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Now The Hard Work Begins

Local pols team up to ensure northeast Queens residents don't get left out in the cold when it comes to snow removal from city streets

Adding up, flake by flake, the scene of snow-covered city streets is a serene and unmistakenly beautiful sight.

But appearances can be deceptive.

Like the storms of decades past, Sunday's near-record drop of as much as 20 inches of snow on thousands of city thoroughfares presents as much of a political minefield today as it did 30 years ago during the administration of former city Mayor John Lindsey.

With those political ambition-ending pitfalls perhaps in mind, two northeast Queens politicians from opposite sides of the ideological spectrum teamed up in the storm's aftermath to ensure borough residents got their fair share of the city's snow removal efforts.

In a Facebook post Monday, Councilman Dan Halloran, R-Whitestone, announced an alliance with Bayside Democratic Assemblyman-elect Ed Braunstein to prioritize cleanup in what many consider an oft-overlooked borough when it comes to snow removal.

"The outer boroughs are always the second string," Halloran said. "The priority has always been to clear Manhattan first."

According to Halloran, Braunstein first approached him for help in regards to 80 Bayside households that lost power at approximately 1 a.m. Monday morning at the height of the snowstorm.

Working together, Halloran said the two elected officials were able to assist the families with securing shelter at neighboring facilities such as Bayside Jewish Center.

However, as of Monday evening, Con Ed crews looking to restore power still could not access an area stretching from 24th Avenue to 26th Avenue east of Bell Boulevard due to lagging snow removal efforts, Halloran said.

"The city needs to prioritize matters of public safety, including the clearing of major thoroughfares for emergency personnel," he said.

Overall, the council member gave the city's initial snow removal work a C-plus, while still praising the efforts of local cleanup crews he said were stretched thin by citywide snow removal efforts.

In the end however, the ultimate judge of the city's snow removal plan was likely to be commuters like John Stevens of Forest Hills, digging out from almost two feet of snow on an unplowed street, looking to get back to work as soon as possible. 

"I have to be at work early tomorrow to make up for today," he said, hopefully.

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