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New Yorkers Brave Slush and Train Delays for First Commute After Blizzard

By DNAinfo Staff | January 25, 2016 11:50am 

 A parent at P.S. 9 in Brooklyn commutes to school on his two-wheeler.
A parent at P.S. 9 in Brooklyn commutes to school on his two-wheeler.
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DNAinfo/Rachel Holliday Smith

NEW YORK CITY — Subways were packed, commutes stretched for hours and streets were filled with slush, but New Yorkers pushed through their way to work and school on the first weekday after a massive blizzard dumped more than 2 feet of snow on the city.

Subways were running close to normal but many parents and students reported rough commutes to public schools, which were open Monday morning despite protest from some politicians.

"There's a lot of black ice along the edges by the buildings, so I slipped at one part and then at another right after that," said Nita Stella, who walked her son to his fourth grade classes at P.S. 41 in the West Village.

"We watched a few other kids slip in front of us," she added.

At public schools, the regular attendance count will be pushed back to 11 a.m. so students have enough time to make it in, according to Department of Education Chancellor Carmen Fariña.

"When they get in, no one will be marked late," the chancellor said.

Some students traveled for three hours to get to school, like Kerolos, a 15-year-old who takes a bus, a ferry and two trains to get from Staten Island to Brooklyn Latin, a specialized public school in East Williamsburg.

"The first bus, instead of taking 30 minutes, took an hour and 30 minutes," he said.

A Brooklyn Latin teacher, Malcolm Hill, stood out in front of the school to congratulate students who made it in on time.

"Good morning! You made it! You're a snow warrior!" Hill said.

Trains on the Upper West Side were crowded. Lines for buses in Queens stretched down the block. And commuters complained they were stuck waiting for the Long Island Rail Road, which was still plagued by suspensions and delays Monday.


Commuters wait for the Q46 in Hillcrest, Queens, Monday morning. (Courtesy of Assemblywoman Nily Rozic)

"I've been here for two hours," Andrea Allen, 42, said in Penn Station about 8 a.m. as she waited for a train to Great Neck for her babysitting job.

"They said everything's suspended. It's frustrating. I can't do anything about it but wait. I just want to get to work.

Parents were split on the decision to open city schools, which had drawn some ire from local leaders like Public Advocate Tish James and state Senator Jose Peralta.

"They should've closed it today because there is too much congestion. They don't have the streets cleaned up," said Jeanette Germany, a crossing guard at New Explorers High School in Concourse Village.

Millicent Price said she and her daughter had a rough commute to her pre-k classes at Concourse Village Academy.

"I think they should've canceled," Price said. "My daughter almost fell, like, four times."

Chancellor Fariña defended her decision to open schools Monday morning.

"For many parents, it's the safest place for kids to be. Being in school is really, for many parents, a real reassurance that all is well with the world," she said.

"And many of these kids are going to go out and play during recess time in the snow," Fariña added.

Some parents were happy to brave the snow and slush to get their kids to classes.

"We were going to cut school, but my daughter didn't want to because she wanted to do a project," said Alex Pedraza, who dropped his third-grade daughter off at P.S. 9 in Prospect Heights.

Anne D. was happy to drop her second grader off at P.S. 9 after being cooped up for the storm.

"All his friends are here. Otherwise, he's stuck in the house," the mom said.

With reporting by Camille Bautista, Eddie Small, Emily Frost, Aidan Gardiner, Gwynne Hogan, Katie Honan, Trevor Kapp, Rachel Holliday Smith and Danielle Tcholakian.