NEW YORK (AP) — New Yorkers' thoughts turned to the tropics Thursday as the city and much of the state was pummeled with yet another snowstorm.
As Robert Johnson of suburban Pelham waited on a slippery platform for the 8:32 a.m. train to Grand Central, he said, "I heard a guy mention Puerto Rico — blue water, pina coladas. It sounded good to me."
And a fellow commuter, Carlos Heredia of New Rochelle, was thinking of his native El Salvador.
"I was there at Christmas," he said. "It's tropical, you know. I miss it."
But first they had to confront the reality of a daylong storm predicted to bring snow, then ice, then more snow to a region already heavily blanketed in white.
The National Weather Service warned of "near-blizzard conditions" and Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency for the area including New York City, Long Island and the Hudson Valley. He urged residents to "stay off the roads and remain in their homes."
Hundreds of flights were canceled to and from the region. Subways were on a normal schedule, but buses and some commuter rail lines operated at less than full service.
Almost all schools closed, but New York City was an exception, and the teachers' union blasted the decision to hold classes.
"Having students, parents and staff traveling in these conditions was unwarranted," said Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers.
Fitzgerald reported from Westchester County, NY. Associated Press writer Karen Matthews in New York City contributed to this report.