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Thursday, January 27, 2011

New York City's Snow Reaction Plan

I have heard many people talking, and read the arguments of others going back and forth online, over whether or not the blasts of snow we have had this winter in NYC are the result of global warming.

I remember we had some pretty intense winters in the city back in the late 60's and in the 70's. My brothers and I and all the neighborhood kids were out playing in almost waist high banks of snow, searching for perfect hills to go sledding. The Mayor's running those snow shows were John V. Lindsay and Abraham D. Beame.

Then we had some wonderful storms in the 80's when Edward I. Koch was in the house. I remember one time traveling to work and experiencing no more than the expected snow delay in bus service, then facing a nightmare on my way home as the storm intensified. Most bus lines stopped running or had extremely limited service leaving many commuters stranded during rush hour. Two friends were not able to go home and had to stay with a relative who lived close to the subway station they exited. Meanwhile I walked 2.67 miles. The storm was worse then the 2 we have had so far this season.

Back then no one was talking about global warming. Snow storms were and should be expected to occur each winter. We live in the North East after all. We should not be expecting to be walking around in capris and flip flops but in parkas and snow shoes.

While I do believe we have made a pretty good mess of polluting our planet, damaging the fine barrier that protects it and have an obligation to find a way to fix it, at present I would just like to see NYC do a better job at managing efforts to clear the streets and get NY'ers and those visiting the Big Apple from point A to B efficiently.

The street in front of my home did not see a snow plow until 4 days after the blizzard of December 26, 2010 and has not seen one yet during this last one. Why? Why in a time of such advance technology in which weather can be predicted 10-plus days in advance, is NYC so unprepared to handle inclement weather. This is not 1968. This was not a surprise storm! Where's our action plan? Seems all we have are reaction plans in NYC these days.

So, 2 thumbs down to the powers that be responsible for coordinating snow removal leaving many NY'ers stranded a second time this winter season, especially given the fact that our recent storm was not as bad as the last one in December. You may think you learned a lesson from the storm in December but obviously not so well.

And, 2 thumbs up to all NY'ers for the sense of community and team work they displayed! Yes, NY'ers learned a lesson after the first blizzard, that is, "Don't wait for city snow plows to clean up your street." "If you want it done right, do it yourself." (

 During the winter storm of January 27, 2011...

the trees reached to the heavens in S.O.S....

and, the street signs didn't know 
which way to point...

because while the plow above 
and the one below...

and, others around the city 
were going over cleared streets...

 this was the look of one, like many 
1/2 a block away!


Winter of Discontent Lindsay's Snowstorm, 1969
By Owen Moritz, Daily News, Oct. 1998

The Mayors and Snow
Columbia University Press Blog, January 13, 2011

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