NYC issues flurry of summonses for icy sidewalks after snowstorm

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By Dan Sears

This past week’s snowstorm has been accompanied by more than 2,000 summonses for failure to clear ice and snow from city sidewalks, the Department of Sanitation said on Thursday.

The enforcement surge, which comes with a $100 fine for a first offense, eclipses the last time it snowed more than 1 inch, back in February 2022. At that time, the sanitation department issued only 668 summonses over a three-day period for failure to remove snow and ice, according to agency spokesperson Joshua Goodman.

“This is a critical safety requirement, and the department will enforce it following all winter weather events,” Goodman wrote in an email to Gothamist.

Landlords and business owners are required by law to clear sidewalks outside their properties, though the sanitation department allows a grace period before beginning enforcement.

Sanitation enforcement agents on Wednesday morning issued the first summonses for failure to remove snow after the storm, Goodman said. The National Weather Service measured 1.7 inches of snow in the city by Tuesday night.

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Current forecasts call for more snow Friday, with around 2 to 3 inches expected to accumulate during the day, according to NWS meteorologist James Tomasini.

Despite the city’s additional enforcement of sidewalk clearing rules, many sidewalks in the East Village were still covered in ice on Thursday afternoon, as was Peretz Square, a small park along Houston Street near First Avenue.

“Quite literally the entire sidewalk is just a sheet of ice, so everyone’s taking little baby steps and walking and waddling around,” said Elena Bater, 21. “It’s really slippery.”

Other New Yorkers near the park said they’d developed techniques for walking on slippery sidewalks, such as stepping between the cracks.

“There’s little holes on the ground and it kind of gives you a bit of grip,” Javon Rosa said. “I’m tall so I could get to each one. I’m taking big steps from hole to hole.”

The sanitation department does not issue summonses to other agencies, including the parks department, which is responsible for clearing green space.

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New Yorkers who want to complain about uncleared sidewalks can call 311.

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