By Carla Zanoni and Nicole Bode
MANHATTAN — Manhattan continued to dig itself out of the snow on Monday, tackling the challenge of massive snowdrifts and impassable streets and sidewalks after a blizzard dumped nearly two feet of snow on the city.
Delays throughout the MTA's transit network were expected to continue through Monday evening's rush, but the agency hopes to have most subway service restored by Tuesday morning.
Alternate-side parking rules will again be suspended on Tuesday as crews work to clear roads left buried by the blizzard.
Lower Manhattan recorded 19 inches of snow, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said at an afternoon press conference, while Washington Heights got 18.5 inches. An average of 20 inches fell across all five boroughs.
"In other words," the mayor said, "a lot of snow every place."
Bloomberg said day laborers would be hired to clear snow and reminded landlords and business owners to clear the sidewalks.
As New Yorkers continued to cope with conditions following the blizzard, which was described as one of the worst to hit the city in the last century, Bloomberg urged them not to shovel snow into streets that had already been plowed.
Plowing efforts had been hampered through the night and Monday morning by drivers who abandoned cars and blocked roads. Those cars had to be towed before plows could get through.
Bloomberg said 1,700 plows and 365 salt spreaders were deployed to clear the snow.
MTA Chairman Jay Walder said crews were working to have the subway system back up and running by the Tuesday morning rush.
"It was a big storm," Walder said. "It's hit us hard."
Subway service in Manhattan was doing well by midday Monday, Walder said, but the outer boroughs, where the trains often run aboveground, were still having problems.
Dozens of straphangers were stranded on an A train in Queens before they were rescued. LIRR service was suspended through Monday afternoon.
Although the city suspended alternate-side parking rules Monday, some snowstorm veterans who took to the streets warned that a delay in cleaning off their parked cars would just mean more work later.
"People are stupid if they don't shovel now. The ice is going to make it heavier later," said Inwood resident Maureen Garby, as she tried to extricate her car from under the snow at Isham and 207th Street.
"This is nothing like the blizzard in '96 when the whole city was shut down," Garby added.
Other snow shovelers offered their services for hire.
One man originally from the Dominican Republic who declined to give his name said he and his two friends had been roaming Inwood since 6 am Monday and had made $250 shoveling snow before noon.
"I have never seen snow anywhere. I hope it gets better," the man said in Spanish.
“New York City was hit with a winter storm that was as strong as the meteorologists predicted," Bloomberg said in a statement Monday, "Our Sanitation crews worked through the night but road conditions are bad and there are service interruptions and delays on mass transit."
Bloomberg urged New Yorkers to stay off the roads to leave room for emergency crews and snow plows.
This is the second blizzard to hit the city in 2010. In February, Manhattan was hit by a storm dubbed "Snowmageddon."