Monday, January 26, 2015

The Calm Before The Storm As The City Braces For The Blizzard of 2015

Two friends brave blustery winds and snow as they walk south on a deserted East Drive in Central Park on Monday afternoon.  (Photos: Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates)  Click on images to enlarge

Beginning Monday evening at 6pm, all parks and playgrounds were closed until futher notice in order to minimize the risk of being struck by a falling tree, branches or slipping on ice.  The  Parks Department agency is urging people to stay out of parks and proceed with caution on tree-lined sidewalks. To report downed trees or branches, please call 311. In case of emergency, please call 911.

The forecast calls for snow to intensify after midnight falling between 2 to 4 inches per hour overnight, accumulating up to 24 inches before tapering off tomorrow afternoon.

Central Park is deploying more than 100 workers to combat the snow.  Staff are utilizing 18 snow plows, five front-end loaders and 22 snow blowers and will be working around the clock during the storm.

The record snowfall in New York City was in 2006 when 26.9 inches was measured in Central Park. The blizzard of 1947 dumped more than 26 inches.


By Geoffrey Croft

As the city braced for the Blizzard of 2015 New Yorkers got their first taste as 4 inches of snow fell on Monday blanketing the five boroughs.  
Some park goers ventured into the snowy abyss and took advantage of the winter wonderland while others tried to go about their daily routines -  exercising or simply trying to make their way home.  Kids trickled out after school, excited by the first real accumulation of snow this winter.  

A majestic scene near W. 77th street looking south east. 

Out of an abundance of caution the city authorized the closing of all city parks beginning this evening at 6:00 until further notice.

"Closures include all parks and recreation centers, and signage will be posted at all parks sites," the Parks Department posted on its website.

"Heavy ice and snow can cause hazardous conditions in parks, including falling branches and treacherous frozen park paths. On Tuesday morning NYC Parks will provide an update on parks conditions."

Although the snow totals have been lowered the current forecast calls up to 24 inches with snowfall rates between 2 to 4 inches per hour overnight    beginning early Tuesday morning.  Winds of 20 to 30 MPH are forecast, with gusts of up to 55 MPH with temperatures in the lower 20s. 

Mayor de Blasio called this evening's lull, "the calm before the storm," in a briefing just after 7:00pm.

This afternoon the Mayor announced a travel ban on NYC streets for non-emergency vehicles starting at 11 p.m. emphasizing "safety first."

"The priority right now is anything related to the safely of our people," the Mayor said in announcing a Winter Weather State of Emergency.  

 A lone runner along the park's East Drive.

Earlier, Governor Cuomo declared a state of emergency for New York City and announced misdemeanor fines of up to $300 for those caught driving nonessential vehicles on the road after 11:00pm.

For the first time in the city's history the entire MTA system will be shut down. All public transportation will stop running this evening at 11:00 this evening until further notice. 

A Coastal Flood Warning has been issued overnight for parts of the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens.  A Coastal Flood Advisory is also in effect overnight for parts of Manhattan and Staten Island. 

Park News

Some parks with conservancies updated their websites throughout the day and provided updates on social media.

"Because of potentially hazardous conditions, Hudson River Park will be closed today, Monday, Jan 26 starting at 6pm, until further notice. Trust staff will asses conditions tomorrow morning and will issue an update at that time. Stay safe!," the Hudson River Park Trust wrote. 

Battery Park City however welcomes the public to have fun!   

"Since the kids will be out school tomorrow, the Battery Park City Ball Fields will open from 10am to 5pm and are a great place for the whole family to make snow angels, build snow men or have a friendly snow ball fight," BPC Conservancy wrote.

"We’ll be putting updates on our Twitter & Facebook pages throughout the coming days so be sure to check back in with us.

Scotty - an 11-year-old Scottish Terrier, making the scene along the park's Westdrive.  

Other conservancies solicited donations.

"Central Park Conservancy staff will be removing snow from roadways and paths and clearing downed trees and branches in the Park around the clock. It's a huge and costly effort!  Make a tax-deductible gift today to help us cover these expenses,"  the group wrote in a Central Park Blizzard Update  on its website.

"Help Central Park Recover from 2015 Blizzard When a winter storm hits Central Park, the Conservancy must quickly assess the extent of the storm's destruction, clear damaged trees and branches, and plow and salt 58 miles of paths and roads. It's a huge job requiring more than 100 staff — one made even more immense by the size and scope of the current blizzard. Our teams will be working around the clock to ensure the Park is accessible as soon as possible to all New Yorkers.  Your tax-deductible donation will help the Conservancy clean up and repair storm damage to Central Park. Please make a gift today.

All of Central Park's playgrounds are closed. 

 A mother pulls her 5 year daughter and promises more fun tomorrow.

The Associated Press reported that Central Park would be utilizing 18 snow plows, five front-end loaders and 22 snow blowers to work around the clock during the storm.

The Parks Department created a Storm update page on its website

Due to the winter storm, NYC Parks are closed as of Monday, January 26, 2015 at 6:00 p.m., effective until further notice. These facilities are closed until further notice. For more information on the winter weather and ways to be prepared, please visit .
The following facilities are closed as of 6:00 p.m. Monday, January 26, and will remain closed until further notice. This information will be updated as it is available:
  • All City Parks
  • All City Playgrounds, including Alley Pond Park Adventure Course and Imagination Playground.
  • All City Beaches 
  • All Recreation Centers and Field Houses
  • All Nature Centers managed by NYC Parks
  • Greenmarkets, citywide
  • Zoos and aquariums 

A lone park goer makes her way along the lake on the west side of Central Park near 72nd street. 

Imagine. The iconic black and white circular Imagine mosaic in Strawberry Fields,  near the Dakota apartment building where John Lennon, Yoko Ono and thier son Sean lived,  was designed by artists from Naples, Italy.

The snow's glare reflects off the magnificent Minton Tile ceiling in the Bethesda Terrace Arcade.  The tiles were installed in 1869 and designed by British-born architect and designer, Jacob Wrey Mould. The Arcade was created in the 1860s as a part of the Park's main architectural feature.

The Egyptian temple The Temple of Dendur is all but obscured by a snow bank on the windows of at the Metropolitan Museum.

 (Photos: Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates)  Click on images to enlarge

Read More:

A Walk in The Park - January 26, 2015 - By Geoffrey Croft

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