By Andrea Grymes

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — New York City is getting ready for a major winter storm.

New York City public schools will be all remote Thursday, with school buildings closed.

READ MORE: Rangers Stay Red Hot, Get 4 Points From Panarin In Rout Of Blackhawks

As for outdoor dining, restaurants are not required to take down their structures, but tables, chairs, heaters must be removed.

As CBS2’s Andrea Grymes reports, it was a race against the clock as the storm approached.

A bartender was taking in the outdoor furniture at Deaon Brodie’s Tavern on Restaurant Row in Hell’s Kitchen.

“It is what it is,” he said. “The weather is coming. We have to do what we can.”

LINK: Winter Storm Survival Guide

From Restaurant Row in Hell’s Kitchen, where workers took down outdoor dining setups, to the Upper East Side, where crews raced to finish one at JG Melon.

“We want to try and beat the snow and have it ready for them so they can open up for business as soon as they clear the snow.” said Jack Legg, co-founder of NYC Outdoor Dining.

A small lunch crowd ate on the other side of the restaurant before street dining officially had to close in the city at 2 p.m.

JG Melon manager James Whelan says their structures are sturdy, but they are concerned about how plowing may affect them.

LINKCheck The Latest Forecast

“It’s a question as to what’s going to happen,” he said. “Waiting in anticipation, but we’re optimistic things will be fine.”

READ MORE: NYC Hospitality Alliance: Mayor De Blasio 'Grinch' For Vaccine Mandate That May Keep Tourists With Young Children Away

The city Department of Sanitation says it has the equipment and trained workers necessary to get the job done during this first storm navigating around outdoor dining. The acting commissioner promises they’ll get to each street, but is asking New Yorkers for patience.

“The plowing of the New York City roadways in this event will be slow and methodical. With visibility low, our plow operators will be taking extra time looking out for pedestrians that are in the right of way as well as being mindful of roadway dining,” said Acting Sanitation Commissioner Ed Grayson.

If you have to travel tonight – the city is asking you to rely on mass transit, but keep in mind – subways will still be closed from 1-5 a.m. for COVID cleaning.

As for outdoor street dining – the mayor is hopeful it’ll be able to reopen sometime tomorrow – depending on the weather.

Indoor dining was suspended Monday for two weeks.

Mayor Bill de Blasio warned Tuesday it could be the largest storm the city has seen in years.

“We can certainly say this is going to be a serious storm, and people need to take it seriously,” he said. “You need to be ready for a disruptive storm, and start to make adjustments right now.”


Crews have been training on smaller equipment to get down narrow streets.

“For our tighter block responses, we do have holsners, which are just a small version of our salt spreader plows,” Grayson said. “What we did throughout the offseason was we looked at where the restaurants were… We went out and did site inspections to look for roadway widths. And we’ve adjusted our routes so we can have smaller pieces service the areas where it is tighter.”

LINK: Share Your Storm Photos And Videos On Our Facebook Page

MORE NEWS: Hate Crimes Spike Citywide, New NYPD Data Reveals


Andrea Grymes