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MAP: Here's Where Snow Goes After a Blizzard

By Nigel Chiwaya | February 17, 2016 7:27am
 DSNY has 48 snow disposal sites across the five boroughs.
DSNY has 48 snow disposal sites across the five boroughs.
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DNAinfo/Katie Honan

Out of sight, out of mind.

In the aftermath of a blizzard, the city's Department of Sanitation hauls snow off city streets and dumps it at dozens of pre-determined sites across the five boroughs, according to Atlas Obscura, a website that explores worldwide hidden wonders.

In the wake of the Jan. 22 blizzard, snow was trucked to 48 sites around the city — including a Queens high school and beaches and parks across the five boroughs — where snow was either "disposed" of, which means piled and left to melt in the sun or melted manually using high-powered machines, according to the DSNY snow plan.

The city uses melters that are capable of superheating up to 135 tons of snow into water per hour, "which is then discharged directly into city sewers," according to the DSNY site.

Queens — which saw up to 34 inches of snow in some neighborhoods during the historic blizzard — has the most designated snow sites in the city, with 16 total sites, eight for melting and eight for disposal.

Manhattan comes in second with 12 locations total, six each of melter and disposal sites. Notably, none of the disposal sites are located south of 110th Street, although there are staging areas for snow to be melted at sites along the Hudson and East rivers.

Brooklyn has 10 sites — two disposal locations and eight melter sites, while The Bronx has five sites — three disposal sites and two melter locations and Staten Island has four melter sites and one disposal location.

A map of all the sites can be seen below.


Parks and parking lots are common locations for melting piles, as the city has designated snow pile locations at places such as the Orchard Beach parking lot, the upper lot at Cunningham Park, and Floyd Bennett Field.

The city relies on less-trafficked streets as locations to place snow melter machines, including West 33rd Street between 11th and 12th avenues, next to the Hudson Yards site; as well as DuPont Street from Commercial to Franklin streets in Greenpoint, according to the plan.

The city only uses sites approved by the Department of Environmental Protection, DSNY spokeswoman Belinda Mager said.

"These are specific locations that can handle the gallons and gallons of water that are created by the melting," Mager said.

But just because the city uses these locations for snow disposal doesn't mean the public should show up with their own snow. Instead, Mager advises residents with snow piles to simply call 311.

This map is a collaborative effort between Atlas Obscura and DNAinfo New York. Click here to read Atlas Obscura’s version.