Winter Storm Reshapes New York City: RIOC Responds and We Decipher

Updated 4 weeks ago David Stone
As the storm moved in, fresh snow swirled around The Octagon and Coler Specialty Hospital.
As the storm moved in, fresh snow swirled around The Octagon and Coler Specialty Hospital.
© David Stone/Roosevelt Island Daily

The promised major winter storm, the first to land in two years, brought the city to a standstill overnight. The snow ends early, but it'll be windy and cold. Let's unpack the details and specifically changes for Roosevelt Island.

About the Storm

Strong winds follow the snow, this morning. Wind chills in the teens. Temperatures stay below freezing, and even after plows go through and fresh snow ends, drifting keeps dangers high. Some sun may glisten late.

Because temps stayed lower than expected, we missed the heavier, wet snow that brings down branches.

Needless to say, travel's not advised for today, and check with the MTA before using the subways or buses.

Speculations range up to around 10 inches of snowfall by storm's end, but it could be less... or more. For Roosevelt Island, at this hour, it looks like more.

Like the city and major airlines, RIOC's mobilizing in preparedness. Their announcement lacks clarity, nothing new there, and we'll try unpacking it for you.

RIOC Reacts

RIOC released a statement on Monday and posted it on Facebook. Poorly written, it requires some interpretation from RIOC-speak to something that makes sense to ordinary humans. 

  • RIOC suspended all parking on Main St. "between Tram Plaza Rd. and 750 Main St.," starting at 2:00 p.m. Tuesday, December 15th. (Interpretation: 750 Main Street is the FDNY Water Rescue Station, across from Jack McManus Field. We are not aware of any "Tram Plaza Rd., but we assume they mean the North Loop Road between the plaza and 405 Main Street.)
  • "Alternate parking will be available in the east parking lot at Coler Hospital (east promenade). In addition, meter fees will be suspended at all Cornell Tech campus parking." (Interpretation: You can park in the mostly empty lots behind Coler, but not, as suggested, on the East Promenade. There is no such thing as "Cornell Tech campus parking," let alone meters, but it's safe to assume they mean Main Street parking where it circles the campus.)
  • "Parking under the Helix will be made available to vehicles who carry a disabled placard/plate, while space allows." (Interpretation: We think they mean the area where the Farmers Market previously set up under the Roosevelt Island Bridge Helix, but that area is only accessible by driving on the East Promenade, which is illegal. We don't expect RIOC to be any clearer; so, be wary.)
  • "Kindly note that only customers who pay for monthly parking will be permitted to park at Motorgate Garage." (Interpretation: Kindly note that that there may be some mechanism for controlling the entry gate, but who knows? It could be an honor system.)
  • "The Tram and Red Buses are expected to run on a regular schedule, however please anticipate delays in service due to impacts from the storm." (Interpretation: Don't expect timely updates from RIOC as conditions change, but be ready to take your chances.)
  • "An update will be provided when parking restrictions are lifted." (Don't count on it. These promises are not always fulfilled. We're still waiting for an update from last summer's tropical storm.)

Needless to say, with indoor seating for restaurants and bars now prohibited, only takeout and pick up service are possible, and both may be hampered by storm conditions. Best to stock up early today, but nothing crazy for a one or two day event.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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