NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – New Yorkers could face a hefty fine if they don’t start removing snow, ice and dirt from sidewalks.

The City code states that every person who is in charge of any building or lot of ground in the city that has a paved sidewalk must remove the snow, ice, dirt or any other material from the sidewalk within four hours after the snow ceases to fall.

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Businesses are also vulnerable and could face fines ranging from $100 to $350, reports CBS 2’s Magee Hickey.

The Buildings Department also advises that property owners safely remove ice and snow from rooftops as well.

Water from the melting snow can collect on roofs and present a threat to the structural integrity of the building, and the colder temperatures may lead to the water to form icicles that could pose a threat to public safety if not removed.

New Yorkers are encouraged to call 311 to report non-compliant conditions, according to the Buildings Department.

Property owners must keep their sidewalks clean and are also responsible for snow removal, according to the City.

In the event that the snow and ice are frozen so hard that the person cannot remove it, he or she must spread ashes or sawdust on the area, according to the code.

The City offers the following tips when preparing to remove snow on your property:

Tips for Staying Warm

Exposure to cold can cause life-threatening health conditions. Avoid serious conditions such as frostbite and hypothermia, by keeping warm.

  • Wear a hat, hood, or scarf, as most heat is lost through the head.
  • Wear layers, as they provide better insulation and warmth.
  • Keep fingertips, earlobes, and noses covered if you go outside.
  • Keep clothing dry; if a layer becomes wet, remove it.

Snow Removal Safety Tips

  • Stretch before you go out. If you go out to shovel snow, do a few stretching exercises to warm up your body. This may prevent injury.
  • Cover your mouth. Protect your lungs from extremely cold air by covering your mouth when outdoors.
  • Avoid overexertion. Cold weather puts an added strain on the heart. Unfamiliar exercise, such as shoveling snow or pushing a car, can bring on a heart attack or make other medical conditions worse. Take frequent rest breaks, and drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.
  • Keep dry. Change wet clothes frequently to prevent a loss of body heat. Wet clothing loses all of its insulating value and transmits heat rapidly.
  • Stay safe. Walk carefully on snowy or icy sidewalks. If using a snowblower, NEVER use your hands to unclog the machine.
  • Maintain an awareness of utilities when shoveling snow. Do not cover fire hydrants with snow when clearing sidewalks and driveways. Do not shovel snow into manholes and catch basins.
  • Offer to help individuals who require special assistance, including seniors and people with disabilities.

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Comments (46)
  1. Tansaria Couch says:

    Housing is not doing their job. 3 days after the Blizzard there is no snow shoveled in the projects! This is an outrage. People cannot get to and from their buildings. The elderly people cannot get out. There is just to much snow. Some parts are very slippery. If i fall i am Suing! The state better do something quick. No one likes to be trapped in the house!

    1. Thomas says:

      try picking up a shovel… help yourself – everything is not FREE you freeloader

  2. Sam Goodman says:

    You know why?
    Because the Brooklyn Borough President is NOT friendly with the Sanitation Commisioner.
    Please check out their profiles. They fight all the time under the “table”

  3. Angel says:

    Its around 3ish a.m and still the local streets have not been plowed. Some plow trucks were on the main road but that’s about it and even with those main roads there are still cars abandoned on the main roads because its impossible for them to make a turn into the side streets. Atlantic Avenue, from Ozone park to Prospect Heights the entire local streets are covered with snow. How about people who need to cross the street and they dont have strong legs to get through the snow on the floor. How do you expect people to go to the food market who really can’t afford to take a risk and trek across the street in the deep snow. Don’t get it, where are alll the plow trucks? Where???

  4. Hugh Akston says:

    Hello! People! THIS IS WHAT YOU GET! This is what you deserve for abdicating any sense of personal responsibility and just saying “government will do it.” Garbage collection? Government. Schools? Government. Airport security? Government. Mail? Government. Health Care? Government. Clearing out the snow? Government.

    How about we assume a little independence here? If you want your street plowed, call your neighbors, pool a few bucks and hire a guy with a plow! Stop acting like a bunch of incapacitated robots waiting for a reboot and do something for yourself! And next time you’re wondering if we should hike taxes to put government in charge of more of your responsibilities, think if you want the guys who forgot to plow the snow taking charge of your emergency medical care.

    1. Anonymous says:

      They already do. And if people want less government, then government should give us a discount on the taxes we pay for the services the government provides.

  5. Steven says:

    I live around East 3rd and Avenue X, Gravesend Brooklyn. It’s 2AM now, and I haven’t seen nor heard… not even 1 snow plowing truck around here. Couple of lanes on Ocean Parkway seem to be clear, but residential streets are filled with snow. Cars and buses are in the middle of the road. Sure, you can dig out your car but you won’t get very far with it because the road isn’t clear. So what’s the point of digging out the car? What’s the point of paying taxes to the city (property, commuter, etc.) if we get nothing in return? How much is enough for all of you to take and accept as normal before you get angry enough to do something about it?!! I didn’t vote for Bloomberg, and everything he does seems wrong. The worst mayor in history of New York City that I can think of. Self-employed individuals pay the NYC commuter tax… so how can one earn if he/she cannot commute? Cannot earn, yet taxed anyway. Does that seem right to you? Because it doesn’t to me. Smart people are stacking up on food supplies. If the city failed you, don’t pay them any tax money. I still don’t understand what Bloomberg is waiting for. It’s not snowing anymore, so maybe he’s waiting for the winds to stop. If comments to this article clearly serve as enough evidence to presume that city is not fulfilling the duties we pay for with tax money, that there is clearly no effort to help stranded people that can’t get to work, or anywhere for that matter… then keep complaining. When I lived in Florida and hurricane Ivan came around, local law enforcement were guarding the banks. So go ahead, Brooklyn… go for the banks, and take what’s yours (FDIC insured anyway). See how fast the streets get cleared for the first 911 looting calls. =)

    It was my birthday on the 27th and that’s what I get from the city I live in. =(

    1. JP says:

      Are you reporters? Because a quick visit to the site reports that the city is not taking complaints of unshoveled sidewalks at this time. Nor are they taking reports of abondoned cars in the middle of the road that are preventing plows from getting through. That would be the better story to write.

  6. AG says:


  7. Tommy says:

    I can Help!
    Car Digouts, Driveways & Sidewalks Cleared!

  8. pal says:

    from bayside queens….you suck bloomy. you failed on this storm. very few blocks plowed and no salt thrown from trucks. if i didnt have 4 wheel drive i’d be stuck like everyone else

  9. Stav says:

    Please be careful when shoveling since it can cause injury, check out the Visiting Nurse Service of New York’s article:

  10. BossCal says:

    City going to make millions on fines tomorrow.
    Good luck plowing, sanitation will be out in full force handling out fines.

  11. Angry NewYorker says:

    where the hell are the plows is 7pm in bklyn and still no plows and bloomberg still hasnt declared a state of emergency.our cars are blocked in and there is very little means of transportation.City workers are being threatend discipinary actions if they dont show. we’ll we’d like to go to work we’d just liike to get there safely, mayor Bloomberg do your job so we can get to ours!

  12. Carol says:

    Still no plows through in Whitestone, Queens. They have had all day and still haven’t come. Yet the city expects home owners to shovel out in 4 hours, If there was a need for a fire truck or ambulance on our block they would not be able to get through. No buses running either. Bloomberg failed on this storm.

    1. Gary says:

      No plows in Staten Island either, althought there has been 2 plows stuck on my block since 4 A.M. this morning. I had to clear my walk after 4 hours, why shouldn’t the City be held to the same standards? Refund our taxes!!!

      1. Garth says:

        It’s 7:30 P.M….do you know where your plow is?

  13. L. S. says:

    What I love is that not only was a state of emergency not declared, but from what I heard, a request for such was made and denied in the city. Better yet, I was snowed into my house — literally could not open my front door. How am I supposed to clear the walk when I’m trapped? Fortunately, some young neighbors were able to help. On the other hand, it’s after 6 PM and my side street in Old Mill Basin hasn’t yet seen a plow. What I would like to know is how the city can levy a fine against me if they can’t access my street. Also, I am employed by New York State in a “nonessential agency”. I’d like to know why I will be forced to charge my time for taking the day(s) during which I cannot get past my sidewalk, much less to any public transportation that might actually run (although the condition of the streets being what they are, I suspect “limp” is a more appropriate term).

  14. Flynn says:

    And yet some of you voted him back in.

    If someone tells you a car is a lemon and you buy it anyway, you don’t get to complain.

    If someone tells you the river is dangerous and you shouldn’t cross it, but you do…you don’t get to cry for help.

    If you let a billionaire usurp the will of the people (who said no to third terms) and then vote for him in the election — you don’t get to gripe about it.

  15. Abe Benesch says:

    I miss Ed Koch 🙁

  16. Sam Brook says:

    At 4:30pm today, I saw two Sanitation drivers were sitting inside the truck drinking their hot coffee donuts for more than two hours and laughing at people who past by. I heard they were talking about they had no orders from their supervisors.

    1. Adina says:

      where were they? thats unconscionable and extraordinarily unacceptable!

  17. Miriam Steinberg says:

    I live in Mill Basin, Brooklyn. Last I checked, my property taxes were an insane $6500. Where the heck are the snow plows? NOT HERE! I could not get in to my hospital job today- no bus, no train (B,Q) no plow= no use of my car. My friends all over Brooklyn are saying the same thing- no plows on Ave R, Ocean Avenue, Nostrand Avenue, Ave M or even on Kings Highway! MARTY MARKOWITZ FOR MAYOR! At least he cares about Brooklyn! And- 311 has been busy all day. No help there at all. How am I supposed to get to work tomorrow???

    1. nurserenee says:

      I live in Canarsie Brooklyn with insane property taxes of 6,000.00 as well and there has been no snow plow across Faltlands 9 Street. Its now 6:20pm! i understand it was a blizzard but we knew it was coming where was the preparation? FLATLANDS 9 STREET IN SEAVIEW ESTATES NEEDS TO BE PLOWED OUT!!!! THERE ARE DRIFTS ON THE STREET AND CARS CANNOT PASS. i also need to go to work tomorrow at a hospital.

    2. AR says:

      I hate to say it, but this is what you get for depending on big government to do the dirty work for you. Hopefully you’ve learned your lesson, and will not act, like so many others do, as though you’re entitled to someone’s services. Tell me, with those $6,500, would you have been able to hire someone to plow your driveway and block? How about for about $500? So what is the city doing with the other $6,000?

      It’s time to end this misconception that somehow we’ll all be better off if we let the government take care of everything for us.

  18. The FaCtS R says:


  19. Craig says:

    Mostly older people and some couples with infants on 65th Dr in Middle Village and not even a hint of a plow. Another stellar performance by Billionaire Bloomberg. Guess he was too busy debating collecting parking meter money. Talk abouit greed. He wants to be known as the best Mayor of NYC yet he strives to be known as the WORST!!!!!!!

  20. Alan says:

    I live in brooklyn, Midwood section. As of 4:00 PM and no plow yet.

    1. Kim says:

      I live in Ditmas Park and there hasn’t been a plow anywhere in the Cortelyou Rd area. There’s 2-4 ft drifts in the middle of the side streets, no one an get out.

      1. Bill says:

        ditto for Bay Ridge 4:15pm

  21. jla says:

    I’m on 67th Street between 20th & 21st Avenue in Bensonhurst Brooklyn — I’ve yet to see a plow come down my street or any of the surrounding streets- its like Armageddon out there but yet home owners are going to get fines for not cleaning their sidewalks ???? That makes no sense – once again bravo Mr. Mayor

  22. Joe says:

    For the taxes we pay they should have a crew shovel for us and then give us a foot rub afterwards!

  23. Joe Grassi says:

    Over 8 hours since the last flake in Bayside and not a hint of a plow….Mr Bloomberg I expect you to pay your fine ASAP

  24. Nancy Pepe says:

    Live on 92nd Ave. between Woodhaven Blvd and 95th St. Have not seen one plow. Whats going on.

  25. Sal says:

    Send some plows to Brooklyn. I’s 3:00 PM and I have not seen a plow yet. Not even on the main roads. Last time I looked I was paying taxes to NYC. Mayor please send some plows from Manhattan to the outer boroughs.

  26. Bob45911 says:

    Bloomberg Is an Idiot.

    1. MoMo says:

      Ditto. Can’t add anything to that.

  27. Abe Benesch says:

    Oh Michael. The people of NYC hate you. Why do you stay? Everything you do is wrong. The streets should be in much better shape than they are right now. What happened? I don’t care if you & Ray ‘Himmler” Kelly have to get out there wish snow shovels in hand – JUST DO YOU JOBS AND GET THIS CLEANED UP.

    But instead you threaten the people of NYC with more tickets.

    Cut it out Michael. The people of NYC have had enough.

  28. Tony says:

    I have seen a total of “ONE” sanitation trucks within the last13 hours. Cars are stuck all over the streets. Where are the overtime sanitation trucks in Brooklyn?

  29. Warren says:

    Makes sense seeing all the houses that are now rental units, Lots of house owners don’t live in those rental units, o even near them, so those sidewalks will not be cleared any time soon.

  30. Irate Citizen says:

    Meanwhile where is the sanitation department -no streets have been cleared
    at all-no trains no buses

    but we can all pay high taxes

    Mr Bloomberg the city has 5 boroughs and we have to work

    1. Big Larry the garbage man says:

      Really?? Are you that important?

  31. The Truth says:

    City trying to scam for money as usually. Why did they waste time putting another FDNY welfare case on the truck. To fatten their glorified welfare check of course. The excuse the Comm gave was that the snow was high like he is. Good way to waste money.

    1. BrooklynGuy says:

      Guess you didn’t pass the test.

  32. Gloria Guerriera says:

    The city will fine you if you don’t clean your side walk. Who do we fine if the city does not clear the street so that fire engines or ambulances can’t get down your block in case of fire or emergency?

  33. Charlene Stubbs says:

    That is ridiculous when my street has not been plowed yet. Do you have any idea when the streets of Queens will be plowed? 311 just keeps ringing. I thought my street was a secondary street because I have PS 153 on the next block. my sister’s co worker’s son is supposed to graduate from the police academy at 11am & the roads have not been plowed in middle village. Thank you.

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