“It’s been an incredible effort and I’m very impressed by what I’m seeing so far,” de Blasio told CBS 2’s Weijia Jiang. “I think agencies are all responding really well to the situation.”
De Blasio’s son, Dante, later took a turn at shoveling.
Newly appointed Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina closed all New York City public schools Friday. She made the decision shortly before 5 a.m. After-school programs and PSAL games were also cancelled.
Deputy Schools Chancellor Kathleen Grimm told 1010 WINS that the cold temperature played a factor in deciding to close the schools.
“Usually when it snows, it’s not so cold. So we were very concerned that not only for children at yellow bus stops, but even children who take the regular buses or even walk to school,” Grimm said.
Considering this is the first major snowstorm to cause New York City schools to close this year, Grimm told 1010 WINS that they still have plenty of reserve days and officials have not considered whether or not the day will be made up in the future.
The New York City Office of Emergency Management issued a hazardous travel advisory for Friday, warning that roads would be icy and snow would continue to drift.
“Residents should drive slowly, monitor weather and traffic, use major streets or highways, and keep the name and number of at least one local towing service,” OEM said in a statement.
Alternate side parking regulations will be suspended citywide Saturday to facilitate snow removal.
Outreach teams continued to search city streets for homeless people at risk of freezing to death. The Department of Homeless Services guarantees shelter when temperatures reach 32 degrees or below.
The MTA said Metro-North and Long Island Rail Road were operating on a Saturday schedule on Friday. Both railroads will operate on their regular schedules for Saturday.
Metro-North said the only exception on Saturday is that they will not operate trains marked in its Saturday timetables as “Shoppers’ Specials.”
The agency had “people ready if needed to dig out switches,” said spokeswoman Marjorie Anders. Also, “We have turned on switch heaters, which are like electric blankets for the track.”
Chains were put on city buses so they would not get stuck in drifts.
Buses were experiencing delays earlier Friday due to the snow accumulations and running at about 85 percent capacity, MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz told WCBS 880. Salt does not work effectively to help melt snow and ice in extreme cold weather.
New York City’s subways seemed to fair better in the storm. “We’re currently seeing good service with some scattered delays,” Ortiz said of subway service.
De Blasio said 2,500 plows were on the streets Friday morning.
“If you don’t need to travel, please don’t travel,” he said. “If you don’t need to use a car, don’t use a car. If you can use mass transit instead, use mass transit.”
The mayor said 100 percent of primary streets and most secondary streets were plowed at least once, but crews will be working 12-hour shifts around the clock until all city streets are fully cleared.
Residents can find out the last time a plow went through their block by heading to the Plow NYC feature on NYC.gov.
City Department of Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty reiterated the mayor’s pleas for residents to stay inside whenever possible, but conceded that not everyone can stay home and urged those who did need to be out to remain cautious and take it slow, 1010 WINS reported.