I haven’t seen official snowfall totals yet, but judging from a glance out the window, it looks as if New York City might have gotten about 6 inches Monday night.
Meanwhile, the entire city is shut down.
Schools, government, public transportation, private transportation, and — by virtue of the lack of transportation — most offices and businesses.
It’s just absurd.
I’ve lived in New York for almost my whole life — 48 years and counting. I have seen the city weather many actually large snowstorms, including a 26-incher just a few years go. The city stayed open through all of them. The garbage-trucks-turned-snow-plows drove until the streets were clear enough for adventurous buses, trucks, and cars. The subways and buses ran. Airports remained mostly open. Homeowners shoveled their walks. Pedestrians navigated big snow piles and slush lakes. Car owners waited until they just couldn’t wait any longer and then chipped their cars out of the massive ice-walls that had built up around them.
In short, the city slowed down for a little while. And, maybe, in extreme circumstances, schools shut down for a day or two. But the whole city never closed.
And this wasn’t because massive snowstorms weren’t forecast, by the way.
I can remember as a kid many times hearing excitement build at school about an impending blizzard that might blast the city and give us all an unplanned vacation day (and, at the same time, force parents with jobs and plans to scramble to figure out what to do with us). I can remember staying up late into the night, peering out my window into the snow, hoping enough would pile up that, early the next morning, just before I had to leave for school, the call would finally come.
But it rarely did.
Because snowstorms are hard to forecast. And reports of huge dumps are often wrong.
But by early evening Monday, with this storm already later and smaller than expected, this entire city had already been shut down.
I understand that one job of politicians is to “protect the people.” I understand that they want to appear responsive and proactive, lest they later be accused of slacking on the job.
But there’s a difference between serving the public by providing basic emergency services in a timely and responsive manner and becoming a nanny state.
And at least today, New York has become a nanny state.
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