Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year !

I just want to wish all of my readers a very Happy New Year!! I think we have a lot to look forward to here in Forest Hills and vicinity in the coming year and I look forward to sharing it with you all!

- Drake

Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Perfect Storm of a Perfect Storm

Yes, I know, annoying headline. But that is what went through my mind today as I read some of the analysis of what went wrong with regard to the city's handling of the blizzard. Here are the main points I have kind of digested -- including some of my own theories -- and will now share with you all. And I will definitely be posting more thoughts on this as more information comes out:

1. Mayor Bloomberg and his administration were coasting on a lot of positive media publicity in recent months (especially since the 2010 midterm elections and Bloomberg's national interviews as a potential future presidential candidate, etc..) and I think the administration had relaxed a bit too much. They let their guard down just once, but unfortunately for them, as we have seen, when you are running a city like New York, that guard can never be lowered - ever.

2. The Blizzard of 2010 was indeed a Perfect Storm, in every way:
Firstly, it was incredibly ferocious - the type of storm we really haven't had in a while here. This is what I was trying to say in a recent post about last year's winter. While we had a lot of snow last year, there just didn't seem to be any "umph" to those storms. This storm had "umph!" I was out in it for a bit -- see my photos if you haven't already -- and can testify first hand that this was a classic blizzard and packed a very mean punch. It was hard for me to walk in it, something I can not really remember in any of our recent snow storms. As a result, many motorists, more used to the types of moderate snowfalls we have recently experienced, thought they could drive during this storm. Many then ended up abandoning their cars, and then that blocked the snow plows from getting through.
Also, this was such a tricky storm to forecast, and it arrived during one of the worst possible times - on Christmas weekend. The blizzard warning by the National Weather Service was not posted until the afternoon of Christmas Day (Saturday) and the blizzard began in earnest by Sunday afternoon, just about 24 hours later. Up until then, there were increasingly worrisome forecasts about the storm. But if you recall, the forecast earlier in the week was that it would mostly miss us. I think they gave it no more than a 20 percent chance of significant snowfall. It's not hard to see how the City government was lulled into a relaxed attitude by these forecasts -- especially with Christmas coming up and everyone's desire to go on vacation, etc.. - and as a result they were so very slow to respond with a Snow Emergency and other appropriate measures.

3. The City's policy of outsourcing much of its snow plowing and car towing to private companies contributed a great deal to the plowing delays. As The Times reported, many of the private companies no longer want to even do these snowstorm jobs for the city. And because of the City's delay in requesting their assistance, some had even been hired by the local airports by the time they were needed to clear the city's streets.

As I said at the beginning of this post, I will offer more of my thoughts on this historic storm as time goes on and as more information about the city's response comes to light. But these are some of my initial thoughts on what happened and what contributed to the lax response.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Forest Hills Incident in Times Blizzard Coverage

From The Times:
"In Forest Hills, Queens, bystanders waited for three hours next to a man lying unconscious in the snow before they were able to flag down help.
Snow Blocked Hundreds of Ambulances
Published: December 28, 2010
Emergency dispatchers tried to triage calls by level of severity, but at least 200 ambulances got stuck on unplowed streets or were blocked by abandoned cars.

Blizzard of 2010: Day Three

We need you to plow, but we also roped off the street! Go figure. On 71st Road/112th St.

One of the more interesting drifts I saw on a car.
71st Road, near the Key Food, remained impassable.

The good news is the temps are rising, causing some snow melt.

Mail service resumed on Tuesday.

The plowed snow created what resembled a sea of undulating waves of snow along Queens Blvd.

Some motorists still had not learned by Tuesday. This car had just driven into a snow bank on 71st Road.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Blizzard 2010: Day Two

Austin Street, though some shops were open, was mostly free of cars.

One of several cars I noticed abandoned. This one blocking the intersection of 71st Ave. and 110th Street.

A different view of the car abandoned at the intersection of 71st Ave. and 110th Street.

Another abandoned car blocking the corner of 72nd Road and 112th Street.

This fellow seems right at home with his huskies as he strolls across Austin, coffee in hand.

Many side streets were impassable on Day Two of the storm.

Icicles dangle dangerously from the Citibank at the corner of 71st Continental and Austin.

One of the more unique aspects to this storm is how the winds kept some sides of the street mostly clear.

One of the bigger drifts I saw.

Crossing Queens Blvd. became an adventure - more like crossing the arctic tundra!

The Library was one establishment closed by the storm, to the dismay of this eager student.

One nice thing - you can walk straight down the middle of the streets to do your shopping!

Shovelers were out in force, searching for that next driveway or storefront to clear.

The Blizzard created many beautiful settings for the holidays. Station Square's tree.

The Blizzard proved too much for even NYC's best drivers, such as this cab abandoned at Ascan and Queens Blvd.

Helping a motorist who thought his car could get through anything. Apparently not.

And I really needed a haircut, too! Drats! 

The Reform Temple of Forest Hills' bushes.

Sudden wind gusts blowing the snow proved quite a challenge the day after the storm.