Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Hoboken Snowpocalypse 2010! The photos, the commentary

Here are some photos and commentary on Hoboken's biggest snow storm since 1996. Editor's Note: Actually, the biggest snow storm in terms of snow fall was the storm of 2006. That storm was no where near as disruptive since the snow itself was extremely light and fluffy. The NY Times has  http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C03E2D7123EF937A25751C0A9609C8B63 as story on it  and described the storm as follows:

NY Times description of 2006 storm:

"Another big one was -- for lack of a better phrase -- the fluffy effect. Because the track of this storm was relatively far offshore, it did not pack the wallop of wet warm ocean air that northeasters can, so the snow was dry and fluffy. Very, very fluffy. Like a Persian cat in a roomful of hair dryers. Thus it blew right off tree branches rather than snapping them down onto power lines. It practically shoveled itself."

Back to Hoboken. I spent a good portion of the day snapping photos and helping vehicles getting unstuck during this mess. I actually enjoyed being outside and helping various motorists get moving again. At 7th and Washington Street, HHA Director Carmela Garcia Tom Foley and I along with 5-6 others helped yet another ambulance with out snow tires get unstuck. Also on that same corner was a larger snowplow that got stuck as well just 5 minutes earlier. I probably bailed out at least 20 or more vehicles myself along the corners of Washington Street sometimes by myself (that 6'8" frame comes in handy sometimes) but usually with the help of other thoughtful Hoboken citizens. This snow storm was a beast and perhaps it took longer the clear the snow than some expected but this is a once in a 15 year snow storm and I think the heaviness and wind made it very difficult to remove the snow right away. Take this for what it is, a first hand account from a part time blogger.

Several ambulances from Jersey City were sent to Hoboken and inadvertently clogged Hoboken's city streets. This one between 8th and 9th and Bloomfield seen here around 12/27 at 8:30 am was stuck there most of the day. I spoke with another Jersey City Ambulance driver and he said that their vehicles did not have snow tires, chain or even the emergency chains to deal with the snow. He was also stuck for at least 5 hours at the corner of 8th and Bloomfield. I for the life of me can't figure out how the management of the ambulances for Jersey City could send out their vehicles without the proper snow equipment.

Kudos to Dr. Kelly for clearing out a good portion of his block above and beyond just his area. Perhaps more business owners and residents should invest in snow blowers for such inclement days. And speaking of snow blowers did anyone get a flier from Beth Mason this year offering snow blowing service or was that just a one time political stunt? 

I know it must of been frustrating for many Hobokenites but contrary to the false rumors being spread by certain political operatives there were plows out in the morning of 12/27 trying to plow as much as they could that I observed. Later in the day additional plows from a contractor were brought in towards that late afternoon early evening. Some feel, including myself  that perhaps more trucks should have been out sooner but the fact remains that 24 hours since the cessation of snow at around 8am on 12/27 most if not all Hoboken roads including side streets have been plowed and the vehicles completely blocking sections of road have been towed away.

I saw this Ambulance from Jersey City going up and down Washington Street for most of the day. This is one of the few ambulances from Jersey City that I saw that did not get stuck.

Snowed in nativity scene by Hoboken City Hall. Even the birth of Jesus got snowed in.

Hoboken City Hall. Looking festive and formally opening two hours later than its normal schedule.

Some business owners were slow in removing snow from the sidewalks which forced many  pedestrians to take to the streets to walk earlier in the morning.  I look to the leadership of Hoboken's Chamber of Commerce and to the City of Hoboken as to how to get businesses to comply with their responsibility of clearing the sidewalks. It is certainly understandable that some small businesses could not get there to clear their section of the sidewalk given the severe nature of the storm. However,  having pedestrians in the streets because that is the easiest place to walk isn't exactly an ideal  public safety condition either.

Hoboken's own Mount Everest made out of snow drift.

A livery car was left behind Hoboken City Hall on the evening of 12/26 during the height of the snow storm blocking the entire block. Here it is finally getting towed at around noon on 12/27.

Front end loader clearing snow behind City Hall at around 12 noon.

Once some of the business owners started at least partially clearing the sidewalk pedestrians no longer took to Washington Street to walk.

Another snow plow truck on Washington Street during the afternoon of 12/27. According to Hoboken 411 this truck is inadequate. Seriously, Perry take your meds and get a brain. This truck on Washington Street is more than adequate. Whether or not there were enough trucks is another valid concern or whether they were deployed quickly enough is another.

A City of Hoboken vehicle also helping out plowing Washington Street. Where was the County in all of this? I know there were county trucks but perhaps they should have been here sooner as well or in greater numbers. A source of mine indicated that the County was indeed out at first snowfall. Not all of the snow removal responsibilities in Hoboken rest on the City. The County has its share of responsibility in this too. After all Hoboken saw the biggest county tax increase this year but where is the level of service to go along with this tax increase?

This is the little snow plow that could. All types of vehicles both big and small were out yesterday helping clearing the snow. Perhaps bigger vehicles are in order as this little guy was helping but given the amount of snow might not have been enough. Of course every little bit helps.

A lot of ambulances were trolling up and down Washington Street yesterday. Some Hoboken residents might have required a whaambulance with all their whining and histrionics. I think it is unrealistic to expect perfect streets the next day and perhaps the job could have been done better but I am amiss as to what storm to compare it to other than 1996. The one in 2006 was big as well but the snow was very fluffy and much more manageable. Keep in mind back then snow was dumped in to the Hudson River and the City of Hoboken got in trouble with the EPA. One resident suggested using 1600 Park to dump the snow instead of in the Hudson. Suggestion duly noted.

Watch out where the huskies go, don't you eat that yellow snow. This very well behaved dog was quite the poser and its beautiful coat of fur is ideal for these conditions. This dog was seen earlier rolling in the snow and is quite photogenic. Mush! 
Even Hudson County Mosquito Control got into the act helping out with the plowing.

Peter Cunningham was on the corner of 10th and Park seeing to that the vehicle abandoned on 12/26 after it caught fire was finally towed last night after 8pm. He was upset on behalf of his constituents that this car and another up the street had been sitting there all day and had still not been towed. The situation was eventually rectified. The question is were there enough tow trucks in the area to handle all the stuck cars? The short answer appears to be yes but Mile Square towing according to one source was not up to the job. High Point towing had to take over towing responsibilities at one point since Mile Square Towing was not getting the job done. In one case MST sent the wrong type of truck even when they did respond. Given their apparently dismal performance does anyone think MST should get their towing contract renewed?

I ran into Director Pellgrini who was working various issues the clock and walked up Washington Street at around 6pm to witness this at 10th and Park. On the way up the Director and I helped a woman get unstuck at 6th and Washington and then proceeded up to assess this situation. The car caught fire he evening of  12/26 and was put out by the Hoboken Fire Department but the tow trucks did not come until the following evening. A front end loader was required to clear the way for the tow truck to take it away last night after 8pm.