Tuesday, December 28, 2010

New York City Blizzard, New Jersey Common Sense, and Central Minnesota Routines

"Nearly 10,000 flights canceled since holiday blizzard began"
CNN (December 28, 2010)

"Close to 10,000 total flights have been canceled since the beginning of a holiday blizzard that blanketed much of the U.S. northeast with snow and left thousands stranded.

"Airline representatives from AirTran, American, Continental, Delta Air Lines, JetBlue, United, U.S. Airways, Spirit and Southwest reported a total of at least 9,726 trips were called off due to weather since Saturday.

"Of those, at least 1,335 flights were canceled on Tuesday as major airports across the region slowly got back to normal...."

"...By early Tuesday evening, LaGuardia was still operating well below its normal 70 flights per hour, he said.

"John F. Kennedy Airport, in the New York City borough of Queens, and Newark Liberty International, in northern New Jersey, opened to incoming and departing traffic at 6 p.m. Monday, Port Authority spokeswoman Sara Joren said...."

The Lemming acknowledges that heavy snow in America's largest east coast city is news: and isn't a strictly 'local' matter, since so many folks travel to, from, and through there.

The Lemming is also profoundly glad to live in central Minnesota, where this sort of thing isn't all that unusual: and where folks are prepared, for the most part.

Another look at New York City, the weather, and what to do when it snows:

"One Blizzard, Two Markedly Different Approaches in NJ and NYC"
Bob Hennelly, WNYC News (December 28, 2010)

"On Tuesday, Mayor Bloomberg was careful not to overpromise. With dozens of ambulances and hundreds of buses still stranded, he was trying to manage expectations. Outer borough council members said constituents had not yet seen a snow plow.

" 'I don't know that you ever get everything plowed because there always are streets, there are streets not even on the map... but I think you can expect another 24 hours before we'll get to everyone, and even then I'm not so sure,' he said.

"That was quite a contrast to the mayor's stoic detachment a day earlier, when he didn't seem to fully grasp just how dysfunctional things had become for most New Yorkers...."

"...Mayor Bloomberg kept the city open for business on Monday and held the NYPD's graduation ceremony for more than 1,100 police cadets and their families at Madison Square Garden.

"Meanwhile, west of the Hudson in New Jersey, Acting New Jersey Governor Steve Sweeney had declared a statewide snow emergency the night before (New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was out of state.) That declaration marshalled all of the state's resources including the National Guard. He bought himself time by granting the state workforce a two-hour delayed opening.

" 'The State of Emergency gives us the ability to get a lot of vehicles off the road where we can get our roads cleaned up as fast as possible and this evening there are going to be some really high winds so we are going to have blizzard conditions this evening so it is best for people to get off the road,' Sweeney told WNYC Sunday night.

"The next moning, Sweeney closed state government except for the state's essential emergency personnel...."

There's quite a bit more detail, that's probably of considerable interest to folks living in and around New York City.

The op ed has a distinct point of view - and the Lemming doesn't know enough about the personalities and situations to have an informed opinion.

On the other hand, it seems daft deal with a blizzard by declaring that everything's fine.
Warning! Old Coot Reminiscing
Which reminds the Lemming of a store manager in Fargo, North Dakota, several decades back, who didn't kill his employees by forcing them out of the store at closing time.

He locked them out - in a blizzard - at night. Maybe he didn't realized that the shopping center was on the outskirts, and that employees were required to park their cars on the opposite side of a parking lot that was filling in with snowdrifts.

They survived, but weren't all that cheerful about the incident. Managers take note: If you kill your employees, you'll have all the fuss and bother of hiring new ones.
Back to New York City and the Real World
The lemming doesn't envy folks who run a city - or town. Or keep emergency services running.

Back to that op ed from WNYC:

"...On Monday, the city's 311 phone line had 250,000 calls. One major problem was that out of the close to 50,000 911 calls the NYPD received, only 10,000, or one in five, were actual emergencies.

"Floating in the background is the question of whether cutting of 400 Sanitation Department slots was part of what slowed the response...."

On the whole, the Lemming would rather live in central Minnesota, than either New York City or New Jersey.

But, judging from what's been in the news about the east coast blizzard, if it was New Jersey, New York City, or nothing: The Lemming would pick New Jersey. It sounds like folks running the place are a tad more firmly attached to the space-time continuum there.

Meanwhile, in Sauk Centre, Minnesota

This isn't likely to get into national news: Sauk Centre's street department was out shortly after snow stopped falling, plowed the streets clear, spread sand upstream of intersections, and went on with their other tasks. Most folks got their own walks and driveways cleared - or had someone do it for them. It's a legal requirement, and simple common sense, too.

But that's not news: It's the routine we go through, to keep our town in working order.

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