UPPER WEST SIDE — New Yorkers dug out of a smaller-than-expected snowstorm Tuesday morning after a threatened blizzard of "historic" proportions failed to materialize.
Despite the storm dumping only 10 inches of snow on the city — much less than the 3 feet initially predicted — it still shut down roads and public transit.
Across the five boroughs, many residents were grateful that the storm wasn't as bad as expected and they largely took the transit disruptions in stride as roads reopened and subway service resumed Tuesday.
"I think the traffic ban was kind of a drastic measure but I guess they based it on the information they had at the time," said Claude Baller, 60, a documentary film maker who was walking his two dogs on the Upper West Side Tuesday morning as snow continued to fall.
"I walked them during Hurricane Sandy," he added, "so this is not too bad."
Some New Yorkers questioned whether the MTA needed to close the entire subway and bus system, since the predicted 3 feet of snow and 55 mph winds didn't arrive.
"I don't understand how they shut down the trains and it's nothing, really," said Nakia Montgomery, 38, who lives on 14th Street in Manhattan.
"They made people nervous for no reason. But I guess it's better safe than sorry."
London Ellis, 30, a restaurant worker from Tremont in The Bronx, got stranded in Manhattan Monday and had to spend the night in a bank lobby.
"They overreacted. It was really inconvenient," he said. "I don't think they should've shut down all the trains. For what? A few inches of snow?"
"People gotta toughen up," he added. "This is New York."
Schools were canceled on Tuesday, which meant an impromptu holiday for the city's 1 million public school kids — as well as many adults who didn't have to go into the office.
Aziz El-Tahch, 35, who works in finance, went sledding with his wife and 18-month-old daughter in Central Park near the Museum of Natural History early Tuesday.
"It's beautiful," El-Tahch said. "It's [my daughter's] first snow. She loves it. I bought her a pair of snow boots and found the very last sled."
Jana Zednickova, 45, a brand consultant who lives on the Upper West Side, planned to work from home on Tuesday but took a break to walk through Central Park.
"It's nice to slow down for a day, take it easy and be more playful," she said. "I think it makes people more human, it makes us feel like kids again."
While much of the city shut down Monday night, some businesses stayed open through the wee hours.
At University Place Gourmet Deli at East 13th Street and University Place, foot traffic was slower than usual overnight but plenty of people still filed in to pick up last-minute supplies, said cashier Celso Aquino, 53, a Bronx resident.
"There are a lot of people in the neighborhood," Aquino said. "They know that we're open, so they come."
Ronald Selsman, 76, who lives nearby, called the deli "a savior" for staying open in the storm.
"I think [the city] handled it perfectly well," he said. "Thank God it wasn't as bad as they said it would be."
Others, though, were less pleased with the meager snowfall.
"I'm disappointed," said Raymond Ming, 50, a Bed-Stuy resident. "I came outside this morning expecting the snow to be at my waist. I think it was more hype than snow."
With reporting by Heather Holland and Trevor Kapp