First Comes the Snow, Then Come the Shovels

By Ayana Osson

CROWN HEIGHTS – For many New Yorkers, braving winter storm Juno was an inconvenience, –and a day off of work. But, for Maurice Anthony, 40, and his brothers, ages 20 and 21, poor weather conditions and heavy snowfall mean one thing: an opportunity to make a little extra money.

Anthony, who lives in the Crown Heights area of Brooklyn, says he and his brothers have been clearing sidewalks and making snowy pathways in front of homes safe again during major winter storms for the past three years. Dressed in heavy coats, and snow boots, the brothers set out early Tuesday equipped with three shovels, to see if anyone in their neighborhood needed help digging out their car, or shoveling the sidewalks outside of their homes.

Anthony usually charges between $35 and $40 to shovel home walkways and $15 to dig out cars,  but he says for him shoveling is also a chance to help out the community.

“It’s not just about money for me,” Anthony said. “It’s more for my brothers and for the elderly.”

Anthony, who is a photographer and construction worker, said that his goal on Tuesday was to shovel ten homes. He added that he was willing to lower prices to help people out.

“We walk down the block and see who needs help,” he said.

Like Anthony, Eddie Richardson decided to shovel snow, but he does it free of charge. The 45-year old was walking down Nostrand Avenue Tuesday with a friend, when he saw that the B44 bus stop waiting area on Nostrand and Pacific Avenues had not yet been shoveled. Richardson, who didn’t have a shovel on him asked a store owner to borrow his shovel and began clearing the bus stop for bus passengers.

“It will make it easier for the elderly,” said Richardson. “This is really just to help people out.”

For others in Crown Heights, shoveling snow was more of a chore, one that cannot be left undone. Robert Parker, 28, used a broom and snow blower to clear snow from the walkway of his home on Brooklyn Avenue and Dean Street. Parker, who is married with two young daughters, said that he’d rather shovel snow by himself than risk his family helping him and falling ill due to the cold weather.

“I love the snow,” said Parker, who is originally from Cuba. “But when it’s too much, it becomes a problem. If people walk by and fall, they look to sue you. It’s not worth it.

Parker who works as a printer for Net Magazine swept the stairs leading up to his front door carefully, and raved about his brand-new snow blower that was just three days old.

“It was $600 dollars, and it’s worth it,” said Parker. “I’ve been shoveling and I had pain in my body. [Shoveling] is too much pressure on the back.”

Like Parker, Chris Caraballo, 24, sees shoveling snow as a part of his daily routine. After the snow storm died down, it was Caraballo’s job to dig out vans parked outside of a Zipcar parking garage on New York and Atlantic Avenues. Caraballo  works as a parking attendant for Zipcar and said that because he was on duty, he had to dig out the cars, a task that could take him up to two hours to finish.

“It sucks,” he said. “ But someone has to do it.”