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Demanding Answers: Many NYC Sidewalks Left Unshoveled Long After Snowstorm Ends

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The snowstorm that socked the area this week may be over, but a danger still lies a step ahead.

CBS2's Ali Bauman took a walk through city streets Friday, demanding answers on who is responsible for shoveling city sidewalks.

The snowstorm and the subsequent deep freeze made for an Ice Capades that nobody bought tickets for. Each year after a snowstorm, New Yorkers are forced to leap over puddles, skate on sidewalks, and not so gracefully hobble through all the slush.

"So ugly, so ugly," one man said. "They should fix it."

Indeed it is ugly – and dangerous. On Friday morning before she was even assigned this story, Bauman tweeted a picture of the slippery sidewalks on her commute through Columbus Circle.

So many places – open and closed – were left unshoveled and dangerous. On Flatbush Avenue and Pacific Street, Brooklynites trudged on two feet, on two-wheeled bicycles, and holding baby strollers through unshoveled sidewalks.

"Every year, this sidewalk is treacherous for everybody that has to go across this intersection here," said Ralph Sanchez of Brooklyn.

The Department of Sanitation said snowfall officially ended at 7 p.m. Thursday, which means city sidewalks must be cleared within 14 hours. That meant 9 a.m. Friday.

Meagan Beard of Brooklyn said area stores should "definitely" be clearing their snow.

"I don't know why they're not," she said.

CBS2's Bauman wondered that too, and she asked one store manager inside.

"We don't shovel," said the manager of the True Religion store. "It's not the company. It's not the store that's responsible for that."

According to the city code, it is up to any lessee, owner, tenant or occupant to clear the sidewalk. And if the store front is occupied, the business is hit with a violation.

A couple of blocks away, the manager of Burrito Bar knows that. They do not own the building, but were still taking responsibility.

But what about neighboring businesses?

"If one of their guests trips and falls outside, they may be getting a surprise," said Burrito Bar owner Greg Yurman.

So as snow bricks pile high and ice accumulates, practice those triple axles – because spring is still 37 days away.

The Sanitation Department said it has received about 400 complaints for uncleared sidewalks on Friday alone. Businesses and even homeowners with unshoveled sidewalks could face up to $350 in fines.

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