By Tom Fehn
For only the fourth time since 1900 New York City has been hit with over 60 inches of snow this winter.
New York has faced its worst winter since 1996, when over 75 inches of snow covered the big apple.
Mercy College, just like most of New York, struggled to stay open during many of the storms. Mercy was closed twice and had a delayed opening as well as a couple of early dismissals. Even with the delayed openings and early dismissals, a lot of students and faculty had to make their way into school, and for many it wasn’t the easiest of rides.
“I come from Wappinger Falls so it takes me a while to begin with,” says Mercy grad student Marisa Bisaccia. “It took me almost two hours to get to one of my classes; that’s how bad the roads were. I swear I used to be someone who liked winter but not anymore, especially when you have to drive through it to get to either school or work.
It wasn’t just the drivers who struggled to get to Mercy College as during this wild winter. The Metro North railroad some days was either delayed or working on a weekend schedule, which meant less availability to get to campus.
“It’s hard enough not being able to drive and to rely on the mass transportation but when the weather changes the schedule around or makes it impossible to move it becomes a huge hassle,” says Mercy junior Jimmy Lemus. “Coming from the Bronx with no car I have no choice except to take the trains and winter has done its best for me to miss almost half of my classes this semester.”
“Coming from Danbury makes travel annoying and it felt as if I never had class for the three weeks of the semester while being trapped,” said Mercy senior Steve Hagan.
This winter has been one for the record books from the first storm this winter. The day after Christmas had areas of snow from 18 to 24 inches with some areas having a high of 29 inches. With the crazy snowstorms New York also had wind gusts of over 60 miles per hour, which left some areas piled up with snow as high as seven feet tall, making most people of New York trapped inside their houses.
“Weather like this makes me regret not going somewhere warmer for college instead of staying in New York,” says Mercy senior Melissa Galassi. “If I chose somewhere in Florida or California I could have stayed on the beach while everyone else got hammered with snow.”
Officials say that New York City burned through its entire snow removal budget of nearly $40 million on the first snowstorm of the season. It came the day after Christmas, which was also a Sunday, meaning millions of dollars in worker overtime costs.
A handful of more storms have hit the area since, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg has dismissed questions about how the city will pay for snow removal. He says the streets are cleared first; then the city figures out afterward how it can shift the money.
New York has also been receiving additional salt shipments to keep its supply stocked, and has over one hundred thousand tons on hand in the event of an upcoming storm.
“Since I don’t ski or snowboard I just keep counting down the days until spring gets here, and I’m sure I’m not the only one,” said Lemus.