New York defends storm shutdown

NEW YORK: New York authorities on Tuesday vigorously defended a decision to shut down America’s biggest city for a storm that skirted the Big Apple, dumping the worst snow on Long Island and New England.

Travel bans were lifted, public transport resumed and parks reopened in the city of eight million people, easing many of the measures put in place as Winter Storm Juno moved in on Monday.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city got only a fraction of the two feet (60 centimeters) of snow that had been widely predicted in the 48 hours leading up to the storm.

Nevertheless UN headquarters, schools, museums and numerous shops and restaurants remained closed Tuesday.

The National Weather Service warned that life threatening conditions persisted along the coast from Long Island into Connecticut and Massachusetts, where more than two feet of snow blanketed some areas.

“You plan the best you can and you lean toward safety,” New York state Governor Andrew Cuomo told a news conference under a barrage of questioning.

He conceded there were likely to be “some” loss of business, but said he had no estimates.

“It may actually have brought us back to full operating capacity sooner but I do not criticize weather forecasters. I learn,” Cuomo said.

The clean up is expected to continue until Wednesday, when schools will reopen, and city and state employees will return to work.

Broadway theaters announced that most shows would go ahead Tuesday as
planned, after the Great White Way went dark Monday.