The Snowpocalypse that Wasn’t (New York City, 2017)

Snow accumulation on Tuesday night, March 14 2017

Listening to the news last weekend and last Monday, it sounded like disaster was imminent. Schools were shut down, public transit was suspended, and people were encouraged to remain at home if at all possible to avoid the life-threatening storm that was going to hit Monday night and continue through Tuesday.

Like most of the news commentators mentioned, the storm didn’t quite turn out as expected. I think I was listening to NPR when I heard an announcer mention the actual snow totals in New York City. He then made the comment, “Do you know what we call that in Chicago? Tuesday.” I laughed, remembering how I’d gone out on Tuesday to grab a few odds and ends for making tacos. There was a good bit of snow and the sidewalks were slippery, but it wasn’t that serious.

Snow accumulation on 176th Street in the Bronx, New York City.
Snow accumulation on 176th Street in the Bronx, New York City.

The Bronx received more snow than anywhere else in the city at 8″ of accumulation. Watching from my living room window, I could see that the wind was pretty bad at times, but it wasn’t quite what I was expecting. I kept thinking about the blizzard in January of 2015 as a point of reference. The oddest thing about the day was how quiet it was. There was very little traffic, there weren’t many pedestrians, and the few trains that passed our station went by slowly and quietly, with no announcements. My apartment overlooks a train line. After living here for a year, I don’t really notice the sound of the trains, but I noticed when the sound stopped.

January 2015 Blizzard in Washington Heights:

January 2015 Winter Storm Jonas - New York City Blizzard// was probably worse than Tuesday. The snow had partially melted because of sleet and rain and had frozen overnight on the sidewalks. The corners, where the pedestrian crossings are, were huge puddles of slush. Hopefully, this will be the last snow we see this year. I’m ready for spring.

Are We There Yet? When is Spring Coming?

This winter has been really long and unpleasant. Every time the snow on the ground is about to melt, we get hit with another snowstorm. This morning, I was excited that the weather was warming up. Today it got up to 54 (a heat wave!) and tomorrow it will be 53, but then I saw that next week the temperature is going to drop down close to freezing again.

I just wish we could get a good solid rainstorm to get rid of the snow and all the filth that’s covering everything. On all of the exposed concrete there is a layer of grime that looks almost like dirty, blended newspapers and mud. It’s most noticeable on the stairs leading down into the subway stations. It gets on everything.

If it has to be cold, can’t it at least be clean? Snow is only pretty for a few minutes in New York City.

The Beginning of New York City’s 2014 Snowpocalypse

Because we have a dog, we have plenty of opportunities to go out and experience the weather, even when we don’t particularly feel like it, like tonight, with wind and fairly heavy snow. I think this will be the last dog we own while we live in an apartment. It wouldn’t be bad if I could just open a door and let the dog out into the yard to handle his business, but owning a dog in New York City is time consuming. We walk him about three times a day and that eats up anywhere from an hour to an hour and 15 minutes per day.

Anyway, pet woes aside, the weather is nasty. Earlier today I was out shopping and I saw that someone had created a check-in on Foursquare called Snowpocalypse Winter 2013-2014. I don’t think it will be quite as bad as the snow cleanup fiasco in 2010, though. That was crazy. I even saw snow plows (or what passes for snow plows here, trash trucks with plow blades attached) getting stuck in the snow.

That’s not to say the weather outside is nothing to be concerned about, though. It’s ugly, and there was a weather alert earlier. Not that I understand the reasoning, except perhaps to convince people to not travel, but express trains were set to begin running local stops at 5:45 PM. Some dude even got on TV and said to not go outside if at all possible. That should go without saying anyway. Nothing says fun like getting blasted in the face with ice and snow, right? Better to hang at the house with a hot cup of coffee.

So, I took these photos:

Hopefully, the city is able to stay on top of the snow build-up, or people might be sad on their way to work tomorrow.

First Snow for New York City (Winter 2011)… in October.

First Snow For New York City 2011
First Snow For New York City 2011

It’s looking like a mini-blizzard out there.  I didn’t expect to see this in October!  I do remember it being so cold we had to bundle up tight for Trick-or-Treating when I was a kid though, back in the 80s, and that was in Maryland.  Maybe this isn’t so unusual after all.  Maybe it’s more like things going back to the way they were before.  Regardless, it’s snowing, and it’s getting me in the Christmas spirit before we’ve even gotten past Halloween.

It’s not supposed to stick, thankfully.  I can do without piles of snow on the roads for a few more weeks at least.  I’m planning on moving to a new apartment and I have absolutely no experience driving in snow.  Hurricanes, yes.  Snow, no.

Officially a Full Time Student Again For The First Time in Almost 12 Years (And more snow pictures)

A picture of Townsend Hall at CCNY.

A picture of Townsend Hall at CCNY, prior to all the snowstorms New York City has suffered through over the last month.

Everything went off without a hitch today, other than a lack of sleep due to anxiety.  I woke up at 5 AM and couldn’t fall back asleep, after going to bed at 1 AM.  I’m starting to feel that now, now that the excitement of the day is winding down.

Getting up to CCNY was surprisingly fast this morning.  I had expected there to be delays, due to leftover snow from the snowstorm.  Instead, I got there more quickly than usual, even though I walked two blocks to the nearest subway station to get a MetroCard.  The commute was only an hour, compared to the hour and 15 to 20 minutes it had been taking me before.  I imagine that was partly because I was traveling during the morning rush hour, so there were more trains and buses running.  I’ll allot more time when I head up there for class, just to make sure I have the commute time right.

In my last post I said that the only thing I really had to worry about was busting my ass on the hill going up to the school, and maybe I jinxed myself.  I didn’t completely fall, but I looked like a flailing idiot more than once, scrambling to catch my balance.  Someone I know told me once that Dr. Marten’s are great shoes for jobs where you have to do a lot of standing, but they really don’t have any traction in the snow.  She was completely right.  I need to get some proper snow boots, but it’s probably too late in the season to worry about it now.  I’ll just keep that in mind for next year.  I really need to take a photo of that hill too.

I wound up getting to the school at about 8:20 AM.  I went over to the Veteran’s Affairs office first, to let them know I was there and to ask where I should be going.  Unfortunately, I beat the VA counselors to work, and I stood around in the courtyard for a while scoping out the snow.  It was knee deep in places.

The area these photos are taken in is called the “squad”, or so I was told by a girl that worked in the Gateway Advisory office, which I visited a short while later.  I asked her why, but she didn’t know.  I’m guessing it’s a combination of ‘square’ and ‘quad’ that someone thought was cute, and it just sort of stuck.

After talking to the VA counselor, I got sent over to the Gateway Advisory office.  I showed up there at 10 minutes to 9 and then stood around waiting for that office to open.  When it finally did open, at 9, I found out the advisors didn’t come in and start advising until 9:30.  Not a problem!  I had my Kindle with me.  I’m reading an interesting historical fiction book by GA Henty called The Cat of Bubastes (link to free download on Amazon).  It’s a story about ancient Egypt that’s turning out better than I’d expected.

By about 10 we had discussed the courses still available and I chose the ones that most suit my major and didn’t duplicate something I’ve already taken at another college.  I’ll be taking Introduction to Anthropology, American Government and Politics, Introduction to the Visual Arts of the World, and World Humanities 1, a course about literature from the Greeks up to the 1500s.

What took up so much of my time was getting the financial part of things taken care of:  standing in line to get my bill, then walking back to the VA office for the VA deferral form, then back to the admissions office to stand in line to get the VA form verified, and then standing in line to get the zero balance verified so I could get my student ID is what took up most of my time, not because the walk was long, but because the lines were long.  I was surprised by how many people were there trying to pay their bills.  I had a low priority for registering for classes, and was only allowed to register on the last available day, because I’m taking classes as a non-matriculated student this semester.  I figured most people would’ve finished this all up by now.

Getting my student ID was an interesting experience, and oddly, my first thought was, ‘I wonder if I can use this to get discounts on stuff?’  While I was there, I saw one guy that looked like he was in his 50s getting a student ID, but most of the people there looked too young to even be in college.  Still, it was comforting to know I wasn’t the only ‘older’ person going back to school to get more education.

Anyhow, I’ve got a pretty good schedule.  Except for a 9:30 class on Fridays, all of my classes start in the afternoon.  That means I can still sleep in!  I’m looking forward to kicking things off next week!

Awesome Snow Pictures of Annoying Snow

Yesterday, in the early afternoon, I took some time to go out and see the snow.  First, I took some pictures from the balcony, and then I took a few photos while I was out in the street, on my way to Newport Centre Mall in New Jersey.  These photos were taken on the 26th, prior to the big snowstorm that night (last night).

A photo of the snow from our balcony.

A photo of the snow from our balcony.

These are photos I took from the balcony before leaving the house to head to New Jersey.

14th Street, between Avenues B and A, facing towards Avenue A.

This is a photo of the snow in the trees along 14th street between Avenues B and A, facing towards Avenue A.  As you can see, early yesterday afternoon, the snow wasn’t sticking to the street.  The snow on the ground wasn’t much more than what was there already.  The snow hasn’t ever completely melted since that big snowstorm in December.

This is a photo of some snow covered evergreen trees outside the Newport Pavonia PATH station in New Jersey.

Snow in the trees outside the Newport Pavonia PATH station in New Jersey.

I saw these trees just outside the Newport Pavonia PATH station in New Jersey, where you get off the train to walk to the Newport Centre Mall.  At the time, the snow was coming down in fat, wet flakes and it wasn’t really sticking to the ground at all, but it did give the trees a sort of Winter Wonderland feel that I thought was really nice.  By the time I got home from my shopping trip, the snow had stopped completely.

Later in the evening, the snow started coming down again, a lot heavier than before.  The news was saying that it was going to be a pretty bad storm, and it damn sure was.  At times, I could barely see the building across the street.  I’m still impressed by snowstorms, so I thought it was pretty cool, but I had a feeling it was going to make my day today a lot more annoying than it would have been otherwise.

You see, yesterday was supposed to be my last day of freedom, before going back to school full time.  I was supposed to head out to the school today to register for classes, and then start classes tomorrow, depending on my schedule.  Things didn’t turn out quite that way, because of the snow.

When I was going to bed, the news reports were predicting school closures today, and it had me on edge, because I’m really anxious to get my class registrations done.  I’ve been out of school for over a decade, so going to college full time is a pretty big deal for me.  Sure enough, when I got up, there was a message in red on my school’s homepage, saying that the school was closed.

For a while, I worried about how that would affect my registration, but I realized there wasn’t much I could do about it if the school was closed.  I figured I’d just deal with it as best I could, and rolled back into bed for a few more hours of sleep.  Maybe it’s a holdover from the time I spent in the military, which gave me a lot of exposure to institutional stupidity, but I don’t put a lot of trust in public institutions to make common sense decisions when things don’t go as planned.  I half expected the school to just tell me, tough luck, enroll next semester.  You see, I enrolled late because I was outside the US still when the deadline for normal registrations came and passed.  I also had a few issues with my direct admission since I went to high school in a different state, and I was given last priority to register for classes on the last day of registration.

My fear was thankfully unfounded.  Later this morning, the college updated the message on their website, saying registrations would be extended to compensate for the closure today, so now I’ll be heading up to the school tomorrow to take care of that and all I’ll have to worry about is slipping and busting my ass on the long slope heading up to CCNY from the train station.

NYC Sanitation Department, Killing Babies Is The Wrong Way To Protest Budget Cuts

The news this morning made me look at the video I posted previously in a whole new light.

Was this done intentionally, as part of the plan to botch the cleanup as a protest?

A lot of people were saying that the cleanup after this recent blizzard was botched.  It was slow, ineffective, and lots of people suffered for it, and now we know why:

Miles of roads stretching from as north as Whitestone, Queens, to the south shore of Staten Island still remained treacherously unplowed last night because of the shameless job action, several sources and a city lawmaker said, which was over a raft of demotions, attrition and budget cuts.

“They sent a message to the rest of the city that these particular labor issues are more important,” said City Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Queens)…

Read more at: NYPost

Their labor issues are more important than what?  The lives and safety of New Yorkers?  I read quite a few stories where people were seriously injured, or where deaths occurred because emergency services couldn’t reach people in need.  One that stands out in my mind was a woman who gave birth in the lobby of a building.  Her baby died before EMS could reach her.

Her baby died to protest budget cuts.  Good job, sanitation department.  You’re real fucking heroes today.  Someone should be made liable to criminal charges for the deaths caused by the unplowed roads, since they’re direct results of a plan to botch the cleanup.

Trash piling up after the December 26th blizzard in New York City.

Want to hear another problem this is causing?  Well, since the sanitation department was intentionally slow with cleaning up the snow, they took longer to get back around to their main purpose: picking up the trash.  Now, I don’t imagine we’re going to see any outbreaks of diseases just because the trash wasn’t picked up for a day, but the trash is really piling up, and it’s everywhere.  Additionally, with the sanitation workers still dicking around with the snow, or what’s left of it now, the regular cleanup of streets and the city trash cans on the corners is behind as well.  It’s disgusting.  Most of 14th street looks like one big garbage can.

Trash piling up on 14th street after the December 26th blizzard in New York City.

This whole problem seems indicative of a massive lack of common sense to me.  Whoever planned to have this cleanup botched should at the least lose their job.  Seriously.  And whoever took part should receive demotions and pay cuts, exactly what they were protesting against.  I’m all for protesting, but not when it endangers peoples’ lives.