Snow piles clogging sidewalks and crosswalks became Public Enemy No. 1 in Park Slope on Monday morning as locals took to Twitter to blast businesses for their lackluster shoveling.
One angry resident even made a sign and stuck it in the towering mountain of snow outside Astoria Bank on Seventh Avenue and President Street.
Over 36 hrs since NYC snow stopped. Which businesses & property owners neglect corner snow removal in your 'hood?? pic.twitter.com/Biw4PCoIJe— Joanna Oltman Smith (@jooltman) January 25, 2016
Astoria Bank referred a reporter to the bank's 800 number for comment.
Oltman Smith said she realizes sticking signs in snow piles is a bit "ridiculous," but to her, it's a last resort, she said.
"It is done out of desperation," Oltman Smith told DNAinfo New York. "I don't want to spend my time making little signs for all scofflaw owners. Ideally, everyone in the community will show basic respect and concern for neighbors by making sure corners and sidewalks are safe to use."
Oltman Smith, vice president of the 78th Precinct's Community Council and a longtime safe streets advocate, frequently uses Twitter to point out dangerous conditions in the neighborhood.
But her old-fashioned tactics seem to be just as effective as her social media shaming. Oltman Smith said Berman Realty cleared a crosswalk near its office on Seventh Avenue and President Street less than an hour after she stuck a paper sign in a snow bank blocking the path. Last year, the same spot was choked with snow and ice for weeks, she said.
"They are not swayed by minimal Sanitation Department fines or neighborly requests, yet within an hour of my sign, they cleared a path where in past storms poor conditions have lingered for weeks," Oltman Smith said.
Berman Realty's Joe Berman said he hadn't seen the paper sign and added that shoveling the crosswalk, which is a couple of doors down from his office, wasn't his responsibility. However, a crew he hired to clear the sidewalk took it upon themselves to also remove snow from the crosswalk, he said.
After a reporter read him the text of Oltman Smith's sign — "This hideous, dangerous, illegal, uncleared corner brought to you by Berman Realty" — Berman fired back.
"If they were so concerned, why didn't they get shovel and shovel it themselves?” Berman griped. "That's the me-me society. It's 'What have you done for me lately?' "
The tea shop David's Tea on Seventh Avenue and Fourth Street also got a dose of shame from @ParkSlopePile. The Twitter feed usually chronicles a trash pile outside the nearby John Jay Educational Campus, but took a break to zero in on David's Tea and other shops that failed to clear their sidewalks.
An employee who answered the phone at David's Tea referred a reporter to the company's main office in Montreal, Canada for comment on the Seventh Avenue snow mound.
But Twitter critics also handed out praise. Park Slope Pile commended the quick clearing of sidewalks outside Rite Aid and Barnes & Noble on Seventh Avenue and Fourth Street.