Hundreds of people converge on Cedar Hill in Central Park for a day of winter fun. The cascade of color provides a stark contrast to the recently fallen snow. (Photos: Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates) Click on images to enlarge
By Geoffrey Croft
The storm spared NYC depositing just a fraction the anticipated snowfall. Blizzard warnings originally called for up to 3 feet but less than eight inches fell in Central Park by Tuesday.
Parts of Long Island, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts faired much worse.
New Yorkers arriving at their neighborhood parks this morning were greeted by an unfamiliar scene - their parks were closed!
Locked. Ruppert Park - E. 90th Street & 2nd Avenue - Manhattan.
Many playgrounds were padlocked and laminated park signs posted by the Parks Department said that they were closed due to storm conditions.
Yesterday the city took the unusual step of officially closing all the parks and playgrounds in to order to minimize the risk of being struck by a falling tree or tree limb or slipping on ice.
Today many park goers ignored the signs and took advantage of the winter wonderland.
By early afternoon the sun was out and hundreds of thousands of people had flocked to their local parks. Many went sledding, while others strapped on cross country skis.
The Parks Department officially reopened parks at 11:00am this morning although the signs were still hanging throughout the park system.
The agency posted an updated message on their Storm Site.
"We continue to urge caution in parks under wintry conditions: parks paths can be slippery, snow cover can cover frozen lakes and bodies of water, and branches may have fallen. We urge people to stay out of parks and proceed with caution on tree-lined sidewalks in the event of falling trees or branches. To report downed trees or branches, please call 311. In case of emergency, please call 911."
Many parks workers said they were forced to stay overnight at work, sleeping in vehicles and lockers rooms.
Most people found park closed signs when they arrived at their local parks today.
Not All Fun and Games. Park Enforcement Patrol (PEP) officers check the Harlem Meer in Central Park to make no one has ventured onto the ice or in need of assistance. PEP officers throughout the five boroughs regularly check the park system's many water bodies to make sure they are secure.
PEP officers at the Meer.
A Central Park Conservancy pick-up truck with plow.
A Conservancy worker clears stairs.
Sledding in Carl Schurz Park between 90/91st Street and East End Avenue with Gracie Mansion (1799) in the background. Park patrons generally ignored the posted closing signs.
Workers began clearing the paths around Gracie Mansion at 5:30am.
A Parks Department gardener spreads salt in Carl Schurz Park on the paths around Gracie Mansion. Some parks workers spent the night on Randalls' Island.
A Walk In The Park - January 26, 2015 - By Geoffrey Croft