehicles with snow-plowing ability, plus 250 more pieces of equipment coming from other agencies this evening.

Alternate side parking will be suspended Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday to help with snow removal, but payment at parking meters remains in effect. Garbage and recycling collection will also be suspended.

By the time the sun returns on Wednesday, the storm could be one for the record books, according to the NWS, which called the blizzard “potentially historic.”

De Blasio was confident at a Sunday storm briefing that the snowfall would be among one of the largest to hit the city, citing records that date back to the late 19th century.

“This literally could be one of the top two or three largest storms in the history of this city,” he said.

The current record holder is a February 2006 storm, when 26.9 inches of snow fell in Central Park over a 16-hour period.

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Snow threatens Thanksgiving travel


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

Updated 5:01 p.m.

A winter storm is set to arrive just in time for the Thanksgiving rush.

The storm could bring 3 to 5 inches of snow to the city and is expected to impact holiday travel, according to the National Weather Service.

A winter storm advisory is in effect for the city from 7 a.m. Wednesday until 1 a.m. Thursday. The city’s Department of Sanitation has issued a snow alert for Wednesday, starting at 7 a.m. To track the progress of DSNY clearing operations throughout the five boroughs, click here.

The New York City Office of Emergency Management also issued a hazardous travel advisory for Wednesday.

After a spring-like Monday, Wednesday daytime temperatures will be in the 30s and rain starting that morning will change to snow.

A mixture of rain and snow will begin about 10 a.m. Wednesday and transition to only snow by the early afternoon. The snow will continue falling, along with the temperatures, until Wednesday night. Winds will be breezy at up to 22 mph.

By Thanksgiving, the snow will be gone, but cold temperatures will impact Black Friday shoppers on Thursday night and the following day, with lows around 30 and highs in the mid 30s.

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Alleged Queens gang members indicted on charges of conspiring to commit murder, robbery


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Queens district attorney's office

Thirty-one reputed southeast Queens gang members have been indicted on charges of conspiring to murder two people and conspiring to commit robberies in order to bail out an alleged teenage gang leader, officials said.

The men, who range in age from 15 to 22, are alleged to be members of three street gangs knows as SNOW, Loyalty Over Everything and Young Bosses, according to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.

Under the first indictment, 17 of the alleged members are being charged for conspiring to kill two supposed members of a rival gang in retaliation for the fatal shooting of a SNOW gang member, Brown said.

In the second indictment, 16 people were charged with conspiring to commit robberies, after alleged leader of the SNOW gang leader, 17-year-old Daquan Monroe, allegedly ordered them to do so in order to raise money to bail him out of Rikers Island, officials said.

“These indictments are another example of police and prosecutors working together to eliminate gang violence that too often plagues our neighborhood and strikes at the heart of a unified and criminally active group of young people who threaten the lives and safety of innocent bystanders,” Brown said.

On Tuesday, 20 of the men in custody were arraigned in the Queens Supreme Court and 11 of the other alleged members are currently being sought.

Out of the 17 charged on the first indictment, 16 are being charged with conspiracy and face up to 25 years to life in prison if convicted. The remaining defendant is a juvenile and faces up to ten years in prison if convicted.

In the conspiracy to commit robberies, if convicted, two men face up to 25 years in prison, four men face up to seven years and the remaining 10 face up to four years.

“The arrest and indictments of these SNOW gang members and their affiliates send a clear message that the New York City Police Department, along with our partners from the Queens District Attorney’s Office, will continue to rid our communities of gang activity and gun violence,” NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said.

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST 

Monday: A good deal of sunshine. High near 35. Winds NW at 10 to 15 mph. Monday night: A few passing clouds, otherwise generally clear. Low 28. Winds NE at 5 to 10 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: York College Celebrates 75 Years of Blue Note Records

On Monday at 6 p.m., the York College Cultural Diversity Center and the Male Initiative Program will host “The Blue Note Sound: Celebrating 75 Years of Blue Note Records.” The celebration will pay tribute to Blue Note Records’ contribution to jazz. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Spring nor’easter to dump more snow on tri-state

The tri-state is expected to get more snow this week as a nor’easter delivers a glancing blow Tuesday night, forecasters say, but the area should be spared from the worst of the wintry spring storm. Read more: NBC New York

3 people shot at Queensbridge housing projects in Long Island City; cops searching for shooter

Two men and a woman were shot in a Queens housing project Sunday. Read more: New York Daily News

De Blasio on charter school students: ‘we need them to succeed’

Just weeks after moving to prevent their expansion, Mayor Bill de Blasio has offered an olive branch to the charter school movement. Read more: CBS New York

NYPD to train cabbies in new sergeant-taxi driver partnership

NYPD sergeants will be training city cabdrivers on how to protect themselves against violent passengers and farebeaters, as well as teach them methods for handling high-stress situations that could lead to road rage and accidents. Read more: New York Post

Giuliani: de Blasio taking city ‘in the wrong direction’

Rudy Giuliani sounded off on Mayor de Blasio Sunday, saying his successor is moving the city “in the wrong direction.” Read more: New York Post

More snow on the way for Sunday


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo by Arthur de Gaeta

Updated 5:00 p.m.

 

Ol’ man winter isn’t done just yet.

The National Weather Service (NWS) forecast snow from 2 to 4 inches, starting from this evening and continuing through Monday as temperatures drop to the 20s.

The NWS warned that the snow will bring hazardous travel due to reduced visibility and slippery roads, “especially during the Monday morning commute.”

The Department of Transportation suspended alternate side parking for Monday to help with snow removal. However, parking meters remain in effect.

In preparation for inclement weather, the city’s Department of Sanitation has issued a “snow alert,” starting at 11 a.m. The agency said its plows and spreaders will be ready.

To track the progress of DSNY clearing operations throughout the five boroughs, click here.

 

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Cops help elderly Flushing couple dig car out of ice and snow


| mchan@queenscourier.com

PHOTO COURTESY NYPD

The last big snowfall to bury the city uncovered the best in two local cops.

Police Officers Adrienne Galvani and Cory Smith of the 109th Precinct took a brief detour from their anti-crime patrol, shortly after the Feb. 13 snowstorm, to help an elderly Flushing couple dig their buried car out of a thick sheet of ice.

“We pictured our grandparents in that situation,” Galvani said. “As soon as we saw them, we knew we had to stop and help them.”

Arnold Lederer, 98, and his wife Theresa, 86, had set aside the full day to dig out their 1997 Oldsmobile Intrigue in order to pick up an important prescription at their local pharmacy.

“There was a big pile of snow behind it and a big pile in front,” Theresa said. “It was quite deep and it was already icy. We were planning to take little breathers every few minutes.”

The officers took the shovels from their hands and told them to keep warm inside.

For 35 minutes, they chipped away at the ice, even breaking an ice pick in the process, said the longtime Queens couple who lives on Willets Point Blvd.

With Galvani steering the wheel and Smith pushing from behind, the pair even loosened the car out of its street parking spot and checked up with the Lederers the next day.

“It was the right thing to do,” said Galvani, who has been with the precinct for nearly 11 years. “They would have never gotten that car out.”

The Lederers are still in shock over the act of kindness.

“We were absolutely overwhelmed by their generosity and the time that they spent,” Theresa said. “They wouldn’t even accept a cup of coffee.”

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST

Wednesday: Light snow this morning giving way to partly cloudy conditions this afternoon. High near 30. Winds WNW at 15 to 25 mph. Chance of snow 50%. Snow accumulations less than one inch. Wednesday night: Clear skies. Low around 15. Winds N at 5 to 10 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Mid-Winter Taste for City Harvest

This food tasting event at  Resorts World Casino showcases over 30 food purveyors, and all proceeds will benefit City Harvest. Entry at 7 p.m. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

NY Assembly passes Dream Act providing tuition aid

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NYC Council follows mayor’s Lead, steps away from St. Patrick’s Parade

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New Yorkers favor letting cities boost local minimum wage

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NY Assembly contracts for $210K outside counsel on sexual harassment policy

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Snow likely every day for the next 3 days, then again on the weekend

Snow is likely to fall every day for the next three days as arctic air settles over the tri-state region, where it will stick around through the weekend. Read more: NBC New York

 

NYC business owner offers to dig out your car for free


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

This season’s snow has left New Yorkers with plenty of winter woes, but one local businessman wants to help ease one.

Bill Lerner, owner of garage firm iPark, is offering to dig motorists parked within a five block radius of any of his 125 parking garages out of the snow for free.

If a driver’s car is stuck, call 917-209-2105 and someone will be dispatched to help.

“We just want to be a good neighbor to everybody in the community,” Lerner said. “I think we all need to help each other out.”

Following one of the recent storms, Lerner was walking around Manhattan, where he lives, and noticed all the cars locked in the “frozen tundra” of ice and snow.

Lerner then realized he had hundreds of men at his disposable who could lend a hand.

During the morning and evening commutes, from 7 to 10 a.m., and 4 to 7 p.m., his garage workers are busy. But in between those hours they have time to grab a shovel and start digging, he thought.

Shoveling out a car is strenuous work, he said, but many of his employees are young and physically fit.

In Queens, there are five iPark garages in Rego Park and Forest Hills, located at 105-25 Gerard Pl., 110-45 Queens Blvd., 98-10 64th St., 98-33 63rd Dr. and 62-60 99th St..

There are also garages throughout Brooklyn, Manhattan and the Bronx. For their locations, click here.

It’s best to call between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., Lerner said, when his men are likely to be available.

The offer is good “until the snow melts.”

He hopes next year’s winter will not be as bad as this one. But, Lerner said if it is, he is “going to pitch in and help the community” again.

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST

Friday: Fog and drizzle early…then rain. High 51. Winds SSE at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 70%. Friday night: Cloudy with light rain early…then becoming partly cloudy. Low 33. Winds WSW at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 60%.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Queens Council on the Arts presents “A Night with Dancers”

Queens Council on the Arts’ 3rd Space is proud to present an evening with Queens-based dancers and choreographers Monica Hogan, Hazel Lever and Selma Treviño who will be performing works-in-progress. Artists and the culturally curious are invited to participate in an evening of movement and discussion, to help workshop works in progress and gain unique insight into the artistic process. Dancers are especially encouraged to join us for a unique networking and community building opportunity. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

De Blasio caravan seen speeding, running stop signs: report

A vehicle carrying Mayor Bill de Blasio was allegedly caught speeding and breaking other traffic laws just two days after he unveiled his plan to prevent reckless driving. Read more: The Queens Courier

NY regulators approve Con Edison rate freeze

New York utility regulators have approved freezes on electricity, natural gas and steam delivery rates for Con Edison customers. Read more: NBC New York

NY lawmaker: Parents should take parenting classes

New York state Sen. Ruben Diaz Jr. introduced a bill that would require parents of elementary school children to attend a minimum of four parent support classes. If parents don’t go, 6th graders won’t move onto 7th grade. Read more: Fox New York

After brief we warmup, winter to tighten grip with return of polar vortex

A brief warmup to the 50s over the next few days will be followed by another return of the polar vortex to the tri-state area and a chance of snow next week. Read more: NBC New York

CDC: More young people getting the flu than in any other age group

Flu season started early and strong this year, and on Thursday a new report revealed it’s hitting a different group of people especially hard. Read more: CBS New York

 

 

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST

Tuesday: Cloudy with rain and snow this morning becoming foggy with light rain for the afternoon. High near 40. Winds S at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 70%. Snow accumulations less than one inch. Tuesday night: A few passing clouds. Low 29. Winds WSW at 10 to 20 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: NYC Compost Project hosted by Queens Botanical Garden: I Heart Worms for Families

Did you know that worms have five pairs of hearts? This unique hands-on workshop introduces kids (ages 5 and up, accompanied by an adult) to the life of indoor composting (red wiggler) worms! Make heart-shaped compost cookies for your plants; be prepared to get your hands dirty! Registration required—compost@queensbotanical.org. Starts at 3 p.m. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

New York vows to remove registered sex offenders from housing near schools

The State of New York has vowed to fix a troubling issue. Convicted pedophiles have been housed near city schools in violation of a state law. Read more: CBS New York

Trash, ice line New York City streets as snow falls

New York City has suspended alternate-side parking through the weekend due to solid ice and uncollected trash that line the streets, all while nuisance snow falls across the region Tuesday. Read more: ABC New York

New York City teachers union president proclaims back pay is ‘a big issue’

The head of New York City’s teachers union made it clear Monday for the first time that he was pushing the city for back pay for his nearly 100,000 members. Read more: New York Daily News 

Passengers trapped on tarmac after fuel truck hits police cruiser at LaGuardia

Hundreds of passengers were reportedly trapped on the tarmac at LaGuardia Airport on Monday night. Read more: CBS New York

Bratton was kept in dark the night de Blasio’s buddy was sprung

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton was kept in the dark when Mayor de Blasio made a late-night call to an NYPD honcho on behalf of a political ally who’d been busted, sources told The Post. Read more: New York Post

 

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST

Monday: Sunny. High 31. Winds NNW at 10 to 15 mph. Monday night: Cloudy with light snow developing after midnight. Low 23 with temps rising to near freezing. Winds E at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of snow 50%.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Engineering Week Kickoff at New York Hall of Science

Opening day features activities and tables run by the American Society of Civil Engineers. Each day covers different engineering concepts- from nano to mechanical, accompanied by activities and challenges to put those ideas into practice. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

NY State suspends driver’s license of 7,850 tax deadbeats

Gov. Cuomo is taking the car keys away from tax deadbeats. Read more: New York Post

Even more snow headed to tri-state Tuesday

Yet another winter storm is set to push over the tri-state Tuesday and could add 2 to 3 more inches to what is already the third-snowiest February ever recorded in New York City, forecasters say. Read more: NBC New York

Abortion rate plummets in New York City

Fewer New York City women are having abortions now than at any time since the procedure became legal in the state in 1970. Read more: New York Post

Straphangers cast blame on MTA for sleeping workers

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Cuomo announces college degree programs for NY Prisoners

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