Let the Melting Begin

Wednesday will be partly cloudy and even warmer, with highs in the upper 30s. Get ready for all the snow to start melting.

As New York City struggled with huge snowdrifts left by a crippling blizzard the day before, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg acknowledged on Tuesday that the cleanup had been slower than expected and the impact worse than had been apparent when the snow stopped falling. While major thoroughfares seemed at least passable, especially in Manhattan, streets across vast stretches of the city remained untouched, leaving tens of thousands of residents unable to get to jobs and many facing long waits for ambulances and other emergency services.

Plows were unable to clear scores of streets that remained blocked by stuck buses and cars.

City officials pressed resources from several agencies to work, as a chorus of complaints from residents and elected officials arose on blogs and call-in shows. Christine C. Quinn, the City Council speaker, who has often sided with the mayor, said the city’s response to the blizzard was the worst in memory.

At a midday news conference, Mr. Bloomberg set a more somber tone than he had a day earlier, when he assured New Yorkers that the cleanup was proceeding smoothly. On Tuesday, he said he had visited all five boroughs, and asked for patience as the city dealt with the sixth-biggest snowfall in its history. [NYT] (Also see The New York Post, The Daily News and The Wall Street Journal.)

More Blizzard Coverage

911 dispatchers had to resort to desperate measures as greater numbers of emergency response vehicles became trapped in the snow, unable to respond to thousands of calls that came in over the past two days. [NYT] (Also see The Wall Street Journal) A baby born in Crown Heights died because medical aid could not reach the 22-year-old mother, who gave birth in a snowed-in building, until nine hours later. [Daily News] Many people suffered injuries from the remorseless maws of their snowblowers, some losing fingers. [New York Post]

Transportation began to trudge back to normalcy on Tuesday, but there are still many problems to face. [NYT] (Also see The New York Post)

Our mayor comes with great reluctance to “I feel your pain” moments, calling to mind a Park Avenue dowager donning a sack cloth. But there he was Tuesday, standing in one of those emergency management headquarters in Downtown Brooklyn, speaking of sanitation workers laboring round the clock, of blood shortages and esprit de corps, and, finally, this: “The fact remains that many New Yorkers are suffering serious hardships.” Michael Powell describes one of Mr. Bloomberg’s rare empathic moments in Wednesday’s About New York column.

Call it an economy of snow. While the city’s efforts to clear the more than 6,000 miles of streets have yielded unclear results (but uncountable complaints, and a slideshow), bands of entrepreneurs have emerged from warm apartments to fill the gap by charging $10 to $20 to shovel out trapped cars. [NYT]

And just in case you thought we had it rough, the citizens of Rahway, N.J., woke up to 32 inches of snow on Monday and were mostly able to clear their town. [NYT] Perhaps we would be better off if we just did not complain. [Daily News]

People & Neighborhoods

The United Methodist church in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, is anything but united. Two very different congregations share the soaring brick building on Fourth Avenue: a small cadre of about 30 Spanish-speaking people who have worshiped there for decades and a fledgling throng of more than 1,000 Chinese immigrants that expands week by week — the fastest-growing Methodist congregation in New York City. The two groups are very much at odds, so much so that the two congregations have separate Christmas trees. [NYT]

Government & Politics

The redistricting battle is looming as an early test of the anti-establishment sentiment that carried many novice politicians to victory in the 112th Congress. While more senior House members are already working their ties in statehouses back home to protect their districts, many freshmen are just waking up to what is coming. [NYT]

Crime & Public Safety

The New York Police Department has begun providing broad access to data on misdemeanor crimes in the city, putting the information on its Web site. The data, posted Monday, shows yearly totals from 2000 through 2009 of 17 categories of misdemeanors, as well as noncriminal violations. [NYT]

Hassan Malik, the man accused of killing a woman and then leaving her body in a suitcase on a street in East Harlem, claimed on Tuesday that he killed the woman after she attacked him and that he was sorry. [Daily News] (Also see The New York Post)

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