“Blizzard watch remains in effect…” those are words one doesn’t often hear applied to New York City. The snow pounded down and compounded on the streets, roofs and windowsills overnight and well into the day. For a sunny, southern hemisphere gal like me, the word “blizzard” could only have one effect…
Falling at a rate of 3 inches an hour, according to the New York Times today, “by early this afternoon, more than a foot and a half of snow had accumulated in Central Park in Manhattan.” That sort of news makes one want to get out and play.
I abandoned my Sunday sleep in to leap into my duvet-like down coat and ventured out onto our building’s second floor balcony. Evidence of the 16 or so inches that had fallen on the city were piled up on the outdoor benches. On the other side of our building, massive snowdrifts had piled up feet high in our (now snowed in) courtyard.
But most telling of all, 42nd Avenue, that aorta of midtown traffic, lay pristine and almost unused. Only a few determined taxi drivers inched their way along the street. And while snow ploughs made their rounds to clear the snow from 42nd street and 9th Avenue (an emergency route), just minutes later one had to concentrate on discerning where they had passed.
Being a relative snow virgin, the 45 miles an hour winds and piles of snow, represent a wonderfully exotic experience. The reduced traffic, the damping of the sounds of the city and the pristine visual blanket turn the familiar into the fairytale.
Having missed the blizzard of ’96 a decade ago, I only got to enjoy its after effects as a resident of bankrupt Washington DC — when the sun, temperature and rain cleared the streets. This time around it’s like having the best of both worlds: the meteorological spectacular plus the efficient city government.