Tag Archives: snowstorm

Queens lawmaker wants fire hydrants tagged with markers


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy Councilmember Mark Weprin

All New York City hydrants should be tagged with high-flying flags to be spotted more easily during snowstorms, a Queens lawmaker is proposing.

Councilmember Mark Weprin is reintroducing legislation this March that would require markers be placed at least three feet above hydrants.

The bill, first introduced in 2011, would help firefighters quickly pinpoint nearest hydrants that are buried in the snow, Weprin said.

It would also help homeowners locate and dig them out faster and keep motorists from accidentally parking too close.

“Hydrants get snow plowed in. There are some you can’t even see,” Weprin said. “It seems like just a common sense change.”

Six major snowstorms have slammed the city so far this winter, Mayor Bill de Blasio said during the last blast on Feb. 13.

In Central Park, Bridgeport and LaGuardia Airport, it is the third snowiest February on record, according to the National Weather Service.

The bill has never moved out of the Committee on Fire and Criminal Justice Services, though similar laws exist in other cities like Orangetown, N.Y. and Santa Maria, Calif., Weprin said.

“I’m hoping we can make the case a little better now,” he said.

 

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Decision to keep NYC public schools open despite snow creates more controversy


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Maggie Hayes

Updated 4:30 p.m. 

Parents of public school students are telling city officials, they failed.

Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña announced Wednesday night that the Department of Education will keep all public schools open Thursday, despite the forecast of 8 to 12 inches of heavy, wet snow.

The total attendance at city schools was only 44.65 percent, according to a preliminary report from the DOE released Thursday afternoon.

Although, Mayor Bill de Blasio said the snow came down “heavier and faster” than what was predicted by the National Weather Service, he said the right decision was made.

“Based on our knowledge, we were convinced kids could get to schools this morning,” de Blasio said. “So many families depend on their schools as a place for their kids to be during the day.”

Schools have been canceled only a total of 11 times since 1978, according to de Blasio.

“It’s a rarity and it’s something we do not do lightly,” he said.

Both the mayor and schools chancellor said they want to open up communication so parents understand the thinking that goes into making the decision to keep schools open.

“It’s our obligation to run a school system,” he said. “Given what we knew, we knew our children could get to school safely.”

Yet, even as Fariña said it had turned into a “beautiful day” after the morning snow, parents were outraged with the idea that their children’s lives were put in danger.

“I decided to not send my kids to school because it is too dangerous out there. The roads, at least by me are bad, buses are getting stuck and I don’t want to risk it,” said Michelle Rojas, mother of two from Flushing. “[City officials] are not thinking. They can make the days up.”

Sara Alvarez, mother of three, said she learned her lesson from the last snowstorm and did not want to go through the “chaos” once again.

“One day less of class doesn’t matter, what’s most important is the security of our children,” she said. “The last snowstorm was chaos and can you imagine when it comes to dismissal? It’ll be a whole other chaos.”

One local school bus operator, who wished to remain anonymous, said that although all her “dedicated” workers made it in and every bus went out on its route to pick up students, she is still concerned about the conditions on the road.

“I am livid. This is a very dangerous storm,” she said. “I am very concerned about school buses driving in this condition. I will not be happy until all the buses come back today.”

Fariña said students and staff would have excused lateness during such snow emergencies, but absences would still not be excused.

“I understand the desire to keep schools open. The only thing that trumps that is safety,” said Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers. “Having students, parents and staff traveling in these conditions was unwarranted. It was a mistake to open schools today.”

Field trips, after-school programs and PSAL activities, however, are all cancelled today.

 

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NYC public schools remain open Wednesday


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

The Department of Education will keep all public schools open Wednesday, Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina  announced, as the city expects icy conditions from its second snowstorm this week.

All school field trips are canceled, however, Fariña said about 2 a.m. Wednesday. Families with busing issues are asked to call 718-392-8855.

Parents, as always, should exercise their own judgment with regard to their children,” the schools chancellor said. “Safety is a top priority for the department.”

Though the city has been slammed with snowstorms since the start of the year, public schools have only closed once on Jan. 3, during the year’s first major snowstorm.

They were kept open Jan. 22, during the next storm that left the city with almost a foot of snow.

The decision angered parents and students, especially at Bayside High School, where a shortage of teachers forced students to waste the day in the auditorium, The Courier reported.

Two to four inches of snow is predicted for the area, as well as about one third of an inch of ice, the National Weather Service said.

Mayor Bill de Blasio warned city residents of a “difficult morning commute.”

A “hazardous travel advisory” is in effect for the area Wednesday, the New York City Office of Emergency Management said. The Department of Sanitation  issued a ‘snow alert’ for Tuesday, starting at 10 p.m.

About eight inches were already dumped on the area Monday. Another storm is expected this weekend.

 

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More snow on its way to NYC


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

Updated 9:45 p.m.

Another storm is set to strike the area late Tuesday night into Wednesday, just as the city is recovering from a significant snowfall that dropped around eight inches on the city Monday.

“The snowstorm situation is really getting a little too common,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said at press conference Tuesday morning, asserting that the city is prepared for another storm.

He said this storm’s mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain and milder temperatures will help mitigate its impact.

But “be ready for a difficult morning commute,” he warned, and urged New Yorkers to use mass transit when possible.

A  “hazardous travel advisory” is in effect for the area Wednesday, the New York City Office of Emergency Management said.

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning from midnight through 6 p.m. Wednesday, with two to four inches of snow predicted as well as about one third of an inch of ice.

The snow will start after midnight, then change to a mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain around daybreak, according to NWS. The precipitation should taper off the early evening commute. Highs Wednesday will be in the low 30s.

Alternate side parking remained suspended Tuesday and will be suspended again on Wednesday to facilitate snow removal, but meters will still be in effect.

The Department of Sanitation has issued a ‘snow alert’ for Tuesday, starting at 10 p.m.  and will be deploying its snow fighting equipment as needed.

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

The MTA said is preparing for the possibility of ice building up during the Wednesday morning rush hour, according to Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Customers, however, should prepare for potential delays or service suspensions, and are urged to monitor service status on the MTA’s website before leaving their homes Wednesday morning.

The city’s subway cars will be moved and stored underground on express tracks overnight, which will affect express service on portions of certain lines into Wednesday morning. Bus service will run at 85 to 90 percent capacity and some suspensions are possible on a route-by-route basis.

The MTA has canceled Fastrack maintenance on the A and C lines in Brooklyn for the rest of the week.

The Long Island Rail Road expects to operate on a regular weekday schedule throughout Wednesday.

Metro-North plans to reduce morning rush hour service by 18 percent to accommodate heavy snowfall predicted for Westchester and the lower Hudson Valley, and will combine 27 of the usual 154 morning rush hour trains.

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST

Monday: Periods of snow. Snow will be heavy at times especially this morning. Temps nearly steady in the low to mid 30s. Winds NNE at 10 to 15 mph. Snow accumulating 5 to 8 inches. Monday night: Scattered snow flurries and snow showers possible this evening. Becoming mostly clear later. Low 24. Winds N at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of snow 30%.

EVENT OF THE DAY: World Ice Arena at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park

Bring your friends, bring a scarf and gloves and remember to lace up tight! Ice skating season has begun at World Ice Arena at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park! Admission is $5 for all ages on weekdays and $8 on weekends and holidays. To rent skates be sure to bring socks and an additional $5. Monday through Friday the rink is open from 9 a.m. until 5:15 p.m. On weekends it is open: 7 p.m. until 9 p.m. Friday nights; noon. until 4:45 p.m. and 8 p.m. until 9:50 p.m. Saturdays and noon  until 4:45 on Sundays. Information is subject to change, to inquire about any changes call 718-760-9001. World Ice Arena is located at Avery Avenue and 131st Street Flushing. Submit an event of your own

Winter storm warning issued; 5 to 8 inches expected

More snow is on its way for New York City, just as Staten Island Chuck predicted six more weeks of winter. Read more: The Queens Courier 

32-year-old man arrested in Sunnyside hit-and-run of four pedestrians

A 32-year-old Jackson Heights man was arrested Sunday in connection to a hit-and-run in Sunnyside Saturday night that left five people in the hospital. Read more: The Queens Courier

Cuomo may have Senate votes to block de Blasio’s pre-K tax hike

Gov. Cuomo, aided by a coalition of Senate Republicans and upstate Democrats, will defeat Mayor de Blasio’s efforts to raise taxes to fund universal pre-K this year, a leading legislative Democrat has told The Post. Read more: New York Post 

Transit woes, mild temperatures mark Super Bowl XLVIII

The first outdoor, cold-weather Super Bowl in the nation’s most congested region confounded skeptics on the first count, as unseasonably warm temperatures served as a pleasant backdrop for Sunday’s NFL title game. Read more: NBC New York

Philip Seymour Hoffman found dead in Manhattan apartment

He was only 46, busy as ever and secure in his standing as one of the world’s greatest actors. Read more: AP

Queens hiker rescued after snowstorm strands him on Hawaiian volcano


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

NPS Photo/J.Ferracane

A Queens man is lucky to be alive after a snowstorm stranded the hiker near the summit of a Hawaiian volcano.

Alex Sverdlov, 36, a Middle Village resident and Brooklyn College professor, began climbing Mauna Loa, on the Big Island, Sunday, the National Park Service (NPS) said.

He reached the 13,677-foot summit on Tuesday after dropping off his heavy gear at a lower elevation, but, as he was descending, a snowstorm struck, creating white-out conditions.

That night, Sverdlov tried to find the gear he left behind, but was unsuccessful, the NPS said. With only the clothes he had on for protection and a bottle of frozen water, he decided to stay put until sunrise.

Photo courtesy of David Okita

He managed to locate his pack Wednesday morning, but with the deep snow, he didn’t go far, and was forced to spend another night on Mauna Loa.  Sverdlov, who had successfully, summited the volcano last winter, was “worried that he’d die” there, said the NPS.

“I’ve done many crazy hikes, but this one pretty much tops the bill,” said Sverdlov.

But the local park rangers hadn’t forgotten about him.

Sverdlov was the only registered hiker on the volcano after park management closed the mountain to visitors early Tuesday because of the weather. Park rangers first tried to call his cell phone, but couldn’t reach him. They then located his car on Mauna Loa Road, and when they saw it was still there Wednesday, rangers launched a helicopter search, locating him by 9 a.m. Thursday.

“Even the most experienced and prepared hikers can get into trouble in the park,” said John Broward, who serves as the park’s search-and-rescue coordinator. “What saved Alex is that he had a backcountry permit so we knew he was up there, he is extremely fit and he stayed calm. We’re all fortunate this had a happy ending.”

Despite the near-death experience, Sverdlov is not giving up his hiking adventures.

The same afternoon he was rescued, he applied for another backcountry permit, for the park’s remote coastal area, the NPS said.

“This time I’m going to the sunny part of the park,” Sverdlov said.

 

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Decision to keep NYC public schools open upsets parents


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Maggie Hayes

Updated at 11:40 a.m.

MELISSA CHAN AND MAGGIE HAYES

All New York City public schools will remain open Wednesday, education officials announced, dashing hopes city students might have about getting a second snow day this month, and angering parents who had to send their kids off.

“Keeping my kids home. Unsafe and crazy to keep school open. Guarantee plenty are doing the same as well as teachers having a hard time getting in,” Margaret Gomez said on The Courier’s Facebook page.

Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña made the call  Tuesday night at about 11:20 p.m., but warned “travel conditions may be difficult.”

“Families should exercise their own judgment when taking their children to school,” the notice said.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said he participated in the decision to keep schools open and that it was “the right thing to do.”

“We only close schools when it’s absolutely necessary,” he said. “We judged that we could go forward with school effectively today.”

School buses and mass transit are functioning “not perfectly, but well enough,” as of Wednesday morning, de Blasio said.

All after-school programs, field trips and PSAL games are also back to operating on a normal schedule, the schools chancellor announced.

The city closed public schools just a little more than two weeks ago on Jan. 3, during “Hercules,” the first major snowstorm of 2014.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday’s snow storm – with its predicted 10 to 14 inches of flakes and freezing temperatures – was on pace to be larger than the first.

The National Weather Service (NWS) issued a winter storm warning from 12 p.m. Tuesday until 6 a.m. Wednesday. The snow was not expected to taper off until 3 or 4 a.m. Wednesday.

Queens accumulated up to 11 inches of snow in some neighborhoods, according to the NWS.

 

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‘Snow day’ at Juniper Valley Park Saturday


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

File Photo

Updated 4:00 p.m.

Just because Mother Nature has dropped a few inches of snow, doesn’t mean you can’t put on your snow boots, get the sled and, go out and have some fun.

Keeping in mind to stay safe and bundle up, the Department of Parks and Recreation has declared an official snow day for Saturday, January 4 at five parks across the city. The snow day will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

In Queens, the Parks Department will hold a snow day at Juniper Valley Park, at 78th Street and Juniper Valley North in Middle Village. During the snow day, free organized activities include supervised safe sledding, snowman building contests, best snow angel contests, friendly snowball fights, music, and complimentary hot chocolate.

For more information, please call 311 or visit the Parks Department website for updates.

Even though Juniper Park will be the only park in the borough to include free activities in the case of a snow day, here are other 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!

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

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

Cunningham Park, Oakland Gardens

Crocheron Park, Bayside, 35th Avenue opposite Golden Pond

Flushing Meadows-Corona Park

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

Hermon A. Macneil Park, College Point

lower Highland Park, Jamaica Avenue & Elton Street

Kissena Park, Flushing, Eastside of Lake: enter Metcalf and 164th Street

 

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Hercules: Aftermath of the storm


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

Updated at 12:59 p.m.

Queens residents woke up to more than half a foot of snow Friday morning as they prepared to deal with the aftermath of the winter storm.

Snowfall in parts of the borough was reportedly as high as 11.5 inches.

Mayor Bill de Blasio updated the city at about 10:30 a.m. and urged residents to stay off the roadways and be aware of how “deceptively cold” the weather remains. Although the “snow has tapered,” wind conditions have stayed substantial.

There will be a high of 18 degrees on Friday, and a low of zero coming into Friday night, he said.

“This has been and remains a dangerous storm. It is going to be bitter cold today, and New Yorkers need to be extremely careful going outdoors,” de Blasio said. “The best things people can do are to stay off the roads so we can clear them as fast as possible, and to check in on elderly and vulnerable neighbors who might need help this morning.”

Nearly 2,500 plows are working through the 6,200 miles of roadways as of “early this morning,” de Blasio said. PlowNYC is activated for borough residents to track real-time progress of snow clearance. Residents are additionally asked not to shovel snow into the street, which could delay snow clearance.

Despite multiple accounts of drivers’ vehicles getting stuck in the snow, NYC Department of Sanitation (DSNY) Commissioner John Doherty said the agency was “able to keep the city moving no matter the situation.”

As the snow fell throughout Thursday night and early Friday morning, sanitation department members plowed “primary streets,” highways, multiple times to continue to remove snow brought back onto the roads by wind, Doherty said. They then addressed local roads and side streets.

Garbage and recycling pick-up has been suspended until snow removal is complete. All city hospitals and emergency rooms remain open, and additional ambulances have been added.

Alternate side parking regulations are suspended through Saturday and MTA subways are running with service changes. The LIRR is operating on its weekend schedule. Buses are “delayed but still moving,” and the Rockaway Ferry is not running.

John F. Kennedy International Airport closed Thursday night but Port Authority of New York & New Jersey (PANYNJ) officials are aiming to reopen at 9:30 a.m. Friday morning, although the FAA ultimately makes that decision, according to a Port Authority spokesperson.

Runways are continually being cleared of snow but the wind is working against them, pushing the wintery mix back to where it started.

At LaGuardia Airport, travelers formed long lines waiting to hear about their outgoing flights.

“This is just crazy. The only good thing is I rather be in here than out there in the cold,” said Jeff P., from Woodside who was traveling to Portland,Ore. for work. “I just hope I make my flight. I got here with four hours in advance.”

Catherine Hidalgo, 27, also made sure to leave her hotel a few hours in advance to make it back home to California.

“I just want to make it to my family safe,” said Hidalgo. “It is crazy waiting but I rather be safe than sorry.”

City schools are closed after newly-appointed Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña made the call Friday morning at about 4 a.m. After-school programs and PSAL are suspended and CUNY classes are canceled as well.

Major highways including the Long Island Expressway reopened at 8 a.m. but city officials continue to urge New Yorkers to stay out of the driver’s seat and off the roads.

 

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SNOW DAY: NYC public schools closed Friday


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

All New York City public schools are closed Friday due to Snowstorm Hercules, education officials announced.

Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña made the call to give city kids a snow day Jan. 3 shortly after 5 a.m. Friday field trips, PSAL games and after-school activities are also called off.

St. John’s University and Queensborough Community College has closed, as well, university officials said.

The first major snowstorm of 2014 so far has forced the temporary shutdown of the Long Island Expressway from the Queens/Nassau County border to Riverhead.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the ban on commercial and passenger vehicles will be extended until 8 a.m.

A winter storm warning has been issued until 1 p.m. Friday. About five to nine inches of snow are expected, with winds up to 35 mph, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).

Kew Gardens and South Ozone Park had accumulated more than 5 inches of snow as of 4 a.m., according to NWS. 



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Queens’ Morning Roundup – 11/1/2011: Queens Library’s busy Elmhurst branch set to be torn down


| jlane@queenscourier.com

The Round Up
Queens Library’s busy Elmhurst branch set to be torn  down to make way for new state -of-the-art-facility 

The Queens Library’s second busiest branch is being torn down to make way for a new state-of-the-art facility. The Elmhurst Library, which hosted almost half a million visitors during the last fiscal year, will close on Nov. 7. And even though visitors will have to contend with a makeshift library of modular units for more two years, they say it’s worth the wait. Read More: Daily News

 

 

Attacks on NYC subway workers up 16% this year,  mirroring assaults on bus drivers

It’s not just bus drivers who are getting assaulted more frequently – attacks on subway workers also are up this year, officials said Monday. Assaults on conductors, cleaners and other subway staffers are up nearly 16% January through October compared to the same stretch last year, MTA officials said at a joint meeting of the City Council transportation and labor committees.  Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Queens) urged the MTA to ask the NYPD to target the most troublesome bus routes with uniformed and undercover police officers. Read More: Daily News

 

NYPD combats bullying

The New York Police Department (NYPD) is aiming to take the fight out of bullies.
Officers of the NYPD Community Outreach Division joined Assemblymember Andrew Hevesi at P.S. 144 in Forest Hills on October 24 to present a police program designed to combat bullying in schools across the city. “Bullying is a real problem, and it can’t be ignored,” said Hevesi. “The NYPD did an outstanding job engaging the students in a discussion about bullying. The officers related to the students as they performed, and made them feel the emotional consequences of bullying.” Read More: Queens Courier

 

Richmond Hill Block Association gives residents a fighting chance against attack

Richmond Hill residents now have a fighting chance against sexual predators who have been terrorizing women in southeast Queens. In light of the recent patterns of sexual attacks in the surrounding areas, Sensei Ricky Singh of Dojo Warriors equipped a little more than a dozen women and men with vital keys to self-defense at the Richmond Hill Block Association’s monthly meeting on October 26. Of the countless sexual attacks in Queens, a 44-year-old female was assaulted on September 22 while she entered her home in Queens Village. Read More: Queens Courier

 

Downed Trees, Outages Remain After Weekend Snowstorm

New Yorkers were still feeling on Monday the effects of Saturday’s snow storm. Consolidated Edison said hundreds of city customers remained without power, and most of them were in the Bronx.The utility company said the delayed restoring of power is due to the extent of the damage from downed trees and wires in the borough. Meanwhile, tree cleanup was underway in all of the city’s parks on Monday. Read More: NY1

 

Mets To Alter Citi Field Walls To Try To Increase Scoring

The New York Mets are taking action to increase scoring at their home park, by bringing in and lowering the walls at Citi Field, hoping to turn a pitchers’ park into a neutral one. The new dimensions will add roughly 140 seats to the stadium, including 100 field-level seats in left field. A new left field wall will be about four feet closer to the plate, and the fence in left-center field will be brought 12 feet closer. Read More: NY1