If you live in New York City and are NOT a school age child, I think you’ll agree that this is one of the worst winters ever (and it’s not even close to over). Alas, this is only the beginning…of February. We still have to survive March, which is supposed to “come in like a lion and go out like a lamb.” Really? I guess if you believe in animal metaphors, that means November through January are a nightmarish Jurassic Park, with bone chilling cold and weeks of frigid temperatures in the 20s and below. I think we even set an all-time record of 4 degrees last month. Worst of all, we’ve had multiple snow storms, and I’m not talking about a few slushy, inconvenient inches. I’m no Lee Goldberg, but I’m willing to bet we’re well on our way to record breaking amounts of snow. To make matters even more hellish, most of the snow has fallen when people were travelling –or attempting to travel—for the holidays.
In all my 50-plus years of living in the city, I can’t remember so many snow storms in one winter. It’s true there have been years when a foot or more of snow has fallen and crippled the city. But then it froze, melted and got shoveled away. End of story. This year, it’s one storm after the next –in every variety. There’s the icy, blinding snow that blows right under your umbrella and hits you in the face. Once on the ground, the snow becomes black ice turning sidewalks into unwanted mini-skating rinks. I bet business is booming for the orthopedists treating all the people who slip and fall, so maybe THEY are happy about it. Then there’s the soft, sloppy snow that turns filthy gray and floods the crosswalks. Sometimes the slush soup is so deep that you’re forced to wade through it, and even wearing snow boots, your feet still feel wet and clammy (after sweating indoors).
Miracle of miracles, Max called a few minutes past midnight to tell us his flight had landed in Los Angeles. With blizzard conditions and Jet Blue’s hard-to-fathom departure schedule, Max had somehow stumbled onto the best flight of the day and managed to escape New York without camping out at the airport.
But there is (as always this season) more snow coming. Like a bear preparing for hibernation, I have been running to Food Emporium, CVS, Citibank and the dry cleaners, stocking up and cramming all my errands into one day. The supermarket was so crowded with aspiring hibernators that I had to wait for an empty shopping cart. Tomorrow there is supposed to be another snowstorm that will dump a few more inches on the Big Apple. After a brief respite on Thursday, MORE snow has been predicted on Sunday. This is lots of fun for all the kiddies who enjoy sledding in Central Park, but MOST adults have had ENOUGH. All the doormen, super-intendants and home owners are exhausted from endlessly shoveling. When will it end?
As for de Blasio, the jury is out on how fairly and how well he has deployed the city’s resources to clear our streets. Many people who live on the Upper East Side felt he was worse than blasé about our area, and that he cared more about plowing the outer boroughs and less affluent areas, his core constituency. Bloomberg, our former mayor, was criticized for favoring Manhattan in snowstorms and neglecting the outlying areas, so perhaps de Blasio felt it was necessary to do the opposite to prove a political point. I bet our new mayor—soon to be an Upper East Side resident at Gracie Mansion—will be feeling differently about where to plow once he moves in. If de Blasio is smart, he’ll wait till the spring…if it ever comes.
Of course there are those lucky New Yorkers who live on Fifth Avenue and Central Park West with magnificent views of Central Park who are able to photograph a panorama of the snow at its best: a dazzling winter wonderland of pure white blanketing the ground and decorating the trees in nature’s version of white lace. However, these pretty pictures are no consolation at all once the photographers step outside and must walk gingerly along slippery streets, trying not to slip, only to step into icy pools of slush, and hoping to find an elusive cab without being splashed by the passing traffic.
Snow may be wonderful in ski areas like Colorado, Vermont and Idaho, but in New York City, it’s inconvenient, uncomfortable and in the end, just plain UGLY. Almost as soon as the snow falls, the dogs turn it yellow and brown; soot, dirt and millions of boots turn the rest of it gray.