Monday, December 27, 2010

Snow Storm NYC: December 2010.

This morning I awoke determined to make it to work. I figured that all these stories about the impending snow storm were much about nothing. OK, so last night we heard that NYC was expecting 12-16 inches of snow fall and this really didn't sound so terrible. After all, we've had many such storms in the recent past and didn't we get 2 feet of snow during last year's storm? Back then, the city continued functioning with only minor hiccups and I was always able to slowly drive to work. The streets were icy, but I had a good car with all season tires.

I got out of bed one hour early, put on snow pants, waterproof boots, and took along a shovel that I had readied the day before. The shovel would allow me to dig through a snow bank that a snow plow typically creates while clearing a pass through the street. I figured on allocating 10-15 minutes for digging and an extra 30 minutes for the slow drive. In reserve, I held another 15 minutes that could be used to dig out a pass to a snowed in parking spot just in case the cleared spaces were all taken. The doorman greeted me with a crooked smirk but I ignored this possible warning sign and thought to myself : he just doesn't realize how resourceful and determined I am.

As I got out to the street, I quickly realized that the situation might be worse than predicted by our weather forecasters. Instead of 1 foot of snow, I saw 3-4 feet. The entire street was covered with snow and there were no plows in sight. On the street corner I saw a stuck ambulance which I later learned had been there since last night. There were abandoned cars in the middle of the street and after walking 2 blocks to get to my car, I realized that a drive would be physically impossible. After about 20 minutes of waddling through 3 foot snow, I returned to the front door of my building and learned that all bus and subway service was suspended in my part of town. Walking past the smirking doorman, I humbly smiled back.

Later today I made another valiant attempt to dig out my car but after making some progress, I returned home to rest up and hydrate myself. That was when I saw Bloomberg's press conference being broadcast on local TV. What a disgrace of a mayor he has become. NYC has been through far worse storms. In the past the plows had come out early and would work relentlessly though the night. This storm is different; it has brought my part of the city to a complete shutdown. The plows were not there and the streets remain impassable.

What explanation did this mayor provide? He blamed the stuck cars in the street; he blamed the stranded city residents because they should have known better and stayed home. Yes, that's right: the reason that this storm is so much more disruptive is apparently the fault of New Yorkers. What about the abandoned city buses in the middle of the street? Were those vehicles also not supposed to be running? How about the one snow plow that I saw abandoned in the middle of an otherwise empty street? Apparently by the time plows did come out, the task of driving through a street long stretch of 4 feet snow was simply too much and trying to plow through would cause too much damage to other vehicles.

BTW mayor, is it also our fault that our streets are riddled with potholes which remain unfilled for half a year and whenever they are filled in, the asphalt seems to dissolve with the first drops of rain? This is NYC and we pay just about the highest taxes in the country. So, what exactly do these inflated taxes pay for? Maybe what we really need is another expensive campaign to remove salt from our restaurants and cigarettes from our bars.

About these supposed warnings to stay home that our mayor said we should have heeded. The last email message from my city government operated workplace was a warning that anyone who called in sick would have to provide proof that they were actually sick, or face a penalty. In this economy, one doesn't need to elaborate on what might be meant by "penalty". Ironically, the person who sent out this irresponsible message at 1pm on Sunday, never made it to work today to send further instructions. These contradictory and unhelpful messages are coming from people that you, mayor Bloomberg, put in charge. At some point however, no matter what threats these administrators issue, there is simply nothing that can be done.

In a way, he is correct that the fault lies with us. We never should have re-elected this excuse of a man. I just wish we had someone else to vote for.