The New York City/Hudson County region received about 20 inches of the white stuff, and for this densely-populated area with its skinny streets full of parked cars, the aftermath was a mess. The day after, some residents hacked away with metal shovels, some with bare hands, but all with the same aim - to dig their vehicles out of the mountains of snow that had been thrown up by passing plows.
And since local schools were closed on Tuesday after the President's Day holiday, local children were treated to an extended four-day weekend with which many appeared to be making full use of.
In Miller Park, a winded and snow-laden West New York boy named Brian said, "It's cool. It's great." The clipped quality of Brian's speech may have had something to do with his friend Abel unleashing a barrage of snowballs at his head. Abel was, however, able to add, between snowballs, "It's great. It gives us a day off from school." And isn't that what it's all about?
Tom Munoz of Union City had a practical outlook as he struggled to uncover his Honda Civic. "This is unbelievable," he said. "This is just a lot of snow. But it's wintertime after all. We just have to dig out and get back to life."
While many folks struggled to free trapped cars, others concentrated on clearing sidewalks. Jeffrey Kim of Leonia, whose father owns the Nu Look clothing store in Union City, was pressed into service to shovel the sidewalks around the business and was fairly blunt when asked his opinion of the snowfall. Said Kim, "It sucks and it's really tiring, but you have to do it." He had a lot of sidewalk to go.
Robert Reina, who was shoveling the sidewalk in front of his house on 34th Street between Palisade and New York avenues, said, "This isn't that bad. I've seen worse. But the city was a little slow in reacting to the storm." A look at the street confirmed that for this section of 34th Street at least, a plowing was but a dream. Drifts piled up on each side of the tiny street six feet in height.
Not too far away, Jose Gimenez of Newark was helping Kathy McHale of Union City dig her car out with, of all things, a broom. When asked why he was using this implement, McHale said, "Well, we didn't have a shovel and I doubt we'd be able to get one now." McHale went on to remark, "This is horrible. I've got to go to work and I work far away at the Hackensack Medical Center."
Just down the street, a visibly cheerful Harry Wolpert took a much different tack. Said Wolpert, "It's work, but what do you say in a case like this? You have no control over it, which is just as well, or the politicians would try to control that too."
Moving north a bit into West New York found local residents tackling the snow in much the same manner.
Onalda Fernandez was cleaning snow off of her Toyota near the municipal lot behind Bergenline Avenue with a metal dirt shovel. Fernandez' attitude towards the snow was resignation, but not weary resignation - to her, a higher power was at work. "It's good," she said. "God does it so it is good."
Everyone knows the mail carrier's motto of Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds, but mail carrier Rob Newton lives this motto every day. As a postal "floater" who takes care of different routes every day, Newton never knows exactly where this may take him, a role he usually relishes. But throw a storm of last week's magnitude into the mix, and things can get tough. Said Newton, "It was actually worse earlier, but it's alright now. Actually, it has been pretty tough around here [West New York] because there's nowhere for people to park." Newton admitted that driving a postal truck does have its advantages. "You can pretty much park where you want and nobody bothers you, the cops leave you alone," he said.
Proving that not only children can have fun in the snow, Blanca, a Lhasa Apso dog, was reveling in the snow in West New York. Owner Victor Rodriquez said, "She loves jumping in the snow." Rodriquez went on to say, "I like it while it's coming down and just after. It's nice to look at. But after it passes, it leaves a lot of problems."