Service of When Man Worsens the Impact of Nature & the Happy Ending

March 23rd, 2017

Categories: Good Samaritan, Gratitude, Help, Hero, Sloppy

Snow March 2017 at RR station 1 turned

It’s bad enough when you’re not on the spot to eradicate damage left by a hefty snowfall while the precipitation is fresh and easier to remove. That can’t be helped when you park your car at an outdoor lot by a railroad station and you’re not planning to return for a few days or more. Best you can do is hope for a few warm, sunny days to melt the damage if you’re lucky.

When the people hired to clear the snow make it harder for customers to extricate their cars from igloo-like conditions they cause by their lazy snow removal strategy, it’s enraging. None of the other lots on the two hour trip north looked anything like ours—see photos above and right–and we’re told that the last lot on the line a few miles farther north—Wassaic, N.Y.–wasn’t nearly as much of a mess.

There is plenty of space in this lot to dedicate an out-of-the-way areaSnow March 2017 at RR station 2 turned for a giant mound of snow which is standard practice in the northeast. The plows at the Dover Plains station clear the roadway by piling snow against the cars as they go past which makes it much easier and quicker for them and much worse for us.

We’d asked one company what they would charge to get us out and were told, “We’ll let you know when we’re done.” Translation: “Open your checkbook and we’ll see how much we’ll charge you.”

Snow Angels

Our friends Bob and John exit the train in Wassaic. Last Friday they took the early train upstate, extricated their car and drove down to free ours. This was a huge gift. Even if we had the tools, we don’t have the strength for this chore.

To make things worse, I’d jumped the gun in anticipation of spring and committed the mortal error of parking nose first. Not only did they remove the snow-turned to ice that was as high as the trunk and halfwayup the doors, [photo below, left] they had to clear the front, the sides, and where the wheels were to go and then they turned around the car so it was facing out. When a few hours later we walked out of the train and into the car we left the station in minutes singing their praises.

We have no control over nature but we can manage how we deal with it. Have you seen sloppy or spectacular cleanup jobs after storms? Can you share examples of friends who donate not only their muscle and know-how but their precious little free time to help others in a pinch?

The Before: Our car is in the middle

The Before: Our car is in the middle

After: Our car ready to roll.

After: Our car ready to roll.

Tags: ,

11 Responses to “Service of When Man Worsens the Impact of Nature & the Happy Ending”

  1. EAM Said:

    During Hurricane Irene in 2011, my parents had no heat, electricity and no water (because it’s well water). The neighbors did rally to help my parents and gave us a referral for an electrician and to help us work out a strategy to get my parents back in operation again. My neighbor was also in New Orleans during this recent storm and I took the snow off her car.

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I love reading about this kind of support. Warms my heart.

    And your neighbor is a very lucky person as in the cold and wind the job you did couldn’t have been easy yet snow frozen in place on and around a car is a terrible thing to face on returning home tired from a trip. Your neighbor won’t soon forget what you did!

  3. Kathleen Said:

    During the same Hurricane Irene that EAM mentioned, our power at our summer cottage was out for days and we were home in Westchester. Our good friends who have the key went in and emptied the freezer so we wouldn’t face smelly, thawed food when we returned. A very much appreciated gesture!

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:


    We are all so blessed to have such friends and neighbors.

    After one summer storm upstate that left us without electricity for days we had to toss so much food from both freezer and refrigerator I was almost in tears as I delivered 30 gallon size plastic bags full to the dump. The man on duty that day felt so sorry for us that he charged for half a bag of garbage instead of for all the bags we brought. Next time I think I may keep the ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, mustard and other condiments as they don’t contain anything that would spoil in heat I don’t think.

  5. hb Said:

    Two unrelated thoughts come to mind.

    Who is responsible for snow removal at Dover Plains station, the town, or Metro North or its subcontractor, LAZ? Dover Plains must be by far the most down-at-the-heels town on the line. It is the capitalist/American way that the rich get the best and the poor, the worst public service. If you want proper plowing, park in the station parking lot of a more affluent town.

    Mussolini was famous for getting the trains to run on time. Metro North is a mess. You want to fix it, get yourself a dictator. I know just the man for you, and I’ll bet that the majority of the good people of Dover Plains voted for him for President in our last election. He’d get all that snow cleaned up in no time and tell the Mexicans to pay for the job.

  6. David Reich Said:

    In tough times, people — often strangers — seem to come through. Nice to hear good stories in these crazy times.

  7. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I get the feeling that under a dictator there will be only a few cars parked at the Dover Plains station. Only the 1 percent will be able to afford them. Plowing will be a cinch. And maybe with global warming going unchecked, there will be little snow in future.

  8. Judy Schuster Said:

    Move to Minnesota. Around here, people know how to deal with snow ..even giant snowfalls. However, I concur with others that good friends are often superior to bad city employees.

  9. Jeanne Byington Said:


    In upstate NY for the most part they do a good job. That’s why I called out the Dover Plains RR station parking lot. It is the exception. As hb pointed out, I, too, don’t know who clears the snow –a private company paid for by the railroad, the parking lot company or the town’s sanitation crew.

    NYC is a different story: Here, especially in the boroughs–I lived in Brooklyn for eons–snow removal is a disaster. In Manhattan, days after a serious snowfall, bus drivers must stop a few feet from the curb or passengers exiting have a scary time scaling mounds of icy snow piled high. Often there’s only one, thin path to the sidewalk along the entire span between streets. With the generous margin of street, however, passengers can walk safely until they reach the end of the block or that measly little path.

  10. Lucrezia Said:

    Looks like a case of municipality vs. locals on one hand, and locals making it hard for cleanup on the other. Snow removal when parked vehicles stand in the way is difficult at the very least and impossible under severe conditions. The solution would be roofed parking lots, which while initially expensive would save the town a fortune in future plowing costs, and residents, tons of angst. Long term parking meters would go a long way to offset maintenance expense……and no, I have no intention of moving up there and running for mayor!

  11. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I like the idea of a roofed parking lot which would alleviate the stress for many. We can’t be the only ones who can’t shovel themselves out and who resent paying $hundreds to people taking advantage of the situation. Nobody would pay for it, I fear.

    Even though many of the cars are parked the entire week making it hard for the plows, if they shoveled as much of the snow as they could to a designated area–as happens in retail parking areas–it would help. Foisting the white stuff on the cars, as clearly happened in Dover Plains, may have been fun for the folks doing it, especially if they resented the people who owned the parked cars, it created danger for some. And it wasn’t necessary.

Leave a Reply