A Look Back at New York in 2015
A Look Back at New York in 2015
People cross a street during a blizzard in Midtown Manhattan on Jan. 26, 2015. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)

People cross a street during a blizzard in Midtown Manhattan on Jan. 26, 2015. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)

Firefighters on scene in the East Village on March 26, 2015, after a flaming building collapsed. About 250 firefighters came on site. An explosion caused nearly two dozen injuries and an adjacent building to collapse. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)

Firefighters on scene in the East Village on March 26, 2015, after a flaming building collapsed. About 250 firefighters came on site. An explosion caused nearly two dozen injuries and an adjacent building to collapse. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)

A police officer looks at an SUV that was crushed at the front of a Metro-North Railroad train in Valhalla, N.Y., on Feb. 4, 2015. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

A police officer looks at an SUV that was crushed at the front of a Metro-North Railroad train in Valhalla, N.Y., on Feb. 4, 2015. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

People view the sunrise at the newly built One World Observatory at One World Trade Center on the day it opens to the public in New York City on May 29, 2015. The observation deck sits atop the 104-story skyscraper at the former site of the Twin Towers and is expected to become one of Manhattan's top tourist attractions. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

People view the sunrise at the newly built One World Observatory at One World Trade Center on the day it opens to the public in New York City on May 29, 2015. The observation deck sits atop the 104-story skyscraper at the former site of the Twin Towers and is expected to become one of Manhattan's top tourist attractions. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

FIFA Women's World Cup Champion U.S. Women's National Team greet fans at the parade in New York City on July 10, 2015. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)

FIFA Women's World Cup Champion U.S. Women's National Team greet fans at the parade in New York City on July 10, 2015. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio shows the locations in the Bronx of cooling towers with red triangles, and people, red dots, that were infected with Legionnaires' disease during a news conference to provide an update of the Legionnaires' disease outbreak in New York on Aug. 8, 2015. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio shows the locations in the Bronx of cooling towers with red triangles, and people, red dots, that were infected with Legionnaires' disease during a news conference to provide an update of the Legionnaires' disease outbreak in New York on Aug. 8, 2015. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Pope Francis arrives for a multi-religious service at the site of the 9/11 memorial and Museum in New York City on Sept. 25, 2015. (Thomas A. Ferrara/Getty Images)

Pope Francis arrives for a multi-religious service at the site of the 9/11 memorial and Museum in New York City on Sept. 25, 2015. (Thomas A. Ferrara/Getty Images)

Denise Cruz, 43, on the street in Midtown Manhattan on March 29, 2015. (Petr Svab/Epoch Times)

Denise Cruz, 43, on the street in Midtown Manhattan on March 29, 2015. (Petr Svab/Epoch Times)

It has been another tumultuous year, with memorable highs and lows. The year in New York started with extreme weather warnings, and deadly accidents; the city celebrated a World Cup victory, hosted the Pope, and finished the year with a strategy to combat homelessness. Here is Epoch Times 2015 Year in Review.

City Shuts Down Over Expected Historic Blizzard

People cross a street during a blizzard in Midtown Manhattan on Jan. 26, 2015. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)
People cross a street during a blizzard in Midtown Manhattan on Jan. 26, 2015. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)

New York was spared from what forecasters warned might be one of the most brutal snowstorms in the city’s history. Winter Storm Juno prompted blizzard warnings for Jan. 26 that paralyzed the transit system, grounded thousands of flights, and banned vehicles from roads.

The snowstorm was expected to dump up to three feet of snow in parts of the Northeast and 20 to 30 inches in New York City, but most of the city saw less than 10 inches of snow.

The dire warnings prompted a backlash against weather forecasters, causing one meteorologist to take to social media to apologize for getting it wrong.

 

Metro-North Crash in Valhalla

A police officer looks at an SUV that was crushed at the front of a Metro-North Railroad train in Valhalla, N.Y., on Feb. 4, 2015. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
A police officer looks at an SUV that was crushed at the front of a Metro-North Railroad train in Valhalla, N.Y., on Feb. 4, 2015. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

A Metro-North train slammed into an SUV at a railway crossing in Valhalla on Feb. 3 leaving six people dead, including the driver, and 15 injured. It’s the deadliest accident in railroad’s history.

The driver of the SUV, a mother of three, inexplicably decided to try to cross the tracks while the Hawthorne Station-bound train was approaching, causing a massive explosion. The train pushed the SUV 1,000 feet down the track and caused 400 feet of rail to penetrate the first car of the train.

 

East Village Gas Explosion

Firefighters on scene in the East Village on March 26, 2015, after a flaming building collapsed. About 250 firefighters came on site. An explosion caused nearly two dozen injuries and an adjacent building to collapse. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)
Firefighters on scene in the East Village on March 26, 2015, after a flaming building collapsed. About 250 firefighters came on site. An explosion caused nearly two dozen injuries and an adjacent building to collapse. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)

A massive gas explosion rocked the East Village on March 26, which left two dead and 22 injured. The explosion and fire destroyed 15 apartments, collapsed three buildings, and also devoured popular restaurants Pommes Frites and Sushi Park.

Authorities found evidence of an illegal siphon of the gas pipe that leaked and ignited inside Sushi Park. The blast led to multiple lawsuits, and investigations into possible murder charges. It also brought out the best in people, with online donors raising over $250,000 to help explosion victims.

  

One WTC Observation Deck Opens

People view the sunrise at the newly built One World Observatory at One World Trade Center on the day it opens to the public in New York City on May 29, 2015. The observation deck sits atop the 104-story skyscraper at the former site of the Twin Towers and is expected to become one of Manhattan's top tourist attractions. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
People view the sunrise at the newly built One World Observatory at One World Trade Center on the day it opens to the public in New York City on May 29, 2015. The observation deck sits atop the 104-story skyscraper at the former site of the Twin Towers and is expected to become one of Manhattan’s top tourist attractions. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The observation deck of One World Trade Center officially opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on May 29. The observatory occupies levels 100 to 102 of the building, and looks down from 1,250 feet on a view of the Manhattan skyline, Statue of Liberty, and the Atlantic Ocean.

Visitors reach the observatory in 60 seconds via one of five “skypod” elevators. One WTC stands 1,776 feet tall, making it the nation’s tallest building. Officials said they expect to greet 3 to 4 million visitors a year.

 

Rare Victory Parade for Women’s Soccer Team

U.S. women's soccer team fans cheer as the players make their way up Broadway's Canyon of Heroes during the ticker tape parade to celebrate their World Cup victory in New York on July 10, 2015. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
U.S. women’s soccer team fans cheer as the players make their way up Broadway’s Canyon of Heroes during the ticker tape parade to celebrate their World Cup victory in New York on July 10, 2015. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

After a memorable FIFA Women’s World Cup triumph, where the U.S. squad blitzed Japan 5–2, the U.S. women’s soccer team was given a hero’s welcome with a ticker-tape parade on July 10—a first for a team of female athletes. Fans donned red, white, and blue and flocked to Lower Manhattan to cheer on the winners.

The parade was followed by a City Hall ceremony where Mayor Bill de Blasio gave each player a key to the city. The victory was the United States’ third FIFA Women’s World Cup win and the highest score in a women’s final ever.

 

Legionnaires’ Disease Outbreak in South Bronx

Carmen Ramirez, whose father Carmelo Quiles recently died of Legionnaires disease, pauses in her mothers apartment in an area of the Bronx which is the center of the outbreak in New York City on Aug. 6, 2015. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Carmen Ramirez, whose father Carmelo Quiles recently died of Legionnaires disease, pauses in her mothers apartment in an area of the Bronx which is the center of the outbreak in New York City on Aug. 6, 2015. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The Bronx’s second outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease occurred on July 30. (The first was in Co-op City, in northeast Bronx, in Dec. 2014.) By September 2015, 148 people had been infected, and 17 people died, according to the New York City Department of Health and Hygiene.

Several locations tested positive for the disease, including a rooftop cooling system at Lincoln Hospital, a public housing building, and the Opera House Hotel.

Legionnaires’ disease is transmitted from person to person. People can get sick from inhaling contaminated mists from cooling towers, showers, faucets, and whirlpool spas. Since the bacteria grow and thrive in lungs, smokers and those with weak immune systems are most at risk. Legionnaires’ disease is highly treatable if detected early.

 

Pope Visits New York

Pope Francis’ motorcade moves through New York streets to St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Sept. 24, 2015. (Richard Drew/AP)
Pope Francis’ motorcade moves through New York streets to St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Sept. 24, 2015. (Richard Drew/AP)

Pope Francis arrived in New York on Sept. 24 for a historic, jam-packed two-day visit. He began his tour by taking a drive in the popemobile up Fifth Avenue to St. Patrick’s Cathedral, where he conducted a prayer service.

The following day he addressed the United Nations General Assembly, offered comfort to victims of 9/11 at ground zero, encouraged immigrant children at a school in East Harlem, paraded through Central Park where he greeted approximately 80,000 New Yorkers, and celebrated Mass at Madison Square Garden for about 18,000 people.

His visit was likely the largest security operation in U.S. history.

 

ISIS Video Shows Footage of Times Square

On Nov. 18, ISIS released a video celebrating the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, containing footage of Times Square. The New York Police Department reassured New Yorkers that there was no current or specific threat, despite concerns that New York was a top terrorist target. The NYPD increased security by deploying additional Critical Response Command (CRC) teams throughout the city.

In response to the video, Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city would not be intimidated and he urged residents to continue to live their lives normally.

 

Mayor Launches Strategy to Combat Homelessness

Denise Cruz, 43, on the street in Midtown Manhattan on March 29, 2015. Cruz said she lost a place to live when she moved out of an apartment of her abusive boyfriend six months ago. She tried to go to a shelter but left after her purse got stolen. Now the Bowery Residents' Committee, a local holes outreach non-profit, is helping her to find a place to live. (Petr Svab/Epoch Times)
Denise Cruz, 43, on the street in Midtown Manhattan on March 29, 2015. (Petr Svab/Epoch Times)

Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled plans on Dec. 16 to combat street homelessness in his new initiative, the NYC Homeless Outreach & Mobile Engagement Street Action Team, better known as HOME-STAT.

The program is aimed at solving a critical problem that has prevented the mayor’s administration from reducing homelessness in the city: communication between city agencies, private organizations, and those who are sleeping on the streets. Outreach staff dressed in bright green uniforms will go out on the streets, connect the homeless with services, and collect data about the issue.

The program is expected to be fully functional by March 2016.

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