Connect with us


Six inches of snow nearly paralyzed the New York area. What went wrong?



new york area snow

Drivers were trapped on gridlocked, snowy roads for hours.

Middle schoolers in New Jersey had to spend the night at school.

The upper level of the George Washington Bridge — one of the busiest bridges in the world — came to a standstill with drivers abandoning their cars.

The New York region was all but paralyzed by an early winter storm that led to recriminations and second-guessing on Friday about what exactly went wrong.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city was caught off guard by the ferocity of the storm after early forecasts predicted a light dusting.

At Central Park, there were 6.4 inches of snow as of 5 a.m. Friday — the biggest one-day November snowfall in at least 136 years.

“We’re going to do a full review,” de Blasio said in an interview on NY1 on Friday morning. “I’m not happy with the end result. It’s unacceptable.”

Still, de Blasio said a confluence of events — a “perfect storm” as he called it — had conspired to throw off the city’s snow-fighting efforts. The city’s Sanitation Department had performed miracles plowing roads in the past, but they did not have good access to the roads because they were clogged with vehicles.

“They can’t levitate above the traffic,” the mayor said.

If the city had known how bad the storm would be, officials could have encouraged commuters to stay home Thursday, de Blasio said.

The weather improved by Friday morning, but the region was still recovering from the horrific mess that unfolded Thursday evening. There were problems on the subway and commuter railroads, but some of the worst incidents happened on the roads, where cars and buses were stuck in snarled traffic.

“Our buses were held hostage to massive gridlock citywide,” said Jon Weinstein, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which runs the city’s subways and buses. “Our bus operators and front-line employees fought through epic traffic and kept the subways moving — and we’re grateful for their dedication during a tremendously difficult commute.”

In the suburbs, the story was at least as bad with major highways turning into parking lots and side streets made impassable by icy conditions and countless accidents. The perilous road conditions crippled commuter bus service causing the Port Authority Bus Terminal, the busiest bus station in the country, to do something it almost never does — close several floors.

There were countless stories about people who were stranded — from drivers to school children. Across the region, students were trapped on school buses snarled in traffic for hours with no bathroom or food, according to parents and elected officials.

A bus carrying preschool students left a Harlem school for children with special needs around 2 p.m. Thursday and still had five students on board around midnight as it crawled through the Bronx, according to City Councilman Ben Kallos, who helped a mother track down the bus by calling the bus driver’s cellphone. Police officers were dispatched to escort the bus as it finished dropping off children in the early morning hours.

Jennifer Reynoso’s 3-year-old son was on the bus for 10 hours. She was so worried that she got in her car around 6 p.m. to search for the bus. Finally, she caught up to the bus at midnight.

“It was horrible because I don’t know whether he was OK,” she said. “I didn’t know what was going on.”

Reynoso said her son was exhausted and sleeping on the bus. He had not eaten since noon and had been in the same diaper all day. He was so upset that he did not speak to her until they got home.

“We shouldn’t need the police to rescue our children from a school bus,” said Kallos, who himself has a young daughter. “Parents shouldn’t have to wonder where their children are. I could never imagine being in that situation.”

In West Orange, New Jersey, about 80 students who were stranded for hours on school buses sought refuge in the Chit Chat Diner until about midnight, said Leo Novakidis, the manager who was on duty Thursday night.

The West Orange police called about 7:30 p.m. and asked if Novakidis could take in some hungry children. About 30 minutes later, he said, a procession of 11 buses started arriving, carrying children from 5 years old to teenagers.

The children lined up for the bathrooms, then devoured chicken fingers and french fries, Novakidis said.

“That stuff is fast to make and they were starving,” he said.

Some fell asleep in booths before school officials took them back to a school around midnight to spend the night, Novakidis said.

The West Orange school district website said students stayed overnight in several schools, including at a preschool. The district, which closed its schools on Friday, said buses had taken the stranded students home Friday morning.


Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


9-year-old genius to graduate university




Laurent Simons

(CNN) – A child prodigy from Belgium is on course to gain a bachelor’s degree at the tender age of 9.

Laurent Simons is studying electrical engineering at the Eindhoven University of Technology (TUE) — a tough course even for students of an average graduate age.

Described by staff as “simply extraordinary,” Laurent is on course to finish his degree in December.

He then plans to embark on a PhD program in electrical engineering while also studying for a medicine degree, his father told CNN.

His parents, Lydia and Alexander Simons, said they thought Laurent’s grandparents were exaggerating when they said he had a gift, but his teachers soon concurred.

“They noticed something very special about Laurent,” said Lydia.

Laurent was given test after test as teachers tried to work out the extent of his talents. “They told us he is like a sponge,” said Alexander.

While Laurent comes from a family of doctors, his parents have so far not received any explanation as to why their child prodigy is capable of learning so quickly.

But Lydia has her own theory.

“I ate a lot of fish during the pregnancy,” she joked.

The TUE has allowed Laurent to complete his course faster than other students.

“That is not unusual,” said Sjoerd Hulshof, education director of the TUE bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, in a statement.

“Special students that have good reasons for doing so can arrange an adjusted schedule. In much the same way we help students who participate in top sport.”

Hulshof said Laurent is “simply extraordinary” and praised the youngster.

“Laurent is the fastest student we have ever had here,” he said. “Not only is he hyper intelligent but also a very sympathetic boy.”

Laurent told CNN his favorite subject is electrical engineering and he’s also “going to study a bit of medicine.”

His progress has not gone unnoticed and he is already being sought out by prestigious universities around the world, although Laurent’s family wouldn’t be drawn on naming which of them he is considering for his PhD.

“The absorption of information is no problem for Laurent,” said his father.

“I think the focus will be on research and applying the knowledge to discover new things.”

While Laurent is evidently able to learn faster than most, his parents are being careful to let him enjoy himself too.

“We don’t want him to get too serious. He does whatever he likes,” said Alexander. “We need to find a balance between being a child and his talents.”

Laurent said he enjoys playing with his dog Sammy and playing on his phone, like many young people.

However, unlike most 9-year-olds, he has already worked out what he wants to do with his life: develop artificial organs.

In the meantime, Laurent has to finish his bachelor’s degree and choose which academic institution will play host to the next stage in his remarkable journey.

Before that, he plans on taking a vacation to Japan for an undoubtedly well-deserved break.

Continue Reading


New award to honor arts and activism named after Lena Horne




Lena Horne

Continue Reading


Gang members slam BMW into rival and his 8-year-old son in Harlem




Gang members slam BMW into rival and his 8-year-old son in Harlem

Two gangbangers aimed their BMW like a missile at a father and his 8-year-old son on a Harlem sidewalk in a horrifying incident captured by video distributed by police Thursday.

The BMW — driven by a man police believe is a member of the Gorilla Stone Bloods Gang — was zeroed in on the father, a rival gang member, said cops.

Around 3:45 p.m. Nov. 6, the boy and his father were walking on W. 112th St. by Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd. when the BMW jumped the sidewalk and slammed into them both, said cops.

Father and son were both knocked through a gate.

The BMW driver then backed up — and its driver and passenger, also believed to be a gang member, jumped out of the car and ran toward the father and the son.

One of the attackers slashed the father, identified by sources as 32-year-old Brian McIntosh, who’s served prison time for robbery and bail jumping.

McIntosh and his son went to Harlem Hospital. Miraculously, the boy escaped serious harm.

McIntosh was so adamant about refusing to help police catch his attackers that the young boy’s mother had to file a police report alleging he was the victim of a crime, police sources said.

Cops released video of the attack, and ask anyone with information about the suspects to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS.


Continue Reading