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NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio: City ‘back to normal’ by Friday

At a news conference on Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke about the snowstorm and urged residents to stay off the roads, let the plows do their jobs and stay safe. Credit: AMNY / Lauren Cook

The city that never sleeps promises to be fully awake for Friday’s morning rush hour after Thursday’s snowstorm that paralyzed travel and closed the public schools.

Snowplowing crews planned to finish clearing the city’s 6,000 miles of streets overnight into Friday. The city’s 1.1 million public schoolchildren are expected to return to school Friday after Mayor Bill de Blasio declared Thursday a rare snow day. And runways at the region’s airports were reopened, albeit with flight delays.

“We feel that the city will be largely back to normal, and we’ll be able to have school open and a pretty normal rush hour,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a news conference about the storm, adding his own forecast for Friday: “I would say to my fellow parents: plan on school being opened.”

The storm packed a “very fast and very concentrated” snowfall of as much as 14 inches in the city, de Blasio said. Central Park had seen 9 inches of snow by 1 p.m., according to a report sent to the National Weather Service by the Central Park Conservancy.

Trained spotters reported 12 inches of snow in Queens Village and 8.5 inches in Brooklyn’s Clinton Hill around 3 p.m., according to the weather service.

Hours into the morning snowfall Thursday, a Manhattan doorman died in what authorities said was the only storm-related fatality.

Miguel Angel Gonzalez, 59, was shoveling snow in front of the building where he worked as a doorman, 333 E. 93rd St., when he slipped and fell through the building’s plate glass window at 9:30 a.m., the NYPD said.

“He’s shoveling the snow. He slips and falls through the glass window. He then expired,” said the NYPD’s chief of patrol, Terence Monahan.

Gonzalez, of Bridgeport, Connecticut, sustained cuts to his head and neck and was taken to the Metropolitan Hospital Center nearby on First Avenue, where he was pronounced dead about an hour later, the NYPD said.

“A very, very sad situation,” de Blasio said of the death.

The New York City Transit system, which experienced no major delays during the storm, is expected to be fully operational Friday, spokesman Christopher McKniff said.

Throughout the snowstorm, de Blasio and his team had urged New Yorkers not to drive, avoid the outdoors, stay out of the parks and keep children inside.

Asked by a New York Times reporter whether such instructions made New York a “city of wimps,” de Blasio said no.

“It is not a moral judgment. It’s not that we’ve changed who we are,” he said. “This is one of the toughest, most resilient cities on earth, and we’ve proven it a thousand times over.”

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