New York City is still rebounding from Winter Storm Jonas, one of the worst blizzards to hit the five boroughs since the late 1800s, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio, who implemented a travel ban on Saturday, January 23 and has since suspended alternate side parking until the first of February.
The first blizzard of the New Year – which dumped more than two feet of snow on most parts of New York – brought the city to almost a complete stop, keeping the majority of residents indoors and local businesses’ doors shut.
Though, just two days later, officials have deemed the clean-up a swift one.
“This weekend, Mother Nature sent us the second largest snowfall since 1869 – and hundreds of our city’s tireless workers rose to the challenge to keep our city safe,” said de Blasio on Monday morning. “Under the toughest of circumstances, our sanitation workers and first responders braved the elements to protect the people of this city.”
Since the end of the storm, the Department of Sanitation (DSNY) has plowed up to 97 percent of all primary and secondary streets at least once with only some tertiary streets remaining impassable. Sanitation workers are in the process of revisiting all streets and, with 920 snow laborers already hired, the DSNY Commissioner Kathryn Garcia has made an open call for more.
“While the uniformed men and women of the Department of Sanitation concentrate their efforts on city streets, emergency snow laborers will be vital to keeping the city moving after this massive snowfall,” she said. “Their help, in targeting the city’s thousands of crosswalks, fire hydrants and bus stops, will allow for the quicker removal of snow in the areas pedestrians frequent.”
Locally, community leaders praised the city — and its residents — for a job well done.
“I was struck by the sense of community and self-sacrifice of all people – neighbors, kids, older folks,” said Community Board 10 Chair Brian Kieran. “There was a heck of a lot of effort that went into [shoveling] by property owners, business owners and the city, and it shows.”
“Here at the office, during the snowstorm, we fielded a lot of calls but fortunately we really didn’t have too many complaints because all of our streets were plowed well,” added Board 10 District Manager Josephine Beckmann, noting that, while she and her colleagues had their concerns about the aftermath, more than one city agency helped to ease their minds.
“I spoke to [Brooklyn Borough Director] Daniel Abramson more times this week than any member of my family,” Beckmann said, “because the mayor’s office reached out to us regularly as well as the Department of Sanitation, the local police department, and Patrol Borough Brooklyn South, so we were very well covered here in District 10 and we greatly appreciate that.”
Both Kieran and Beckmann agreed, it was better to be over-prepared.
“It worked out very well,” said Kieran. “Kudos to all the workers.”
As for next time, board member Brian Kaszuba noted, greater attention needs to be paid to crosswalks, street corners and bus stops.
“It’s hard enough for the average pedestrian but I think for the seniors and for mothers with young children trying to walk with carriages, it’s impossible,” said Kaszuba. “More needs to be done to clear the walkways.”