Riley Samson, 18, and Annabel Newman, 18, of the West Village walked their dogs around the unusually deserted West Village this evening. Photo by Virginia Gunawan
Despite whipping winds and heavy snow, dogs need to poop and pee. So as Manhattan’s West Village streets started turning white this evening, dogs and their owners were taking care of business.
“It’s not like I really want to take them out, it’s because I have to,” said Riley Samson, 18, of the West Village. “My dog needs to pee and poo and do other stuffs outside, so I’m taking her out.”
Samson was out with her brown female Labradoodle, Wizhtle. Walking along them was Samson’s childhood friend, Annabel Newman, with her neighbor’s dog, Zack.
“The case is a little different for me, I got paid for walking Zack,” said Newman, 18, also of the West Village. For her service, she got $25 for one hour walk.
While Zack was curiously and carefully observing the snow, Wizhtle was exuberant. She wanted to explore every nook and crannie of the street and was vigorously sniffing around.
“It gets difficult sometimes to hold her because she’s got too excited with the snow,” said Samson. “I have to grip the leash tightly and be really careful with my steps too.”
Unlike other fashionable dogs in New York, Zack and Wizhtle did not wear sweater or dog boots.
“She’s a big dog and she wouldn’t let me put a sweater on her,” said Samson. “After all, she doesn’t need one.”
“The only thing that concerns us is the salt they use on the snow,” said Newman. “Zack’s owner has been telling everyone around the neighbor to use blue salt.”
Salt used as ice melt can damage dogs’ paws, leading to infection. Even worse, if dogs lick their paws and ingest the chemically unhealthy substance, it could be poisonous for them.
The two childhood friends walked around the neighborhood for almost one hour, before calling it a day as the sun set.
“I’m actually preparing for it to be colder,” said Newman.
She wore her ski jacket, snow pants and snow boots.
“I feel like everyone is freaking out for no reason,” said Newman.
Her mother had stocked up food and had thought of filling the tub in case they run out of water.
“But then, maybe we are underreacting to it,” Samson reminded Newman that today is going to be the first time subways were shut down because of snow.
Charlie Shaw, owner of Cheap Charlie’s, a variety store on Manhattan Avenue in Greenpoint. Photo by Neil Giardino.
New Yorkers braced for what Mayor Bill DeBlasio has warned could be the largest snowstorm in city’s history Monday, with forecast wind gusts of 50 miles per hour and up to three feet of snow accumulation. The Mayor urged New Yorkers to return home before Monday evening rush hour to avoid blustering winds, dangerously low visibility, and treacherous roads.
As the colossal Nor’easter dubbed Juno rushed headlong into the Northeastern Seaboard Monday afternoon, Brooklynites weren’t taking any chances. At a packed Associated Supermarket in Greenpoint, residents like Bonnie Class girded themselves for worst-case scenarios.
“I’m actually from Florida – a lot of hurricanes there – so, I’m getting ready, getting basic stuff. A lot of crackers, some fruit, some bread, just some stuff to last three or four days I guess.” Her plans for the evening: “Stay in and not work,” she said.
As snow began to blanket bustling Manhattan Avenue, retailers like Charlie Shaw, owner of Cheap Charlie’s, weren’t put out by the threat of massive snowdrifts and slick roads. “Most of my business for the snowstorm will be the salt, the shovels, the car cleaning and windshield wiper fluids. I’ll come in tomorrow too because I know people are going to look for this stuff in the morning,” he said.
In previous years Mr. Shaw said he has run out of de-icing salt during major storms, but this year he’s banking on moving a lot of it. He’s stocked a surplus in anticipation of winter storms like Juno.
In expectation of the worst, the MTA tweeted a readiness to shut down all train and bus service, along with Metro North and Long Island Rail Road trains by 11pm at the behest of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. As mass transit hunkers down for a blizzard predicted to pummel the city, Greenpoint resident Emily Guthrie wasn’t fazed.
“I’m from the Midwest, it snows a lot. I think New Yorkers freak out a little too much about it,” she said. Still, Guthrie thought it wise to stock up on a few items at the C-Town Supermarket on Manhattan Avenue just in case.One last stop for many in the neighborhood is Polemost Liquor, also on Manhattan Avenue. Clerk Thomas Dunne said he anticipated an uptick in sales as he salted his storefront entrance. He said winter storms like this tend to be a boon for the store. “Business is better. There’s nothing to do and people are just staying home, relaxing, drinking wine, so we sell more.”
Markus Zakaria, 22, outside his apartment on campus at NYU during the blizzard. Photo credit: Christina Dun
It’s the first day back to school and already there’s a snow day.
For many students living in New York City for the first time, alerts of “Snowmageddon 2015” or #NYCBlizzard is something new to experience.
“This is nothing like Dubai,” said Markus Zakaria, a music technology grad student at NYU who lives on campus. He has gone from growing up in Dubai to pursuing his undergraduate degree in Florida, where he’s no stranger to the heat. Here in NYC however, it’s a little different this time of year.
“So far I’m enjoying it. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen anything like this,” he said. “It’s not too cold just yet, but I hear it’s going to get worse.”
Two to three feet of snow is expected to fall by Tuesday night but he’s not getting too worried.
While it seems like the rest of New York is in a state of panic, Zakaria is looking on the bright side.
“Coming from a hot place to a cold place, I actually prefer this,” he said. “You can always put more clothes on, but there’s only so much you can remove when it’s too hot.”
It’s a good thing he likes to wear layers, as New Yorkers must bundle up in those heavy jackets and scarves this week. Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency Monday afternoon, warning people to stay safe at home. The MTA also announced that all bus, commuter rail and subway services would be suspended at 11 p.m. Monday night.
NYU students received multiple emails, texts and notifications of closures and cancelled classes and Zakaria is excited to get to fully experience the snow in the city.
While New York residents are preparing for the storm by stocking up on food, water and supplies, Zakaria feels like he’s ready. He said he’s stocked up and has snow boots at hand, but since he hasn’t seen it that bad yet, he isn’t too sure what to expect.
Lines at grocery stores have been incredibly long, as seen throughout social media, and shelves are emptying, all to get ready for the blizzard that’s been named Juno.
For Zakaria, he’s seeing more good than bad so far and he’s just living in the moment.
“I can’t see how it would be horrible, but I guess we’ll see how this day goes,” he said. “I’m looking forward to building snowmen and snow angels though.”
Kale Alfageh keeps The Coffee Place food truck open to serve some of his regulars as they brave Winter Storm Juno and grab a late lunch. Photo Credit: Raz Robinson
Monday afternoon, when most have been urged to stay indoors, some of Lower Manhattan’s food truck operators are braving Winter Storm Juno and going to work anyway.
Kale Alfageh cupped his hands together, pressed them firmly against his lips, breathed deeply and muttered, “I hate this, I hate the snow.”
Alfageh, 48, has been operating The Coffee Place breakfast food truck on the corner of Mercer and Washington Street for six months now. He noted his distrust of weather reporting as his primary reason for setting up shop.
“Cause you know sometimes they say it’s going to be something and it ends up being something else,” said Alfageh. “ Last year they said there was going to be too much snow to go out and I didn’t work. The weather was actually really nice that day and I lost a lot of money. This happened three or four times so now I always go.”
Mia Alumghed, 50, who works out of the Halal food truck on the corner of Astor Place and Broadway, expressed a tone similar to Alfageh’s.
“Business on days like this is always terrible,” says Alumghed. “But it’s not really worth not going.”
“I’ve seen it all,” said Alumghed, who has worked out of his truck for five years now. “The weather has been worse, but the regulars still come.”
Despite the steady flow of steam rolling out the window of his truck the storm had Alfageh pining for the warmth of his home country. “I’m from Egypt and it never, never, never snows in Egypt,” he said. “Egypt has the best weather in all the world”.
Although Alfageh was thinking of Egypt, some of his regulars were thrilled to see him coming out to open up shop despite the bad weather.
“I really am thankful,” says Jessica Thomas of Queens. “The guys are always so nice and friendly no matter what the weather is. Whether it’s raining, or snowing, or a hundred degrees outside”.
Thomas, who works as an administrator in New York University’s psychology department, was happy that as everyone was heading inside there was still somewhere to grab a snack.
“They’re so close to the office,” she said as she pointed to the building she works in. “and I almost never see them packing it up.”
As the wind picked up, the snow began to stick to the ground. Alfageh looked out the window of his truck and said, “I plan to leave at 5, but we’ll have to see how the weather looks before I go anywhere.”
Santiago Lopez, 64 of Sunset Park, has no idea what is going on with Winter Storm Juno. He has no cellphone or television to learn about the forecast, so he is unaware of the incoming snowstorm. He can’t read the newspaper because he is blind. He also has no family to warn him.
“I can only see shadows, no more,” said Lopez early Monday as the snow was starting to fall in this working class, immigrant community in Brooklyn. “As long as there are people walking on the street, it says the weather is not that bad, and I’d stay.”
Disabled and jobless, he makes money by singing upbeat ballads and playing his accordion every morning in his neighborhood. He spends one hour on a block, then moves to the next one. He makes $5 a day at most.
Before he went blind he used to be a roofer. But as his vision worsened, he could no longer do the job and had to rely on savings to pay his $320 rent.
He used up the last of his savings to hire his old immigration lawyer, to work out a deal with his landlord to suspend his rent. It was the same lawyer who helped him get his green card in 2002, 16 years after coming to this country from Mexico.
But his Social Security card and the green card were stolen and they have not been replaced. He carries around a certification from Maimonides Medical Center that says he donated blood at their blood center, to prove his legal status.
“I don’t have anything else to prove my identity,” he said.
When bad weather comes, Lopez stands under the eaves of the shops along the street. He helps shop owners with cleaning and other odd jobs. In return, they let him perform there.
Laia Diaz, the owner of the laundry on 4th Avenue, said that when Lopez started singing in the neighborhood years ago, she recognized him right away.
“He was on television in 1991,” said Diaz. “He went into the UN building with a gun and got arrested. But he is a nice man in life.”
But Lopez said the gun charge was a big mistake.
“My friend wanted me to keep his gun for him. I did, I carried it everywhere. I didn’t speak English and had no idea it was illegal,” said Lopez. “I was just visiting the UN.”
As the snow falls, Lopez sings, but no one stops to listen.
Customers at Fairway Market on Second Avenue scour the meat department for any remaining food. Photo Credit: Ben Shapiro
Only a little over two years removed from the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy, New Yorkers were flooding the supermarkets as Winter Storm Juno was beginning its decent on the city.
“It wasn’t this bad, I don’t think so. Sandy was different because by the time we realized how serious it was, everything was cleaned out,” said Mary Vays, Tudor City. “It’s a good thing, we all know what happened during Sandy.”
Vays, 42, was shopping for her daughter and husband at a mobbed Fairway Market in Murray Hill today. The large supermarket chain’s supplies were running low at 2 p.m., and the line for the register spanned halfway across the border of the store.
“I just walked around, and I have never seen a line this long, it’s crazy,” said Vays, who has been living in the same neighborhood for seven years.
Despite the rush of customers before the heavy snowfall, the excessive register line, which spanned almost 50 yards back and merged with the group of customers eagerly awaiting cold cuts, moved rather swiftly and did not appear to take longer than 15 minutes. The store’s employees got people in and out of the market, but there was still only a limited supply of food for its patrons. Vays, who keeps kosher, was disappointed but not overly surprised to see the limited kosher section out of food.
“The kosher section was cleaned out, so out of luck there,” said Vays, who teaches Fashion Design at three different colleges in the city. “The kosher section was very upsetting. All the Jews came and took all the food, it’s been cleaned out for a while now,” Vays joked.
Although she was unable to buy any meat products for her family, Vays was able to secure pertinent food items, which in her mind included water, cereal and milk. She was not alone in purchasing water from the supermarket, as almost every customer on line had varying amounts of bottled water in their cart. Unique to Vays’ cart though was baby formula, which like any new mother was atop her shopping list.
“My first reaction was to find baby formula because I have a newborn at home, and then come out and get stuff that we might need for the apartment,” said Vays.
Going to the supermarket is not the only way Vays plans on preparing for Winter Storm Juno. After listening to weather experts she plans on removing items near the windows because winds are projected to be high. With snow already beginning to fall as she was concluding her shopping, Vays trusts meteorologist’s predictions regarding the incoming storm.
“I don’t think they are going to make a huge mistake, maybe a few inches here or there,” said Vays. “With technology as it is these days, I believe they will be able to forecast how much we are getting.”
One line of shoppers stocking up for the snowstorm at the NYC Fresh Market in Brooklyn today. (Photo by Stacey Kilpatrick)
On a day when the wind was blistering and powerful enough to physically push your body along snow-covered sidewalks and herds of New Yorkers were out stocking up on last-minute groceries, Sarah Berman wasn’t panicking.
Berman, 36, a resident of Fort Greene in Brooklyn, was casually reading the ingredients on a box of pasta at the NYC Fresh Market on the corner of Gold Street and Myrtle Avenue in Downtown Brooklyn just after noon today.
She said she was planning a dinner party for this evening and needed last-minute ingredients for a hearty lasagna.
“I actually really hate this store,” Berman said. “It feels like a death trap and everything is about to fall in on you. But the other store that I went to [Red Apple] didn’t have two of my key dinner ingredients for the evening and I didn’t want to make two stops so I just came back over here for a quick shopping trip.”
With a few items in her cart, she said she was surprised at how few people were shopping in Fresh Market. The first grocery store that she went to in Brooklyn didn’t have any lines; while NYC Fresh Market had six registers open with one line.
The small, underground food store was semi-crowded as people walked between thin aisles and hovered around the deli, bakery and produce sections, reading food labels and questioning whether a gallon of Elmhurst Dairy milk for $4.79 was worth it. The store wasn’t overcrowded, with roughly 30 shoppers, but it was evident that people were stocking their cabinets.
Readying for her dinner to go on as planned, Berman said she doesn’t usually stress about snowstorms and wasn’t worried about the so-called paralyzing storm that has been predicted to dump up to two feet of snow on the city through Tuesday evening.
“It’s colder than I thought it was going to be so my ears were a little chilly, but yeah I’m really not that worried about it,” she said. “I’m guessing we’re going to get about 14 inches in this neighborhood. If you don’t have to get behind the wheel of a car and the subways are running, you’ll be surprised [at] how alive and active this city remains even under the worst possible circumstances.”
She said the media tends to blow up weather issues.
“And you know jokes on me if I end up with no water, but I really just don’t think that that’s going to be an issue,” Berman said.
Shallen Ferreira, 27 was stocking up on groceries at Morton Williams in Greenwich Village Monday morning, before the worst of the snowstorm hit the city. Photo by Joanna Bouras
Residents were bundling up and stocking up this morning to prepare for what New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio predicted will be the worst snowstorm in the city’s history. With a high chance of power outages, halted traffic, and over two feet of snow predicted, it was mayhem at the markets.
Morton Williams grocery store in Greenwich Village, was filled with anxious shoppers trying to stock up with flurries already coming down. Lines wrapped around the perimeter of the store as customers scrambled to grab what was left.
“I’m scared and the fact that everyone else is so scared just makes it more terrifying,” said new Soho resident Shallen Ferreira, 27, who moved to the city two weeks ago from Mexico with her husband.
She heard that most stores were closing between noon and 2 p.m. and didn’t want to be stuck home without food. She said the store was already falling behind demand and that she was having trouble finding items as simple as deli meats.
“The first thing I grabbed was water and Dr. Pepper,” she said. “I have Dr. Pepper first thing in the morning, it’s my coffee.”
Having grown up in St. Louis, Mo., Ferreira is no stranger to snow, but not the up to two feet forecasters are predicting.
Losing electricity was the least of her worries.
“We had a few outlets out so I left the electrician, a complete stranger, at my house with my cat who attacks people,” said Ferreira,as she placed packaged meats in her cart. “I hope I don’t go home to see he robbed me blind.”
With minimal taxis and cars on the roads, Ferreira is worried about how her husband will get home from work later tonight. It is mostly delivery trucks and snow removal vehicles.
“We didn’t use the subways in Mexico, they were considered dangerous, she said. “But it’s hard to keep spending $30 on a taxi each day, and today you can barely find one.”
Although Ferreira is not a fan of the snow she told her husband that if they can get the door to open she would build a snowman on their terrace.
Roel Arriesgado of the Philippines stands for a photo in an empty Times Square. When Winter Storm Juno hits later today it will be his first experience with snow. Photo credit: Megan Jamerson
As temperatures dropped to 25 degrees late Monday morning and the snow began to accumulate on the sidewalks and neon lights, only the brave stood snapping selfies in Times Square. It was a race against incoming blizzard conditions from winter storm Juno.
According to Times Square Alliance statistics, Duffy Square the northeast corner between 46th and 47th street, had over 107,000 visitors this time last year. Today, there were only a sprinkling of tourists and ticket sellers and not one costumed character.
“We are trying to make the most of the last hours of our trip,” said Thomas Hewes of Oxford, England.
Hewes is on his last day of a week long vacation with his girlfriend. He anticipates their flight home will get cancelled later today, so they decided to venture out for a little more sight seeing. He said he is a little skeptical of what he called dramatic news reports and laughed at the storm nickname Icezilla.
“American’s have a way of exaggerating the weather” said Hewes, 26.
On the other side of the square, Stephen Velasquez of Washington Heights stood bundled with a clipboard greeting the slim number of pedestrians walking by. He is a ticket promoter, selling day of tickets for tonight’s Broadway shows. He says the winter weather advisory hasn’t slowed purchases just yet.
“Mondays are typically slow in general, and while the weather doesn’t help much, it’s mild right now,” said Velasquez.
Velasquez, 25, is a veteran of harsh weather conditions. He experienced last year’s record breaking winter and says he is prepared for what ever may come later today.
“I’m ready for it,” said Velasquez. “I’m wearing new boots, I already did my groceries and have water at home. Hopefully I won’t have to work tomorrow because it may be a ghost town”.
When he gets word that the subways are shutting down, he said he will call it a day so he can make it home safely.
Not everyone at Times Square was as experienced with winter weather. Roel Arriesgado, 36, stood with a large grin and three warm layers as his picture was taken.
“This is my first experience with snow ever and I love it,” said Arriesgado of the Philippines. “I’m amazed and very happy and chilled inside and out”.
Arriesgado, had been sightseeing since early morning. In attempt to see everything on his list before the storm hit he got an early start. He had already seen Rockefeller Center, St. Patrick’s Cathedral and the 9/11 Memorial was next on his list. He said he wasn’t disappointed with the storm forecast, it was exciting instead.
“This is like a whole new world, a whole new thing for me,” said Arriesgado.