BROOKLYN— Around the Columbia Street Waterfront District Louie Formisano is part Mayor, part knight in shining armor.
Every winter Formisano circles the neighborhood blocks in search of those stranded or stuck following snowstorms.
Long before the city plows arrive, he frees up cars, crosswalks, and parking spots using a plow on the front of his Jeep.
"This is like a toy," said Formisano. "It's lightweight. But it works."
So with more than 2 feet of snow falling over the weekend, Formisano helped more than 20 people dig out on Monday morning alone.
"I love you Louie," shouted one woman from the drivers seat of her car after he cleared a parking spot for her.
"Thank you so much. I've been doing this for like four hours," shouted another woman as she blew Louie a kiss after he cleared a path to get her car out of a parking spot.
"You wanna help people," said Formisano, "you know I was born and raised here."
The city pays people $13.50 an hour to help shovel the snow, but Formisano doesn't ask for any money, although sometimes people offer—though he rarely sticks around for kudos or cash.
"I should take money for the maintenance, for the wear and tear. You know. You get damage."
Instead he just keeps circling the blocks, offering sage advice.
"Yeah as long as I have a little wiggle room I can get out," said Matt Lombardo after Formisano helped him dig out.
"Yeah but if you get out you may not get back in," said Formisano. "Somebody will take that spot in a heartbeat."
Then it's off to find the next pile to plow, or someone else to help—but usually they find him first.
"Go shovel out my truck please, the back of it," a man named Patty yelled as he saw Formisano driving by.
"All right," said Formisano. "Feels good. You just saved somebody's life from a heart-attack."