Sunday, January 02, 2011

Looking Back at First Major Snow, Complaining all the Way

It's been six days since that major snowstorm that hit us like a sudden slap on the face from a spurned lover.  With rain now decimating much of the snow, it pays to look back to see how well we handled the first white dumping of the season.

Based on newspaper and radio reports, as well as direct observation, it's been six days of complaining, whining, wheezing and an overblown media frenzy.

And I've come to the conclusion that Big Apple residents are the most unrealistic, least independent, most infantile, and worst of all, most self-entitled population in the Universe. Add to that, lazy and selfish.

Let's start with the media who displayed the worst behavior of all when they made a big deal out of the fact that the city's department of sanitation couldn't clear all of the streets in New York City magically overnight, and instantly the next morning.

The snowbanks are higher than the dog---at least twice as high. 

Here is one of the headlines from the New York Times, " Plowed, Yes. Salted. Sure. Cleared? That's Murkey.", and "As Storm's Impact Chastens Bloomberg, the City Struggles to Recover."

Why all of a sudden is it Mayor Michael Bloomberg's fault if too much snow is dumped on New York? And do people really expect everything to be "normal" a day after a massive snow fall --in some places snow drifts up to 40 inches--when they can't even be bothered to  clean their own sidewalks?  The media might have been better off focusing on all the winter sports being played.

Or maybe they should have focused on those home owners who clear their driveways, but don't have enough time to clear the sidewalk for pedestrians.

A snow plow driver is doing his job, but the residents aren't

Those same people won't clear the portion that leads to the street crossing so after walking past their building, you are forced into a massive snowbank that not even a Yeti from the steppes of Eurasia could get over.

Or how about the streets where half the owners have cleared their walks and the other half haven't, so you are forced into the now cleared roadway that has room only for one car? One slip and you're dead.

Then there was the thousands of irresponsible, selfish motorists who took to the streets in what appeared to be one of the worst snow falls in history, promptly got stuck and left their cars stranded, so even if they wanted to, department of sanitation snowplows could not get through.

Pic: A person walks down a major roadway because none of the sidewalks have been cleared in North Bergen, NJ where up to 40 inches of snow fell

I bet those car owners were the first ones to call 311 and complain that the street that they were blocking hadn't been plowed.

Best of all, there's the City Council calling once again for hearings on "what happened" during this snow storm. We don't need an investigation wasting taxpayer money to see that a lot of snow requires that the inhabitants of New York stop expecting that everything will come back to "normal" in five hours.

An intersection where none of the residents cleared their walks, and walking on the streets became a necessity

Considering that the snow came during the holidays, perhaps it was divine intervention to get people to stop their capitalist mantra for three full days (three full days,) and relax by becoming children again with their children.

And if you think it was bad in New York, let's take a quick look at New Jersey. Perhaps North Bergen suffered from more snowfall than New York. Though snowplows were quick to make their rounds in the early morning hours, residents were even quicker to drive out in their Ferragamos and Lexus's only to get stuck on the very first corner they drove through.

Pic: Snow country Japan, where snow accumulation can reach 18 feet

Personally I have never seen a more unprepared, clueless bunch of people in my life: not one had a pair of snow boots on, and their cars weren't even equipped with snow tires or all wheel drive. They stepped in frustrating agony on their gas pedals as their wheels spun them deeper into snowbanks.

Worst of all, Bergen County residents chose to clear their driveways, but left their walkways completely uncleared, as if for some magical reason, all pedestrians had ceased to exist.

Walking from A to Z became an exercise in crossing the street in front of careening vehicles just to get to a spot that was clear--for five feet, only to cross again two minutes later, then give up and walk down the middle of the street.
And there is no "311" to get busy in New Jersey. Complaints to town halls are unheeded, and walks never get cleared.

Pic: A typical village in the snow country of Japan where they can be snowed in for months

There is nothing that would cure this self-entitled, selfish phenomenon better than a winter-long stay in a nice cold place like Siberia, where winter temperatures can reach -50 degrees--Centigrade.
Or perhaps a visit to the mountainous region of Switzerland, where snowbanks can be as high as the roof of a building, and you don't see the ground from about November to March, where buildings grow about 10 to 15 feet once the snow melts.

Or parts of Japan, where snow is dumped upon snow, upon snow, and residents spend time cleaning their roofs, not their driveways, so they can walk down the "street"of packed snow. In the area called Snow Country, residents are required to clear their roofs of snow, called Yuki-hori. Residents of  Uonuma, Yuzawa, Tokamachi, Tsunan in Niigata, Sakae in Nagano and Minakami in Gunma are proud of their average snow accumulation of 18 feet, and advertise snowfall as a tourist attraction.

Sadly in New York, ambulances could not get down small side streets, thanks in part to the many reckless citizens who tried to drive in the storm and abandoned their vehicles.

Perhaps for the future, an investment in cross country skis or snow shoes for many of our population, including EMS crews, would be fitting. A better attitude would also help.


Galfromdownunder said...

Reminds me of when I was on a godforsaken sailboat in Cuba, no engine, stormy seas, my captain cursing God ... also, as a child, watching my father trying to do ridgecapping when it started to rain, and cursing God ...

Andy B from Jersey said...

Love your rant. Couldn't agree more. I even shoveled out my fire hydrant (as I always do). I love the snow an even look forward to shoveling it. Who needs a gym! Shoveling a great upper body workout! Still, I'll confess that the 2 feet we had in Central Jersey left me exhausted and wishing it was a little bit less.

Central Park Bike Tours said...

In New York yesterday was amazing with all that snow