Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Snowpocalypse Part 2: NYC FAIL

I snagged this really cool picture of the highway up in the 'burbs from facebook. It's pretty incredible. We don't have quite that much snow in the city, though it seems to have been plenty, because the real story of the snowpocalypse turns out to be that it's yet another sign of our failing urban infrastructure.

My street had a stalled bus at the foot of the hill from Sunday night til this afternoon -- Tuesday -- and the street is still not plowed. Which means the busline can't run on the street at all. The crosswalk up by the main avenue is a jumbled mass of snow that people can hardly walk through. While the avenue itself is cleared there are few cutaways to the sidewalk. Any subways which spend part of their route operating above ground are still iffy. And there's been no mail delivery since last Friday; apparently that "neither rain nor snow nor dead of night" line was just a line. And it stopped snowing before dawn on Monday.

Mayor Bloomberg has come under severe criticism for his handling of the cleanup in the storm's aftermath. Budget cuts have meant layoffs and staffing reductions through attrition and it's obvious that this has had an effect on the city's ability to deal with the weather. Not a big surprise since Bloomberg values the richest residents of the city above all others. Coupled with the debacle of the rollout of electronic voting machines this last election, and subway cutbacks which have lengthened rides and dramatically increased costs, Bloomberg's last term is not chalking up a roster of achievement. His government seems callous and out of touch, living in a rarified universe far above the streets and the rest of us.

It's completely empirical, but having lived in NYC since 1981 I've seen a lot of bad weather and it's only in the past few years that the city has been brought to its knees so completely by precipitation. Even a heavy rain seems to throw the subways into crisis, and seeing normally busy streets go unplowed for two days would have once been unimaginable.


  1. yikes! that's an incredible photo. not so much snow in my area, I only got about 6 inches up in CT, heh heh, but the wind was furious for two days, up to 60 mph. lots of branches down, and a few trees in town. I was bitching to myself walking around today because a lot of sidewalks weren't shoveled, so I had to walk in the street. I'll be quiet though, nothing like what you describe in the city!

  2. They seem to have plowed the street overnight, though I'm not seeing traffic or buses running on it yet. Well, no traffic cause the cars are all stuck maybe. I don't drive but I wouldn't!

    Isn't six inches an... average snowfall? 8 or 9 is impressive. As much snow as we got here is just overkill. :)