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After storm, New York City strives to get back to normal

Anatoly Hazan begins to dig out his car

Anatoly Hazan begins to dig out his car on 80th Street in Jackson Heights, Queens, while his giant schnauzer, Roxy plays in the snow, on Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016. A massive storm dumped more than 2 feet of snow in New York City. Credit: Steven Sunshine

New York City labored to return to normal by Monday, digging out from under 26.8 inches of weekend snowfall as Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that public schools will open and city trucks will continue to clear streets.

Alternate-side parking rules will be suspended for another week — through Monday, Feb. 1 — so plows can more easily access roads — especially those in Queens that were still thick with snow Sunday afternoon, de Blasio said.

The mayor warned that parking this week would be a challenge for commuters, including teachers heading to work. He urged the use of mass transit. Service on most subway lines had been restored by early Sunday.

“Our entire focus is on the Monday morning rush hour,” de Blasio said at a weather briefing in Brooklyn. “Let’s remember everything will be slower than usual.”

The city had been “blessed” by the snowstorm’s weekend timing, the mayor said.

The storm’s snowfall total was the second-greatest in city history, missing the record by a tenth of an inch, according to the National Weather Service’s measurement in Central Park, meteorologist Faye Barthold said.

State officials said three men over age 67 died in the city in shoveling-related incidents in Queens and Staten Island.

A 16 1⁄2 -hour roadway travel ban was lifted Sunday morning, and police had issued 25 summonses for noncompliance, NYPD Chief of Department James O’Neill said.

Police and city workers moved 131 homeless people indoors, including one who was involuntarily transported, de Blasio said.

The mayor acknowledged that snow in Queens had not been removed as promptly as he would have liked. He sent 850 plows to the borough Sunday and toured some neighborhoods, seeing for himself the underplowed streets of Corona.

His administration put out a call for more laborers to clear snow and ice, offering $13.50 per hour and $20.25 in overtime pay, and asking that they apply at Department of Sanitation depots.

In Woodside, the blacktop could be seen on major thoroughfares such as Roosevelt Avenue, where vehicles sped along as usual, but side streets such as 53rd and 54th streets were blanketed with white Sunday. Residents helped their neighbors carry groceries and smiled at children playing in snow piles.

“Getting mad isn’t going to make it go away,” said Dylan Servin, 40, a construction worker.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, at a Manhattan briefing, hailed the “beautiful spirit of community” on display in the region.

“I can’t tell you how many circumstances I came across where people were out shoveling other people’s driveways and walkways,” he said. “People were out pushing cars. People were helping people cross the street.”

Rivals de Blasio and Cuomo, who clashed last winter over a snowstorm, held separate news conferences throughout the weekend, but boasted about being in constant touch with each other about this storm.

The governor thanked de Blasio, among others, and the mayor told NY1 that they had come up with the travel ban independently before comparing notes and getting on “the same page.”

De Blasio came under criticism after a storm two years ago when some on the Upper East Side complained their streets weren’t plowed quickly enough, but he received high marks from New Yorkers on this storm response.

“He showed he was really in touch and beautifully prepared,” said Andie Davis, 46, a writer from Hell’s Kitchen.

With Sheila Feeney

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