Blizzard unites Bell

“Bell [Boulevard] never looked lovelier,” said Gregg Sullivan, executive director of the Bayside Business Improvement District (BID) about the blizzard that pounded all five boroughs on Sunday night and Monday morning. “Our Christmas lights look great in the snow.”

The Bayside community was out in full force during the storm that left large snow drifts and some areas that seem unaffected due to gusting winds. According to Sullivan, it was a sense of community that brought people out of their homes.

“Events like this blizzard brings everybody out. Our stores and bars were open late and people were out having fun,” said Sullivan.

“I’ve been shoveling away all morning,” said Chris McManus, owner of C.J. Sullivan’s American Grill in Bayside. “I was astonished by how much snow fell overnight. Overall, I’m very happy with the business we did [during the blizzard].”

Sullivan says that most of the stores on Bell Boulevard are opened for business while work continued overnight at the Bayside LIRR in an effort to clear the tracks. According to a statement by the MTA, “Weather-related switch problems in various locations and snowdrifts in excess of 10-13 inches have resulted in the LIRR suspending service until the switches and tracks can be cleared to ensure customer safety. This suspension will continue until safe and reliable service can be restored.”

Some offices and schools may be closed due to the weather, Sullivan maintains that Bayside is up and running.

“We’ve had plows come through Bell Boulevard three or four times already . . . things are great in Bayside,” said Sullivan.

While main roadways have been received much attention in the blizzard’s aftermath, some residents on side streets have been frustrated by lack of plowing. Dice Garcia, a Whitestone graphic designer and art director, called 311 to file a complaint about her Beechhurst block that has yet to be plowed but high call volume has impeded the process.

“We didn’t once see a plow come through our street,” said Garcia, who called her sister in Florida to find out about snow accumulations in her area. “We still don’t have internet or cable. It’s been a very quiet, boring day.”

According to Garcia, her Whitestone community at 160 Street and 11th Avenue has a history of being overlooked by street-clearing vehicles.

“We are usually the last to get plowed in Whitestone. We are usually very disappointed. I’m hoping someone will clean up something or I’ll be stuck [at home] tomorrow, too,” said Garcia.

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