By Sonja Sharp and Tom Liddy
MANHATTAN — It was no trick.
A pre-Halloween wintry blast blanketed Manhattan, and much of the Northeast, with record-shattering snow that killed three, knocked out power for millions and left city parks a dangerous mess with thousands of damaged trees.
Central Park received 2.9 inches of snow Saturday, the most ever recorded in the month of October since snowfall records were first kept in 1869, according to Accuweather.com.
In fact, Central Park had never recorded an inch of snow on any single day single day during the month. Before Saturday, 0.5 inch of snow fell on Oct. 21, 1952 and before that, 0.8 inch fell on Oct. 30, 1925, Accuweather said.
JFK and LaGuardia also set snowfall records, clocking in with 1.5 and 1.7 inches each, according to the site.
The wet, sloppy snow wreaked havoc across the city, knocking down trees and snapping limbs.
City parks were closed overnight because thousands of trees were damaged in the storm, according to the Parks Department website. But the ban was lifted on Sunday morning, although caution was advised for parkgoers.
"There’s still a risk of limbs coming down, so we have staff on site evaluating conditions," said Parks spokesman Phil Abramson.
According to the city's Office of Emergency Management, some 100 trees or tree limbs were down across Manhattan and about 1,300 citywide as of 4 a.m. Sunday.
On Sunday afternoon, the Central Park Conservancy tweeted that some 400 acres of Central Park had been damaged with a possible loss of 1,000 trees.
A 69-year-old woman was injured Saturday when a tree limb fell on her in Central Park. She was breathing and conscious when she was taken to the hospital in stable condition.
Around 8,000 customers remained without power Sunday morning, the vast majority of which were in the outer boroughs.
Aside from planned work, subway service appeared to escape the wrath of the storm, as did the Long Island Railroad. But service on the northern portion of Metro-North's Harlem line remained suspended Sunday morning due to downed trees, according to the MTA.
In Manhattan, there were two multi-car accidents overnight.
Just before 4:40 a.m. Sunday, there was a three-car pileup on the Harlem River Drive and 155th Street that left one person seriously injured, the FDNY said. And on the Henry Hudson Parkway, there was a five-car crash just before 5 a.m. that left one person with minor injuries.
Despite the storm's wallop, the city escaped the brunt of the storm.
It was a different story in Massachusetts, where one town was blanketed with more than two feet of snow. Snowfall records were also set in the tri-state area.
In New York, White Plains received 7 inches of snow and Yonkers was hit with 7.5, while upstate Harriman got 16, according to AccuWeather.
The storm was blamed for three deaths across the Northeast, one each in Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Massachusetts, Reuters said.
On Sunday, Manhattanites brushed themselves off from the early brush with Old Man Winter. Temperatures were expected to rise near 50 under sunny skies and hover in the mid- to upper 50s throughout the week, AccuWeather said.
Azi Raman, 55, of Brooklyn — owner of Modern Fashion and Style on Orchard Street in the Lower East Side — said he was hoping for a boost in winter coat sales from the cold weather blast.
"It's ridiculous. In October!" he said. "Saturday's one of our best days, but because of the weather it was slow. We like snow, but with the snow and the wind and the rain, it didn't help."
Carlos Rodriguez, 76, a super on East 1st Street, in the East Village, was cleaning leaf litter and other storm debris from in front of one of his buildings.
"When it was falling it was pretty, but afterward people were still out walking through it," he said. "There were lots of young people out all night—it didn't stop anybody.
"When I was young I loved the snow. Now I stay inside."
But Abby Smith, 26, who was walking on the Lower East Side with her pup Belly, said the snow didn't phase her.
"I'm from upstate New York, so I love the snow," she said. "People here are big weenies and they hide under their umbrellas. We're really lucky for the snow."
It was a different story for her pooch, who was wearing a coat.
"She's from Tennessee," she said. "It's her first winter—certainly not mine!"