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Travel was slowly returning to normal in New York City and Long Island on Sunday, as most mass transit systems resumed partial operations and public roads reopened in the wake of Saturday’s historic blizzard.
Residents could again use buses, bridges, tunnels, above ground subways and soon would be able to hop on Metro North trains, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said at a news conference Sunday morning. All had been shut down less than 24 hours earlier, when roadways also were closed under a citywide travel ban that extended from 2:30 p.m. Saturday to 7 a.m. Sunday.
New York City's airports were also reopened, although hundreds of flights going in and out of the region already had been canceled.
While Broadway even turned its lights back on after cancelling Saturday shows, the Long Island Railroad remained non-operational because stations and tracks were buried.
"Monday morning from Long Island without the Long Island Railroad operating is not a pretty picture," Cuomo noted. He said crews had been working nonstop to get the railroad running, and an update would be provided on the status of the tracks at 6 p.m. Sunday.
With the exception of the Long Island Railroad, Cuomo said all storm-related problems had been mostly avoided, which he attributed to the travel ban.
"I know the ban served its purpose," Cuomo said. "I know New Yorkers were inconvenienced, but in true New Yorker spirit, they rose to the occasion."
"Whether it was our thousands of state and local workers shoveling snow or the individuals who checked on their neighbors and offered a helping hand, this was a great example of how New Yorkers come together in times of need,” Cuomo said in a statement,
While the travel ban was lifted, Cuomo urged people to remain off the roads if they didn't need to be out. Five people died in New York while shoveling snow, but no one was killed in traffic accidents during the storm, and Cuomo said he'd like to keep it that way.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio also told people to stay off the roads if possible so that crews could finish plowing. He said the sanitation department had done an efficient job plowing main and secondary roads, but some side-streets still needed work.
Alternate side of the street parking was suspended for the entire week to keep people from having to shovel out their cars and dump snow in the streets, but New York City schools would be open on Monday, de Blasio said.
The storm brought New York City's second highest snowfall since record-keeping began in 1869, with 26.8 inches. The city missed matching the all-time high record set in February 2006 by just a tenth of an inch.