New York

Falling Ice, Slippery Snow Piles Menace NYC Pedestrians

Ice is threatening New Yorkers from above and below

What to Know

  • “Caution Ice Falling” signs have been placed around midtown as ice clings to buildings in the wake of the nor'easter
  • One man was seriously injured by falling ice and many more people have been slipping on slick sidewalks and snow mounds
  • Crews have been working to clear snow and ice from Fifth Avenue ahead of the St. Patrick's Day parade; an upcoming warm-up should help

The nor’easter is long gone, but it has left in its wake a mine field of falling ice, slippery snow piles and glacial puddles for New Yorkers to carefully navigate.

In midtown Wednesday, a heavy chunk of ice fell seven stories from a building and struck a man in the head as he was walking down 48th Street. He was rushed to a hospital with serious injuries.

Firefighters roped off the sidewalk so no one else would get hurt, but in classic New York fashion, pedestrian simply ducked under the caution tape and continued on their way. As they scurried across the roped-off sidewalk, a giant piece of ice hung perilously from above. Soon after, the tape was simply ripped away. 

The FDNY returned with a ladder truck and sent a firefighter up to hack at the ice until it came crashing to the ground below.

A pedestrian was hurt by falling ice in midtown Wednesday, fire officials say. Michael George reports

Signs that read “Caution Ice Falling” were scattered across midtown Wednesday. Some of them roped off areas of the sidewalk, while others simply served as a warning for pedestrians to beware of the danger from above.

Meanwhile, slick sidewalks posed a danger from below. Tourists and locals alike were slipping and sliding over snow mounds that had piled up at curbs. Some were spotted crashing to the ground on slippery patches, others, catching themselves mid-fall. 

“A lady just fell and hit her head, which was a bit scary,” one man told NBC 4 New York near St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

It's a problem that also cropped up on uncleared subway platforms Wednesday.

Crews have been working clear the snow and ice from city streets, but the job has been made all the more difficult by frigid winds and high temperatures that have refused to budge from below freezing.

On Fifth Avenue, teams are working overtime to clear the streets and sidewalks for the Saint Patrick's Day parade on Friday.

Crews are working to clear the snow and ice covering streets along 5th Avenue in time for the Saint Patrick’s Day parade. Marc Santia reports.

‎Dennis Diggins, First Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Sanitation, said snow is being taken to a location at West 33rd Street, where it is being piled and melted.

"We use front end loaders, we use skid steers, we use open body dump trucks, and again we're pulling it off the sidewalks, we're pulling it out of the intersections, the feeder streets," Diggins said.

Officials seem confident the snow will be removed in time for the big parade.

Those clearing snow and ice may have the luck of the Irish on their side — it’s supposed to warm up below freezing Thursday and into the 40s by Friday.

People had a difficult day getting around city street and subway platforms. Andrew Siff reports.

New Yorkers Navigate Monster Piles of Midtown Slush, Muck After Nor'easter

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