Just so we're clear, New York City is not extreme coupon heaven. Its status as one of the most expensive cities is further justified in the year that's passed since 2010's post-Christmas blizzard.
The city paid about $1 million per foot of snow.
Specifically, 1,196 claims were filed against the Big Apple for the way it handled--or didn't handle--the two feet of snow and messiness that followed. Settlement of 620 claims totaling $1,855,152,53 were paid by the comptroller's office as of December 23, 2011. The rest, according to The Wall Street Journal, were either denied or are being examined further.
As you might imagine, grievances are as diverse as the city. Slip-and-fall incidents are part of it, including one $150,000 settlement. Vehicles (Chevy Avalanches or otherwise) were buried and damaged on streets that weren't plowed for days. Problems even arose when plowing did happen. In Brooklyn, the weight of cleared snow collapsed a cemetery fence onto headstones, causing $100,000 in damages.
So while you really can fight city hall, it's probably a challenge best left inexperienced. Mayor Michael Bloomberg's office and various city departments sifted through the post-blizzard grumbles so residents and visitors can have some calm after the inevitable storms to come.
New guidelines and technology enable city plow operators and other staff to better communicate with emergency management. The intent is more accurate real-time assessment and response, from street conditions to vehicle towing.
Other measures are in place to respond more effectively and keep the public in the loop during future blizzards--not to mention avoid paying for snow at $1 million per foot if at all possible.