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Intrepid Long Islanders dig out, drive in to work

Across Long Island Sunday, workers braved the blizzard and its aftermath - more than two feet of snow in some places and treacherous roadways - to get to their jobs.

Huntington Hospital nurse Maureen Ibrahim, who trekked from her South Shore home to work before dawn Sunday, saw her commute more than double from 25 minutes to an hour as her minivan struggled over snow drifts and fishtailed on icy parkways.

"Most of the highways, you were lucky there was a single lane. You had to follow the tire tracks," said Ibrahim, who worked a 12-hour shift as the emergency room's nursing supervisor.

The worst moment of her drive came just as she reached the hospital, when her tires lost traction and skated backward - downhill - near the entrance to the emergency room. "I'm terrified of driving in the snow," she said.

She managed to get to work unscathed, though, faring better than the patients who came in with ankle and knee pains after taking a fall, or finger injuries suffered while working with snowblowers.

For Denise Voegel, 39, who lives and works in Mattituck, what is normally a breezy drive down Main Road to Four Doors Down restaurant became a two-and-a-half hour saga. First, Voegel had to dig a path out of her driveway, about 25 feet long.

"Unfortunately, I didn't park at the end of it; I pulled all the way in. Plus, when the plows come down the street, they pile it on you," said Voegel, a bartender. "Luckily a friend came by and helped dig me out."

It didn't end there. As she backed out, her four-wheel-drive Jeep became stuck in the snow.

"Then, someone came to help me, and they got stuck in the driveway," she said.

Voegel's shift started at noon. She was 45 minutes late, but at least she made it. She offered to cover for a waitress who couldn't, as well as tend to bar patrons, many of whom warmed up by the restaurant's fireplace after plowing snow. "The guys take their gear off and sit down for a little bit," she said. "There's not too many places open out here."

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