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Long IslandColumnists

Snow daze for LI, but NYC — not so much

The Port Jefferson Branch Station of the LIRR

The Port Jefferson Branch Station of the LIRR waits for the next train from the city on Feb. 8, 2013. Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

Some things are just different in the suburbs.

Al Roker ended the week by trash-tweeting Bill de Blasio over whether New York City public schools should have been snow-dayed or not. Al said yes. Bill said no. The veteran weatherman had a mighty chilly forecast for the brand-new mayor: "One term."

But hardly anyone on Long Island thought Thursday should have been work-and-school as usual.

It wasn't just that the Island got more snow than the city did, though that was certainly true. It's that major snowstorms — especially one-two-three punches like this one turned out to be — are so much more to contend with where most people live in single-family houses and have to move around in cars.

It's the diesel trains taking over poorly for the electric ones. It's the snow drifts in Bayville so high some residents couldn't get out their front doors. It's ice on the power lines in Valley Stream teetering at the edge of blackout. It's roads unplowed, brakes not holding and drivers carefully following the tire tracks of trucks up ahead.

City people don't understand this, strolling to their subways and holed up in 80-degree apartments. But a solid February nor'easter can still turn huge patches of America into a white-out tundra in the time it takes for the kids to shout, "Snow day."


1. Stay Off Sideroads
2. Sand or Salt
3. Same Ol’ Stuff
4. Shovel Out Soon
5. Sick of Snow

ASKED AND UNANSWERED: Are Smithtown's Pat Vecchio and Lynne Nowick the only local officials who forgot to file their proper legal oaths? Could anyone else be Puleo-ed by an inquisitive town clerk? .?.?. Will Huntington Station's Matt Mortensen's trip to Sochi boost the high-speed sport of luging on Long Island? Who has a list of great LI luging tracks? .?.?. What did "Long Island Medium" Theresa Caputo ask the inmates when she brought her TLC cameras into the Suffolk County jail? "Have you been accused of something lately? Are your friends and family far away?" .?.?. Is the 100-year-old Glenwood Landing Power Plant an architecturally unique civic monument that could be rehabbed into a rec center — or a crumbling relic begging to be torn down? Some neighbors are now questioning National Grid's tear-it-down plan .?.?. The state's Mute Swan Management Plan calls the death-sentenced birds "a nonnative, invasive species, brought to North America .?.?. in the late 1800s" -- wait, couldn't the same be said about some of our relatives? .?.?. Did you realize that average LI gas prices had their first up week this year, to $3.56 a gallon? Or were you stuck in the snow and couldn't care less? .?.?. Did Legis. Thomas F. Barraga really tell a constituent that no one in Suffolk "should ever ride a bicycle"? Can someone please lend the legislator a bike helmet before all the two-wheeled outrage lands on his head? .?.?. Did you use the snow as a came-up-short excuse on Valentine's Day? Did it work? I didn't think so.|

THE NEWS IN SONG: Take me away to a better day: Natasha Bedingfield's "Pocket Full Of Sunshine,"


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The truck plows are more efficient. The souped-up snowblowers do a perfectly fine job. But there is still something special about an energetic kid from the neighborhood with a flat-bottom shovel and an entrepreneurial heart. The calls were heard from end to end of the island: “Ten dollars for the sidewalk, 25 for the drive.” The answer should always be “Yes.” The paperboys are mostly history. Lemonade stands are mostly in the murky memories of the old. But listen for the sounds of the metal scraping across frozen concrete and the exchange of earning folded currency for hard, honest work.


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