Slushy And Smelly, Questions Remain Over Blizzard Clean-Up
NEW YORK (CBS 2/WCBS 880) – It’s been five days since the blizzard dumped nearly 20 inches of snow in and around New York City and the effects are still being seen across the five boroughs.
In addition to the effects being seen, New Yorkers can also smell the effects. That’s because the Sanitation Department suspended garbage pick-up until next week.
Now, an investigation is under way as to why it took so long to clean up the mess. New Yorkers and city officials are also looking at accusations that the Sanitation Department deliberately orchestrated a slowdown of the cleaning to protest the budget cuts imposed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Times Square has been swept clean of snow in time for the New Year’s Eve bash, but you can’t say the same for the rest of New York City, reports CBS 2’s Tony Aiello.
“I’ve never seen a storm response so ignored,” one resident said.
Four days after the storm ended, the city is still digging out from under the snow, with New York’s bravest manning shovels instead of hoses.
“Some of the hydrants are buried so deeply, we can’t even find them,” FDNY Lieutenant Joe Heegan said.
Residents are relieved that the city finally seems to have gotten a plow down every street. Residents told CBS 2 that as late as Thursday, some streets in the outer boroughs still hadn’t seen a snow plow.
One block in Bensonhurst is open only because resident Michael Rotondi used his own plow to clear the snow.
“That’s what everybody should be doing, helping each other,” Rotondi said.
On 231st Street in Laurelton, Queens, residents complained to their councilmember that the block hadn’t been cleared. After contacting the Department of Sanitation, the street was cleared, and was pretty much down to the pavement on Friday.
Many believe the snow piled up because the sanitation union slowed down.
“There’s still some union stuff going on – you figure it out,” one resident said.
Union leader Joe Mannion, though, is adamant that there was no slowdown.
“We would never do that. It’s totally illegal, totally against our grain,” Mannion, of the Sanitation Officers Association, said. “We have professionals within this department.”
“I don’t know whether it took place, but if it did, it’s a disgrace,” Mayor Bloomberg said.
Bloomberg said the alleged slowdown, and other possible causes of the storm snafu, will be investigated.
The first priority for the city, though, is to finish clearing snow and to start picking up garbage. It will still be several days before the city is back to normal.
The city is asking that residents not pile trash or recyclables at the curb. Limited pick-up is set to resume on Monday.