Now that the blizzard's over, beware falling ice (and other snow safety hazards)

By Virginia K. Smith  | January 25, 2016 - 2:15PM

Now that Jonas has officially made the transition from a weekend winter wonderland to an icy Monday morning obstacle, all those inches of leftover snow have become a city-wide safety hazard. (Fun news, we know.)

According to NYC regulations, building owners should already have shoveled their sidewalks by now—it needs to be taken care of by 11 am the day after snowfall. If any negligent (or absentee) building owners in your neighborhood have left the sidewalks covered in snow, don't be shy about reporting them to 311, or shaming them on social media, as Park Slope residents have been doing post-Jonas.

But what about that other source of snow-related danger,  when icicles or sheets of snow start plunging off of rooftops and onto the streets? Every year we hear terrifying stories about this, and even high-profile (and presumably well maintained) buildings like One World Trade and the Ansonia have been known to send shards of ice plummeting towards pedestrians.

There doesn't seem to be much buildings can do here, though Thomas Usztoke of Douglas Elliman Property Management recommends that buildings create storm drainage on terraces and balconies, and remove snow and icicles from the building's exterior as quickly as possible. "If you can't get at them from above, set up warning barricades below at ground level to ward off unsuspecting pedestrians," he says.  (We've reached out to the Department of Buildings for their safety tips and policy on this, and will update if we hear back.)

In the meantime, watch where you walk and if the ground seems to be strewn with chunks of ice where you are, you might want to move closer to the outer edge of the sidewalk.

It's all an unfortunate comedown from the scenic snow flurries of yore, but look on the bright side: At least alternate side parking is suspended.


Prep your building now for tomorrow's snow day

A few snow day tips for vertical dwellers

The New York apartment dweller's ultimate blizzard survival guide

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