A new level of snow

The view from the Empire State Building is of Manhattan’s snow-covered rooftops.

The MTA has been so clobbered by storms this winter that it announced a new emergency status yesterday for dealing with the nonstop white stuff: Level 5.

In blizzard conditions where the snowfall nears 13 inches, the MTA will declare a Level 5 emergency, which means parts of or entire lines will be shut down as train switches and signals freeze and heavy winds blow snow onto the tracks. The preventative move would prevent trains or buses from getting stuck.

“It’s planning for extreme storms in which the suspension of some services may be required,” MTA Chairman Jay Walder explained. “But in general we would like to keep the trains moving, because that’s actually the best way to keep tracks clear.”

For years, the highest alert system the MTA used was Level 4, but the Dec. 26 blizzard forced the MTA to rethink its emergency preparedness.

Lines on open tracks, such as the B in southern Brooklyn, are the most at risk to close in heavy snow.

But not everyone agreed the MTA should be so quick to close entire lines.

“Limited service is a last resort,” said MTA Board member Ira Greenberg. “When people can’t get to work, it’s a severe impact on employers.”

Sledding spots

Check out these spots for some of the best sledding in the city:

Manhattan:
» Central Park’s Pilgrim Hill, 72nd Street entrance at Fifth Avenue
» Inwood Hill Park near Dyckman Street

Brooklyn:
» Prospect Park, near Ninth Street entrance
» Fort Greene Park, DeKalb Avenue and Washington Park

Queens:
» Forest Park, Forest Park Drive and 79th Street
» Juniper Valley Park, Juniper Boulevard and Lutheran Avenue

Bronx:
» Ewan Park, 231st Street and Riverdale Avenue
» Crotona Park, Fulton Avenue and 172nd Street

Staten Island:
» Clove Lakes Park, Martling and Slosson avenues
» Silver Lake Park’s notorious Dead Man’s Hill



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