Across Long Island, heavy snow meant sledding at the beach for some, and dangerous driving conditions for others headed to work.
Many businesses felt a civic duty to remain open, providing critical transportation for the sick and elderly, while others offered refuge from the storm — in pubs, bakeries, even cheesesteak shops.
Here is a selection of scenes across Long Island:
Just because it’s a snowstorm doesn’t mean a Southampton surf shop closes. The Flying Point surf and sporting goods store in Southampton Village has never closed for a snowstorm in the 40 years since Margaret Donohoe opened this location, she said.
“We do well in extreme weather, whether it’s brutally hot or freezing cold or snowy,” said Donohoe, who sold her store last year and now manages it.
As of 11 a.m., no customers had come by, she said.
But Southampton residents aren’t fazed by rough weather conditions, she said.
“We’re seasoned out here a little more. We’re used to four-wheeling everywhere,” she said.
— Rachelle Blidner
A Southampton-based taxi company had more than 500 cancellations because of the storm.
Bryan DaParma of Hometown Taxi said only one taxi was running Thursday morning as snow fell. He was to close the shop by 11 a.m.
But he still had vehicles for Medicaid patients who needed dialysis and chemotherapy treatments, DaParma said.
“We can’t not take them [when they’re] on dialysis. It’s life-threatening,” he said.
One of his drivers had to take a patient from Brentwood into New York City, a roughly 50-mile trip, DaParma said.
“Obviously, their appointments are important, but so is the safety of our drivers and being able to get them there,” DaParma said.
When asked how much money this storm was costing business, DaParma sighed. “It’s a lot,” he said.
— Rachelle Blidner
Some Southampton residents welcomed the storm with open arms.
Leah Sellinger, 16, said she and her friends were heading to the beach to go sledding.
“Anything where we don’t have school is fun,” she said.
Tom Bourke went out for a stroll as snow fell.
“I always go out when it snows because it’s so nice and quiet,” Bourke, 55, said. “You don’t usually see it with no cars on Main Street.”
Annemarie Siefert said her children had “a big sleepover” last night and “are having a ball” while home from school.
“My kids are home and they’re playing in the snow. I want to get home and make cornbread and watch movies,” the financial services employee said as she left work because of the snow at 1 p.m.
Siefert said she also planned to stop by the beach.
“A blizzard out here is a double treat because the ocean is gorgeous,” she said.
-- Rachelle Blidner
Park Bake Shop owner Lucy Shtanko, 49, said she was sending employees home and planned to close early after serving just 35 customers by midday.
Normally, more than 300 would have stopped at the hamlet mainstay for pastries and coffee.
“This hurts business big-time when it snows like this,” she said. “Honestly, we’d have been better off to close, but you don’t want to disappoint your customers.”
Her morning commute on the Sagtikos Parkway might have given her a taste of what was to come. “There were cars everywhere, in the ditches, and cops everywhere. And here, in the town, there’s so much snow. There’s no one around.”
— Nicholas Spangler
Jerry Pariaros sees it as his duty to keep working during the snowstorms.
That’s why his shop, Supreme Philly Cheesesteaks, was open Thursday afternoon.
“A lot of people are working,” he said from his perch behind the cash register, referring to plow drivers and emergency personnel. “They have to stop someplace to eat.”
“It’s important,” said Pariaros, 48, who lives in Plainvew.
He appeared to be undeterred by the storm roaring outside.
“It’s not bad,” he said, staring out at the snow banks on Railroad Avenue. “We’re New Yorkers, not Floridians! It’s part of our daily lives.”
— Jesse Coburn
Gary Peters and his wife, Nancy Peters, said their drive to work in Roslyn was very “treacherous” and that there was hardly a car to be seen.
But snow was no deterrent for the demands of their day jobs as divorce attorneys at “Peters and Peters” in the Harbourview Shoppes in Roslyn, Gary Peters said.
“Neither snow nor inclement weather can obstruct liberating unhappy spouses,” Peters said.
— Christine Chung
The Village Idiot Pub on Main Street was open, with a “full bar” of customers happily riding out the snow storm, bartender Danielle Pierre said.
“We always get busy in the snow storm,” she said. “Why’s that? Because we’re the only place open.”
She said about 23 customers were sitting at the bar, and another 10 people were in the pub’s dining room.
“Most of them walked here, I guess. Most of them are local,” Pierre said.
The pub’s staff all reported for work when the bar opened at 11 a.m., and the bar’s managers had no plans to close early, Pierre said.
— Carl MacGowan
By noon, the Long Beach boardwalk was a winter wonderland, with several inches of snow piled up as more swirled and danced over the ocean’s crashing waves.
Jean and Ed Ruggiero, both 57, couldn’t resist making the short walk to the waterfront from their home with one of their daughters, even as gusting winds buffeted their every step.
“We always like to come down and see the beach in any kind of weather . . . definitely when something extra-special’s going on. This fits that category,” Jean Ruggiero said. “I’m shocked because yesterday we were in sweatshirts and today we’re having a blizzard.”
— Bridget Murphy
At the Long Island Rail Road Station, the smell of coffee wafted through the air as a few riders waited patiently for trains or Ubers.
Ashley Aikhuele had traveled into Manhattan earlier for work only to be sent home after about 90 minutes.
“It’s my first week on the job so I didn’t want to not come in and make a bad impression,” she said. She said the train ride both ways was long and stressful and things didn’t improve when she arrived at her final destination.
Once home in Huntington, she found no cabs.
“So I have been waiting for an Uber, they keep saying 15 minutes, but you know that’s not a good sign because it’s usually just three minutes,” she said.
After about 30 minutes Aikhuele’s Uber finally arrived. Her parting words were for those who did not have to brave the elements.
“They are blessed,” she said.
And out into the elements she went.
— Deborah S. Morris
Among locals and its regular clientele of laborers, tech, construction and utility workers, Rob Roy Deli is famous for being among the only eating establishment that was open in the days following superstorm Sandy.
“We’re always open,” night manager Ted Brennan said. “Whether 3 inches or 3 feet of snow, we’re here for our customers.”
He said they opened at the regular 4:30 a.m. and were “surprisingly constant” with customers coming in through the morning for egg sandwiches and coffee.
“We’re among the last of a dying breed: a deli,” Brennan said. “We’re familiar and our customers know we’re reliable.”
The only concession to the weather was closing early.
“We usually close at 6 but we may call it a day a little bit earlier,” he said.
A few stores down, Muhammad Naseem, owner of Village Pasta and Pizza, said he was open for obvious reasons: economics.
For Joseph Ferrante and his son Nicholas, Naseem’s shop being open was a stroke of good fortune. They had traveled from the South Shore to Huntington after being dismissed early from work.
“Everything we drove pass was closed,” Joseph Ferrante said. “Diners, fast food, everything. So we’re happy this place was open.”
-- Deborah S. Morris
Quevin Garcia, 17, was walking down Glen Street and Cedar Swamp Road after reporting for work at Dunkin’ Donuts -- and finding the doors locked and the restaurant dark.
Garcia was wearing sneakers as he trudged through the snow near the side of the street as the few vehicles on the road passed by.
“I’m not really prepared for the winter,” he said.
Garcia walked past trees with snow clinging to branches and past blankets of white covering pavement and grass. He sees nothing beautiful about it.
“I hate snow,” he said. “I hate winter — the cold — I hate everything about it. You have to dress with layers of clothes. I’d rather be wearing a tank top.”
-- David Olson
Roslyn Weiss had to travel from Glen Cove to Manhattan Thursday for work, but she didn’t even think of taking a snow day. She’s a nurse at a home healthcare agency, and she felt obligated to be at work, in case a patient needed her.
“It’s about patient safety,” she said.
Weiss took an earlier-than-usual Long Island Railroad train Thursday morning, to make sure she arrived on time. She was grateful LIRR did not shut down service.
“I really thought I’d get stuck there,” the Glen Cove resident said. “I’m so happy they kept them running.”
Weiss’s afternoon train arrived in Glen Cove about 20 minutes later than scheduled, because of track problems at Jamaica station. But, considering the heavy snowfall, “it was not bad,” she said.
“They really did a good job,” she said of LIRR. “They’ve been very helpful.”
-- David Olson
Vallarta Deli in Glen Cove, which serves Salvadoran, Mexican, Italian and other hot food, was busy serving snowplow drivers, said manager Carmen Benítez.
“Today is a big day for them,” she said in Spanish as she stood behind a counter steaming with fried yucca, chicken tamales, fried plantains and Italian sausage and peppers. “They can work all day and make good money.”
Among the few customers in the early afternoon were three Salvadorans who were heading to work at a nearby restaurant.
They all live within a few blocks of the deli and came to drink coffee, eat beef soup and play games on their smartphones.
“It’s boring at home and you have to pass the time,” José Ventura, 24, said in Spanish.
They recalled how their first winters in Glen Cove were an abrupt change from tropical El Salvador.
“You have to adapt yourself, and at first it was hard,” said Edonay Velasques, 28. “Now it doesn’t bother me at all.”
— David Olson
Steve Siegelwaks, 57, the owner of Green Earth Natural Foods Market on Main Street, said despite the weather he had seen several customers as the day went on, with town plow trucks passing by all day.
“It’s about normal today for what a snowstorm is supposed to be around this time of year,” Siegelwaks said. “I don’t worry about it. Tomorrow’s another day.”
Danielle Steffen, 42, of Riverhead, was enjoying a cup of soup. She had walked to the shop, not wanting to drive in the snowy weather. “I just left it right where it was,” she said.
As for what prompted her to come outside, Steffen smiled and said it was the soup Siegelwaks makes. “He does a great job making it,” she said. “And soup is perfect on a day like this.”
Nearby, Freddie Villatoro, 43, was shoveling in front of several office buildings, one of several jobs he had. He said he was trying to finish up soon before he was due to work another job later at night.
“It’s just going from one job to the next today,” he said with a laugh. “It’s going to be a long day.”
— Jean-Paul Salamanca