I found myself bursting with manic energy last night after getting home from work. An impending blizzard will do that to me: it’s part of the deal of growing up in New England. I traded phone calls with Bro Steele and Mom Steele in Massachusetts, then bided some time until I figured the snow would really start dumping by researching past NYC blizzards. My first big one was the April Fool’s Day blizzard of 1997; more recently, I remember well the December 2010 storm that Lindsey and I raced in our car from Christmas in Massachusetts down through Connecticut, grinding out the last 50 miles at 25 miles an hour in blinding snow then finding ourselves in a late-night Lower East Side winter wonderland.
But my most memorable NYC storm — caveat: not counting Sandy — goes to the Presidents’ Day blizzard of 2003. It sticks in the mind because I had a couple, an Australian and a New Zealander, staying on the floor of my one-bedroom apartment that weekend. I’d met them traveling in Northern India in the summer of 2001, when they were on month 18 of an around-the-world journey that had so far cost them $6,000. By 2003, they were heading to South America by way of New York City, and might they crash on my floor for two days to save a few bucks? When the storm hit and their flight got rescheduled from Monday until Thursday, they offered to move out and find a hostel, but I told them no way and in return for the extended hospitality, they painted this wall of my place red.
Everyone who ever hung out at my old apartment, at 110 Rivington Street, has heard that story. Sorry about that.
The other lasting memory from that blizzard was going to Alexis’ apartment for the finale of Joe Millionaire — a wonderful show and a memory confirmed by my diary of the snow day I found last night while searching the web for a passage from a William Gibson novel in which two characters walk down a street in Soho or Nolita in the middle of a New York City blizzard. (I failed to find the passage. I think it’s in Pattern Recognition, which it seems I was reading during the storm in 2003. Huh.)
The Blizzard of 2015 ended up being a bust, dropping about 8″ down here at the Seaport. Were I to construct a numbered list a la LS.com 2003, it would read something like this:
1) Stood in a line wrapping around FiDi food store Zeytuna to procure cherry tomatoes, the one critical recipe piece that the wife hadn’t been able to procure at Whole Foods.
2) After dinner — chicken with shallots and tomatoes — I suggested that we walk down the block to enjoy a beer at Paris Cafe, our local, before the heavy bands of snow moved back in. Bundled up and ran down the street to find Paris pitch dark, shuttered up tight. Stupid 11pm subway curfew.
3) Back at the apartment, between episodes of our Season 2 of The-Wire-Now-in-HD rewatch, enjoyed observing various permutations of fun in the snow in the open median that runs down the middle of Peck Slip. This space had been occupied by construction equipment for years until the end of last summer when the work wrapped up and the city tossed some blacktop over it, with promises of a landscaped park to come. (About this, more someday soon.) Scaped in white, it played home last night to several snowball fights and a pickup football game. Today, it was filled with kids cavorting on the snow. Score one for public space.
4) And score one for my beloved Quinciple, which braved the storm to get our delivery through last night. Solid effort in an underwhelming storm.