NYCHA heat woes, snow-covered roads among city’s struggles following big nor’easter

Snow plowers clear walkway for The Maggie L. Walker School in Crown Heights.
Photo by Ariama C. Long

Monday’s nor’easter slammed the five boroughs with more snow than it had in years, leaving city agencies scrambling to respond effectively during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

Residents were told to stay in their homes, and thousands of New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) tenants citywide struggled to keep warm without heat in many public housing developments yesterday and the days leading up to the storm. In places like East Harlem, some resorted to opening their stoves for heat or boiling water throughout the night.

“We’re talking about very old buildings sadly that for decades did not get the maintenance they deserve,” said de Blasio at the daily press briefing this morning, Tuesday, Feb. 2. 

De Blasio said part of the snowstorm team response for NYCHA residents is the responsibility of NYCHA.

“That’s their job, and whenever we get a report of an outage their job is to get those residents the heat and hot water they need as soon as possible,” said de Blasio.

Travel and transit bans were lifted Tuesday morning, the mayor added, but it’s strongly suggested that if you don’t have to go somewhere, don’t.

Bay Ridge residents shovel out their cars.Photo by Erica Price

Newly appointed Sanitation Commissioner Edward Grayson promised more help is definitely on the way for New Yorkers stuck in the whopping 17.2 inches of snowfall so far. His department is heavily focusing on getting roads and pathways cleared even as the snow continues to fall into the night on Tuesday, he said.

“Cannot stress it enough, this was a major snowfall event. A lot of snow citywide. We at the department are very aware that we have a lot of work yet to be done,” said Grayson. “We are coming. We’re on all snow, and we have not taken our foot off the gas and we’ll be continuing to do that all through today and into the overnight shift.”

Grayson said the Sanitation Department deployed its first shift of Emergency Snow Labor Program workers to aid sanitation workers with shoveling and snow removal from areas like bus stops, crosswalks, fire hydrants, bike lanes and pedestrian streets.

“On to refuse and recycling collection, we are definitely delayed. We did not pick up the garbage yesterday, and we are not on pace to be picking up your Tuesday frequency service today,” he said. “We’re doing everything we can to get back on schedule.”

This story first appeared on AMNY.com.