BOSTON (AP) — Have a heart if your Valentine's Day card and flowers from your beloved arrive a little late: Florists and other delivery drivers in Boston and surrounding parts of New England are having a hard time getting through the snow-choked streets.
The narrow neighborhood streets in Boston and other old New England cities can be hard to navigate even under normal circumstances.
But a string of storms buried Boston in 6 feet of snow over 18 days, a record-breaking onslaught that has left mountains of snow so high that drivers can barely see around corners and pedestrians feel as if they are walking through canyons.
"You just can't get down streets. Instead of a two-lane road, it's now a one-lane road. So you do the best you can," said Anthony Teta, a postal worker in Medford, Massachusetts. "You park and walk down. But it takes time. Stuff gets delayed."
Mitchell Check, owner of Check the Florist in Providence, Rhode Island, hired extra drivers and is sending a "runner" with each one of them to deliver the flowers because the driver can't park or double-park when the streets are full of snow.
"It's an added expense, but it's the only way we're going to get the deliveries out, especially with more snow coming," Check said.
At Edible Arrangements in Brookline, worker Lisette Zayes said the store stopped taking orders for fruit bouquets that need to be delivered by Thursday to make sure the ones already in the system make it to their destination on time.
And it's not just red roses and chocolates at stake. All sorts of businesses are having trouble reaching customers.
Delivery truck drivers bringing beer kegs and other liquor supplies to downtown Boston bars and restaurants have complained of impassable service alleys and iced-over loading ramps.
At All My Sons Moving, a New England branch manager reported that customers are calling to reschedule their moves for the spring because they can't clear enough snow to make room for the trucks and movers.
To be sure, many New Englanders don't seem focused yet on Valentine's Day, which falls on Saturday. Many have been busy making up for lost work days and dealing with painfully long commutes.
"Probably flowers. And a gift," Steve Truong said as he finished up work in Boston's Financial District. "I really haven't thought about it yet. Definitely the snow has had an impact. Ton of work to catch up on."
At Au Chocolat, a downtown Boston purveyor of fine chocolates, owner Edward Boyer estimated the store has seen maybe 20 percent of the business it would typically enjoy in the run-up to Valentine's Day.
"It's horrendous," he lamented. "We have more merchandise than we have customers. The weather really seems to have pushed it out of everyone's mind."
At Louis Barry Florist in downtown Boston, owner Louis Lauria said the snow has compressed the time available to fill orders for roses and other flowers. He said the requests started to trickle in Wednesday as the city started to hum back to life.
"Things are picking up. I expect a lot of last-minute orders," he said. "We'll be here all night. We don't care. We'll get them done."
McDermott reported from Providence, R.I.