By NICK ABADJIAN, UZO AKUJUO,
RICHARD SCHACK And NICK BUGLIONE
It was the storm that never arrived and despite the forecasts of doom
Queens emerged relatively unscathed from last weeks fizzled blizzard.
Con Edison officials reported some power outages in pockets of
Maspeth and Woodside because of downed line power lines early Tuesday morning when the
weight of ice and snow took its toll on power lines on 49th St. and Grand Ave.,
inconveniencing 59 resident homes and businesses.
The ice also shorted out a transformer on 58th St. and 48th Ave. near
the Brooklyn Queens Expressway in Woodside cutting off power to 359 businesses and homes.
A spokesman for Con Ed told the Tribune all repairs were
completed within a few hours.
The Deptarment of Sanitation had 353 salt speading trucks citywide that
were ready to take on the impending storm.
Over 2,000 Sanitation workers were working on two 12-hour shifts in
salt-spreaders and snow plowers.
Bearing a resemblance to a current TV commercial for
donuts, idle plows await the arrival of the "big one" in Whitestone.
Tribune Photo by Tamara Hartman
"This is great," said Todd
Wanderman of the Hollywood Video Store on 63rd Drive in Rego Park.
Wanderman wasnt referring to the fact
the storm didnt hit yet, but rather the threat of one. "Whenever theres
even a threat of a storm people will rent anything and our business doubles," said
Wanderman gleefully. "After the supermarket, were peoples second
Local supermarkets didnt do too bad,
either. Most stored reported strong sales the weekend leading up to March 5.
"People are stocking up on stuff,
especially bread and milk," said the manager of the Met Supermarket on the corner of
63rd Drive and Saunders St. in Rego Park. "I just hope when the store really hits we
dont lose business."
Sanitiaion policy dictates that snow
plowing trucks to be sent out when there is an accumulation of three inches of snow.
Port Authority (PA) crews worked througout
the night to sand and salt the taxi runways of both JFK and LaGuardia airports.
Over 850 flights were cancelled at La
At JFK airport, more than70 flights were
Storm Forces Schools To Close
Forest Hills High School
students David Morfi and Mike Mascia looked out the window for countless hours Monday,
waiting to witness the effects of the devastating storm they and heard so much about all
weekend. Together, they sat in collective disbelief as they "got to stay home for
"Thanks a lot, Board of Ed.,"
said 16-year-old junior Morfi sarcastically. Discussing his day off, Morfi talked of
sleeping until almost 1 oclock in the afternoon, "Almost six hours after I
would normally get up. I enjoyed my day off instead of having to go to school I did
almost nothing. I got to sit around, watch T.V., and jam with my friend."
John Ciafone is the vice-president of
Northwestern Queens Community School Board 30, and said he got numerous calls from
angry parents. Ciafone himself wasnt too happy about Levys decision, either.
"The policy is to wait until the
morning before school and announce at six in the morning which schools are closed.
Its easy to say after the fact," said Ciafone, "but the chancellor should
not have deviated from this policy."
According to Board of Ed. statistics, only
52.3 percent of Queens elementary and middle school students attended school the on March
This week marked the first time public
schools have been closed since the blizzard of January 1996.
In Big Bucks In Whitestone
To everyone else its a
nuisance, but to the Morelli brothers and their two friends its white gold.
Though accumulations from this weeks
storm fell far short of expectations, that didnt stop these four young Whitestone
entrepreneurs from raking in the bucks with their snow removal service.
"Its been good, business has
picked up," said Marcello Morelli, 16, who heads up the business along with his
brother Alex and pals Danny Spring and James Breck.
If skies were clear the teens would have be
in schoolMartin Luther High for the Morellis, St. Francis Prep for Spring and
Breckbut mother natures flurries afforded the crew a golden opportunity to
make some money clearing neighbors paths of the bothersome snow.
"Every time we go to a house, they
tell us to go do their neighbors," said Morelli. "We just finished clearing out
a parking lot."
They might sound like your run-of-the-mill
snow shovelers looking to make a quick buck on the inclement weather, but theyre
actually more like freelance contractorsincorporating technology and advertising
into their racket.
"Weve been doing this for about
three years, but this is the first year that we started sending out fliers," Morelli
Gone are the days when kids simply grabbed
their shovels and solicited their services door to door. These four have proven that
its a whole new game.
With weekend weather forecasts touting the
coming storm to be the worst in decades, the quartet printed up and distributed over 400
fliers urging area residents and businesses to "call early to make an appointment for
They even have a secretary of sorts. While
the crew was out clearing sidewalks, the Morellis mom was home, forwarding all late
callers to their boys cellular phone.
According to Morelli, adding organization
to the snow removal business has paid great dividends.
While previously mild winters kept profits to a minimum,
the increase in precipitation this season has allowed the group to pull in about $1000 an
outing, Morelli said.
By NICK ABADJIAN
Unlike this weeks snowstorm a potential and temporary
problem that never showed up the major overhaul of what drivers often refer to as
"the worlds biggest parking lot," is one headache Queens may be dealing
with for the next four years.
Two massive construction projects are reaching parts of the Long Island
Expressway (LIE) that havent been touched since their groundbreaking in the
"The construction may be an inconvenience, but is important for
the improvement of the LIE, Borough President Claire Shulman told the Tribune.
According to the New York State Department of Transportation (NYDOT),
the construction points are located where the LIE intersects the Cross Island Parkway and
where the expressway meets the Brooklyn Queens Expressway.
Both projects are set to finish by 2004.
"We asked them ahead of time to put up the proper signage,"
According to DOT officials, roads will be getting new pavement, new
draining and new lighting. Among the repairs and upgrades being made include:
Roads to receive safety features such as closed circuit TV,
variable message boards, and new pavement markers. Some road profiles will be reconfigured
to increase sight distance for drivers.
Six bridges are being reconstructed on the LIE between the Cross
Island Parkway and the Nassau border. One of the bridges include the one that goes over
the Cross Island.
A pedestrian bridge is being added at Cloverdale Blvd, DOT
The main road of the LIE is also scheduled to be repaved between
the LIRR bridge and the Grand Central Parkway.
Three LIE bridges are being replaced at the Brooklyn-Queens
Expressway interchange. The Junction Blvd., Queens Blvd., and Woodhaven Blvd. bridges are
The lighting along routes is either being replaced or upgraded.