‘Sixth Largest Snowstorm in New York History’ Left Hundreds Stuck on Subways

By
Man cross-country skies through Times Square yesterday. For fun. Photo: Stan Hoda/Getty Images

We just survived the sixth-largest snowstorm in New York City history, the Daily News and New York Times report today! But the worst seems to be over: LaGuardia, Kennedy, and Newark all reopened for takeoffs Monday night, with landings resuming at LaGuardia and Kennedy. The blizzard brought the expected twenty inches of snow to Manhattan, but Staten Island got 29 inches of snow, and Brooklyn got two feet. Mayor Bloomberg is tough to shake, though: "The world has not come to an end," he said. "A lot of snow everyplace. It was a very heavy snowfall. We're cleaning it up." And despite the media's best efforts to make this storm seem terrifying, the News now cedes: "Remarkably, no casualties were reported." But that doesn't mean it was fun for everyone. Officials at New York City Transit said they could not provide an exact count of stranded subway trains, but a spokesman said there were at least five episodes. Check out what semi-horrible things happened to these people:

Daily News writer Erin Durkin was stuck on the A train between the Aqueduct and Rockaway Boulevard stations (above ground, at least) for seven hours on Sunday after the conductor announced, "This train is completely dead." The 500 passengers went without food, water, bathrooms, and heat. The passengers tried to stay calm and not go crazy and eat one another, but it became difficult: "Spirits rose when they announced a rescue train was coming to fetch us — but sunk again at the news: 'The rescue train is stuck,'" Durkin writes. Conductors reportedly "pleaded for help, but no one came." One passenger banged on the windows and screamed, "I want to go home!" Finally, a rescue train dragged them to the station, and nobody even got a free MetroCard out of it.

• Meanwhile, Stephen Rozas, a nice clerk at Sears in Rego Park, walked to work from Jackson Heights during the blizzard because the bus never came and he didn't want to take the day off, as "he’s not sure if the job will be around next month."

• One homeless man kept up a positive attitude: “It’s a great day,” he told the Post. “All I see are dollar signs.” A stranger even gave him a shovel. Also, airport workers at Famiglia in the food court at LaGuardia benefited from the weather: "Business was booming," an employee reports.

• An aboveground N left passengers stranded for eight hours without heat at the New Utrecht Avenue station on Monday after the train became paralyzed by a snow-clogged third rail. "Passengers waited for a rescue train that never came," the Times reports. Grigory Zilbergleyz, 64, who lived nearby, eventually left the train and walked home. “Every time when I see the situation like this, I’m very proud of the American people,” said Zilbergleyz, who immigrated to New York eleven years ago from Belarus. “No panic, no yelling. Just understanding.”

• And then there were the nearly 200 commuters stranded for twelve hours late Sunday night at the Hicksville LIRR station, when the railroad shut down and buses and taxis stopped running. The Nassau Red Cross showed up with water, food, and blankets for the exhausted strandees, and the nearby Dunkin Donuts even gave them all free hot chocolate. “We had some families with children, and some people did not have money to buy food,” the manager explained. “It was like a party."

Do you have a blizzard horror-slash-survival story? Do tell!

Stories from the storm [NYP]
LaGuardia, JFK airports are back flying, but mass transit remains a mess [NYDN]
My seven-hour nightmare stranded on New York City's A train [NYDN]
Stranded on the Subway, Some Through the Night [NYT]
East Digs Out After Blizzard [NYT]