Brooklyn Heights Blizzard Etiquette 101 or Winter Wonderland, Please!

We received this suggestion for an Open Thread topic  from a BHB reader who wishes to remain anonymous.  It’s about being kind to your neighbors, being courteous and maybe SHOVELING YOUR SIDEWALK after a blizzard. Here’s the full email:

I’m writing to suggest a special edition of Open Thread Wednesday titled something like: “Open Thread Wednesday – Blizzard Etiquette 101″. The purpose would be to have a place to vent about, and make suggestions to eliminate, all the relatively minor, but very aggravating, inconveniences of the storm which are caused, not by big city agencies, but by our very own neighbors.

I was out and about in the Heights quite a bit today, and have a long list of vents, but for the most part they are not NYC level problems; they are neighborhood problems which should, IMO, be solved by the nabe, and could easily be solved with a little respect, courtesy and diligence. Here are some examples:

* businesses that don’t clear sidewalks, and I want to name names, such as CVS on Henry St. which never clears the Love Lane sidewalk, and Ann Taylor on Montague which was a mess today, as were some others on the north side of Montague;

* residential buildings that don’t clear sidewalks, and I want to give street names and numbers, (and print out the BHB blog post and leave it under their door);

* residential buildings on corners that don’t keep a path to the street clear, (so, when you get to the corner you have to climb a mountain or slog through a foot of slush to get to the street):

* pedestrians who do not in any way accommodate those approaching from the opposite direction on an 18″ wide shoveled path, by, for example, stopping at the beginning of the narrow path to let another pass through, or at least attempting to do “the squeeze”, so two individuals can use the narrow path at the same time;

* pedestrian lack of empathy for, and assistance to, the obviously infirm, examples from today including: showing great impatience with our slower-moving, cane/walker assisted neighbors, not yielding the right-of-way on narrow paths when a less agile pedestrian is approaching, not offering assistance on snow hills and slushy corners, etc.

* parents who allow children to play/sit on their snow coasters, sleds, etc. on these narrow walkways, oblivious to the fact that pedestrian traffic is backing up because the little ones are blocking the path for all, (and especially, those parents who become insulting and hostile when a blocked pedestrian says “excuse me” and asks the child to move out of the way).

I think this would be a worthwhile topic for the blog, because I truly believe that many offenders are not necessarily inconsiderate, but perhaps just unaware, so raising awareness might do a little good in improving conditions for all in the Heights.

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  • T.K. Small

    @Annoyed: I would agree with you if the city was universally receiving bad service. But there is the unmistakable perception that the outer boroughs (I hate that term) are getting the short end of the stick. We all pay taxes and resources should be distributed equitably. Why does it appear that he is getting better service?

    Monday evening well, after the blizzard ended, one of my personal care assistants was stuck on Flatbush Avenue for the better part of four hours and ended up being more than two hours late. Everything worked out fine, because I had planned ahead for this problem. Is it too much to ask government to do the same?

    @Amy: I think it would be the department parks. However, I think that there equipment has been diverted (probably to Manhattan) for snow removal on the streets. The wheelchair and stroller community need to form a unified voting block. Rolling people of the world unite!

  • Annoyed

    The “unmistakable perception” that Brooklyn received less service during the storm is false. That is why it is a perception and not reality. I know plenty of people in other boroughs- including Manhattan – that didn’t get their streets plowed.

  • Tb

    I agree with Really.

  • PJL

    Tell it to the families of the 2 people (that we know of so far) who died because an ambulance couldn’t get to them… not to mention all the people who couldn’t afford to miss 2-3 days of work….

  • T.K. Small

    I live on Pierrepont Street and just returned from trying to get to Montague Street. No can do. I got stuck in a partially cleared curb cut on the corner of Pierrepont & Henry. Thankfully someone gave me a hand and I simply went home.

  • T.K. Small

    After I got home, I did not like the feeling of defeat so I turned around and went back out. This time, when I got to the corner of Henry & Pierrepont I crossed in a different direction, towards Clinton, rolling along past the Appellate Division Court, Unitarian Church and Saint Ann’s. Unfortunately, that is as far as I could get. Of the three landmarks mentioned, Saint Ann’s did the best shoveling by far and I was surprised that the Appellate Division has such a crooked and narrow pathway.

    Now I think I know how Henry Hudson felt in trying to find the NW. Passage Way!

  • nabeguy

    T.K. I’m going to give you a pass on this particular rant.
    How many of you helped push stranded cars out of the roads at, shoveled the sidewalks of neighbors who are too old or infirm to do it, directed drivers away from impassable streets, offered coffee to weary plow-drivers, dug out their cars without burying others, cleared snow away from hydrants? We can all be Monday morning quarter-backs…as for me, I chose to throw my back into trying to help out my neighbors in any we I could. As for post-snow etiquette, I agree with some of the arguments, especially when it comes to snow-removal by commercial properties. Having owned a commercial building, iI know it’s pretty standard practice to write a sidewalk maintenance clause into the lease, but enforcing it is a wholly different matter.

  • T.K. Small

    Thank you ngbeguy for the pass. Maybe I’m going a little stir crazy. Also, thank you for your proactive, can do response. Long Island is getting the better end of the deal with your imminent departure.

    To get off the topic of talking about this blizzard, we could have a conversation about gravel in Brooklyn Bridge Park. Any takers?

  • nabeguy

    Oh, T.K., that’s a soft-ball.
    Anyone know how they’re shoveling the snow off of that gravel?

  • T.K. Small

    Actually, the Brooklyn Bridge Park Facebook page posted some photos, mentioning that the were plowed. The pictures are quite professional, but it strikes me as somewhat insensitive in light of what the rest of Brooklyn has been experiencing.

  • Monty

    Let’s take a moment to look on the lighter side. Watch Brian Williams talk about Brooklyn in this segment about stories of the year.

  • Just A Neighbor

    That was GREAT Monty..thanks for sharing.

  • Home Owner on Garden

    Question for Amy who complained about people not shoveling a path wide enough to get a stroller through: Do you shovel your side walk yourself? Why not let the kid in the stroller walk for a change?

  • The Where

    Wow Home Owner that’s one of the dumbest comments I’ve ever read on the entire internet.

  • nabeguy

    Great link Monty.I love it when Brian Williams goes all SNL.

    Home owner, I have a better idea…give the toddlers shovels and let them clear their own path….call it an exercise in character building.

  • Andrew Porter

    I wonder if there’s a market for ski attachments that go over the wheels of a stroller, so you can navigate the narrow pathways through the snow with ease?

  • william

    Baby stroller drivers don’t have a problem with ‘plowing through’ the sidewalk obstructions when there isn’t any snow.

    So, I like the idea of outfitting the strollers with a plow, and letting them clear the sidewalks of snow. Good idea.

  • Eddy de Lectron

    Sacagawea didn’t have a goddamm stroller…

  • Jen Conway

    After being out on Tuesday and seeing the sad state of snow removal, I was careful walking. However later that day, I slipped on the street at Pierrepont (not plowed) and Clinton (plowed) I blew out my knee, had to call an ambulance to take me to the ER, and now have surgery and a lengthy recovery to look forward to. I’m wondering if this couldn’t have been avoided if the city had done its job but I am going to investigate if I have a case against the city.

  • north heights res

    Sorry to hear about your injury, Jen, but really? Suing the city because 48 hours after the end of a blizzard when 20+ inches of snow fell, the streets weren’t pristine enough for you to walk without slipping?

    There are a million places I’d like to see my tax dollars go before they go to fund your early retirement.

  • Eddy de Lectron

    Really Jen, sorry you got hurt but it’s not right to sue the city for something like that. If you are going to venture out when there is snow and ice, it’s your responsibility to wear the proper gear and watch your step.

  • N

    Why have people stopped picking up after their dogs when it snows? And please curb your dog and not leave yellow piss marks everywhere!!!!

  • WBPierrepont

    I completely agree in regards to people picking up after their dogs (as far as dog pee, hey, don’t eat yellow snow. whatever).
    But really, there are some heights residents who are completely forgetting their responsibilities as dog owners just because there is snow on the ground. Dog poop does not melt with the snow.

    One day last week, I confronted a woman, while walking my own dog, who had not picked up after her dog. She told me she never does and she has never gotten a ticket. After she decided to give me attitude, I politely blamed her for all of the gross, smeared dog poop in the snow around Brooklyn Heights. I also told her she does not deserve to own such a loving animal. Needless to say, she took the plastic bag I offered her/threw at her feet.