Once upon a time we didn’t get nearly as much snow in the Bronx. And it was a time when I actually pined for the white stuff—the more the merrier. I liked looking at it coming down, frolicking in it, and most of all, when it cancelled school, which I must admit—despite my weakness for nostalgia—I especially loathed from the very first day of kindergarten to very last day of high school. The college years were in a class by themselves.
In fact, I just unearthed some interesting statistics for my hometown of New York City. During the 1970s, we got socked with only three snowstorms that surpassed one foot in total; in the 1980s, just one! During the aughties, we’ve experienced ten—count 'em—with a twenty-inch job this past February. And now another two-footer in the same year. To think, Central Park recorded a mere one-quarter of an inch of snow during the entire winter of 1973-74. I can safely assume my grammar school, St. John's in Kingsbridge, never closed its doors for a snow day that school year.
Sure, I still enjoy the sight of snow coming down. There’s something exhilarating about bad weather events occurring in real time. I appreciate, too, the pristine blanket of white upon a storm’s end, which, by the way, doesn’t remain so for very long in these parts. But right now I'm going about my business in the dreaded post-snowstorm days and nights. I just stepped outside and yesterday's shoveled sidewalks are glazed in an icy patina. The crossing of streets necessitate wading through a couple of feet of snow—or more in places thanks to Mother Nature’s wind-swept drifts and sanitation plows man-made concoctions.
There are an awful lot of dog walkers and dogs around town these days. So, the short-lived unspoiled white snow cover is already a urine-yellow in spots, with darker and sunken splotches to be found elsewhere, the extent of which will reveal themselves in all their splendor when the last vestiges of the snow are history. Upon a snowmelt, a city sidewalk isn’t a sight for sore eyes.
By this coming weekend—the first few days of the New Year—it is expected the temperature will climb into the forties, and perhaps top fifty with some rain. Well, those impassable street corners won’t—by then—have two feet of snow on them, which is all well and good, but a foot or so of filthy, ice-cold slushy water instead. Something to look forward, I suppose. Happy New Year!