The Big Apple was off to a slow, yet good start on Monday but there is still more to be done before things can get completely back to normal.
In an update on the city’s response to this weekend’s storm — which dropped over two feet of snow on New York City — Mayor Bill de Blasio thanked sanitation workers and first responders for protecting New Yorkers through and after the storm.
He added that although things are not completely back to normal in the city, every agency involved did “a great job all around” despite some areas facing bigger difficulties than others.
“Things are not entirely normal today but a lot of the city is operating well,” de Blasio said. “The storm presented a host of challenges but each agency I believe handled it great.”
With the Department of Sanitation (DSNY) having plowed up to 97 percent of all primary and secondary streets at least once, DSNY Commissioner Kathryn Garcia said that the agency would focus its primary efforts on Queens on Monday.
Residents of the “World’s Borough” voiced their outrage over the weekend, turning to social media to post photos of their streets still covered in snow, hours after the storm.
De Blasio visited the borough twice in the past two days and said that he had seen improvements after his first visit but more still had to be done in some neighborhoods.
“I saw some improvements but we got to finish this job today,” de Blasio said. “No one is saying mission accomplished around here.”
Out of a total of 2,000 DSNY pieces which are out in the city, the agency has more than 900 being used in Queens, which in some areas saw more than 30 inches of snow.
DSNY has also diverted front-end loaders from other boroughs and hired private contractors to assist in digging, piling, and hauling snow away to melters.
The agency is also looking to hirising any snow laborers to help with the continued cleanup.
And although things are beginning to improve for the city, de Blasio continued to urge New Yorkers to be careful when walking on the streets or sidewalks, check in on neighbors, and do not use their cars unless absolutely necessary.
“Don’t think this is business as usual because it’s not business as usual,” de Blasio said. “If you don’t need your car, just leave it where it is.”
The mayor asked for people to just let nature help with the snow, let it melt and do not throw any snow back on the streets because it causes more issues for DSNY vehicles.
When clearing sidewalks, three to four feet should be cleared so no fines get issued to homeowners or business owners, and whoever is not healthy should leave the shoveling to others.
Since the storm, a total of five people have died in the city due to snow shoveling, according to authorities.
De Blasio added that he is aware that many New Yorkers have been inconvenienced due to the storm, but he believes the overall response by the city was strong. Once all snow removal is complete, the city will also look into what was done during the storm and assess any adjustments that need to be made.