A pre-winter snowstorm caught commuters off-guard in the tri-state area Thursday evening, bringing icy roadways to a standstill and paralyzing mass transit.
Car accidents and bridge closures during rush hour snarled traffic coming in and out of New York City, where more than half a foot of heavy wet snow accumulated in Central Park.
Meanwhile, the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan was jam-packed with enraged commuters who waited hours for buses that couldn’t get there. Officials urged commuters to take trains or ferries instead, as a line of people outside trying to get into the terminal stretched down the block.
There were also delays for subway and train services.
But that didn’t stop some from trying to make light of the situation.
“Last night was a lot of fun!!!” one commuter sarcastically wrote on Instagram Friday morning, with images of the overcrowded Port Authority Bus Terminal from the night before.
Others blamed officials for the transportation nightmare and lack of preparation.
“But you should totally build a Helipad for Jeff Bezos and Co.,” another commuter quipped on Twitter with a photo of the congested terminal, tagging New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The tweet was in reference to news that the mayor’s office will help Amazon get access to a helipad on or near the company’s new headquarters in Long Island City.
Elsewhere, twin toddlers bundled up for the early winter weather were seen driving through snow-covered sidewalks in a miniature replica of a New York City Police Department patrol car, which their father had custom converted from a toy Range Rover.
“Please drive carefully and get home safe. Stay indoors if you can, we got this covered, literally,” the father wrote on Twitter with a video showing one of his cop-obsessed twins in the car.
It was the city’s mysterious Mandarin duck who appeared to be enjoying himself the most during the season’s first snowstorm. The spectacularly colorful male duck was spotted Thursday happily swimming through the snowfall in Central Park’s pond where he has recently made himself home, though the species is native to East Asia.
Speaking to NY1 on Friday morning, de Blasio acknowledged that the storm had crippled the city’s transportation system but blamed it on “bad luck.”
“I am upset the way everyone else is upset. I was out in the middle of traffic stuck with everyone else and it was a horrible experience,” the mayor told the local news channel. “This was a bad, bad situation. There were definitely some things we need to learn from this and some things we need to do better. But it’s important to note we got just about every form of bad luck we could have gotten yesterday.”
De Blasio said he would have advised drivers to stay off the roads if the city knew there would be accumulating snow. He urged New Yorkers to avoid driving on Friday and to leave work early, if possible.
“The problem was, Wednesday night, the word was a couple inches of snow, nothing exceptional,” he added. “When it finally became clear we were going to get very fast, heavy, intense snow, rush hour was already beginning.”