Lame Adventure 403: Slippery Invisible Ice

Many of you were kind enough to glance at this site’s previous post about snow falling overnight in lower Manhattan. It featured some fine photography shot by longtime Lame Adventurer, my bud, Coco. After Hercules left town and Friday turned frigid cold, Coco ventured out again. Pictured below are photos of post-blizzard lower Manhattan in the light of day.

The obesity epidemic extends to snowmen.

The obesity epidemic extends to snowmen.

Washington Square Park under vibrant blue arctic cold sky.

Washington Square Park under vibrant blue arctic cold sky.

The kind of fluffy white snow I used to fantasize about when I was a kid growing up in San Francisco. That fantasy is long dead now.

Fluffy white snow I fantasized about when I was growing up in San Francisco. I should have been on medication.

Coco's fire escape. We won't be pounding beers on here anytime soon.

Coco’s fire escape. We won’t be pounding beer there anytime soon.

On Sunday, two days after Hercules bolted, I received the following text from Coco as I was doing my ablutions before ushering an off-Broadway play.

New alert!

News flash!

Wiping out on Slippery Invisible Ice is a perennial wintertime dread. Like my friend, I have suffered my share of spills. It was two years ago that I took a flying leap off a patch of this sneaky vicious foe. It was blanketing a storefront’s wooden ramp on a section of Columbus Avenue that was then undergoing sidewalk repair. If memory serves correct, the song playing inside my head as my feet upended was titled: I Know This is Gonna Hurt and I Hope I Have Enough Good Karma Points That I Don’t Break Anything.

I slammed down hard. My innards seemed to rattle around inside, but I was lucky. Aside from a twinge in my left elbow that faded fast, nothing fractured and my internal organs remained in their proper place. The only bruise I suffered was to my ego. Although New Yorkers are quick to look out for each other, it was a welcome relief that no one saw me lying on the ground in a daze. I got up, and resumed my trek — oblivious to the humiliating two-foot stain of gray sidewalk detritus smearing the back of my black coat.

On a winter’s day three years ago, I witnessed Slippery Invisible Ice practice its special brand of cruelty on a businesswoman approximately my own age, over forty under death. She was walking in front of me down West End Avenue. But while crossing West 73rd Street, she began fighting the losing battle to maintain balance. As she valiantly did the familiar slip and slide dance, her legs buckled. She fell into a heap defeated by that unseen frozen villain.

I hurried to her side half-fearing that I might lose my footing in the slush carpeting the sidewalk, belly flop onto my stomach, and speed-ram my head into hers. Fortunately the other half of me that was fearlessly fleet of foot raced to her rescue with the agility of an Olympic Gold Medalist in Snowy Sidewalk Navigation. I offered her my hand and helped hoist her back onto her feet.

Me: Are you okay or just embarrassed?

She sighed, that familiar sigh of someone just bitch-slapped by Mother Nature.

Businesswoman: I’m the latter.

After I suffered my memorable tumble on Columbus Avenue, I invested in a pair of winter boots with solid traction from the Ugly Style Great Price collection.  I was wearing motorcycle boots that freezing night when I took my flying leap. After reading Coco’s text I’m considering wearing my snow shoes every day until spring, unless the fashion police issues me a terrible taste in footwear citation first. I love living in New York City, but I’d also love to avoid leaving another full body imprint in the pavement this winter.

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73 responses to “Lame Adventure 403: Slippery Invisible Ice

  1. Thanks to Coco again for the photos!

    Does this mean you are going out this morning? I worry about you. God, only knows why. Probably because I would KILL myself on the ice. It would be a given. There is no bigger klutz on the planet.

    Had to laugh when I read your response to Coco’s text–thanking her for the “heads-up.” LITERALLY and HOPEFULLY, I thought!

    Hugs from Ecuador,
    Kathy

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    • Yes, Coco is a dedicated soul to this site. The weather was actually rather warm this morning. When I was walking to the train I did not need to wear a hat, scarf or gloves and my jacket was only semi-zipped. Tomorrow it will be an entirely different story with frigid temperatures and very likely the return of that old nemesis, Slippery Invisible Ice. I love it that you worry about me! It’s comforting to know there’s one lesbian left in the world who is emotionally invested in me. I suspect that the others chase thoughts of my special brand of me with swigs of Mylanta.

      Hugs from the Big Apple,
      V

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  2. Hercules? Only recently did I find the Wx channel was naming winter storms. That seems silly. In that light, the one that just missed us yesterday I shall call Ignoramus. It dumped nearly a foot of snow and is now treating us to -15˚ pleasantries with -50˚ wind chills. I’m not going out to risk falling down.

    I’m glad you didn’t hurt yourself.

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  3. Had a similar experience years ago but I think I deserved it. Sheer ice in sidewalk at my former residence in Montclair NJ. Went out for newspaper in Jammie’s, trench coat and slippers.

    Yeah they named those last fucking things right. What kind of idiot goes out onto ice in slippers? Me, that’s who. Bruised my back and chest (no I can’t figure that bit of physiology) and was left to whimper for help for about 15 minutes. Could not move. Could not even yell for help. Eventually rolled over to my belly and army crawled about 20 feet to porch steps. Luckily the bride began wondering WTF had happened to me. Talk about a double dose of pain AND embarrassment.

    BTW, Coco should consider modifying her fire escape into a sort of walk in freezer tonight as the temps here in NUC area plummet from 57 to 0. Yep, that’s gonna be one heck of a temperature dump.

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    • Sorry, but I am laughing at this story of your “pain AND embarrassment”. That’s a Mike G classic! Bet you quit retrieving your copy of The Daily Bugle in that getup, or at least you now wear snow boots while in your jammies and trench coat. Or, better yet, since you didn’t crack your skull, you’re now playing it safe and you’re reading the Bugle on one of you iDevices. But it is bewildering to think how you were able to bruise both your back and chest unless, of course, you bounced.

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  4. Dear LA,

    Thank you for the weather report – I stayed out of town because of the snow. Here, three hours to your south, the temperature went from 9º to 63º in about twenty-four hours and seven inches of snow magically disappeared overnight. This morning wind and rain are rattling the skylight of my tree house while the wood outside the bay window where I write is dancing the Watusi.

    Loved the pictures and your one act plat on Slippery Invisible Ice.

    Here’s hoping you never suffer another spill.

    Bottoms up,

    R.

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    • Yes, R, the temperature up here took a steep dive followed with a big jump. Now it’s diving again so. this is so dizzying I might need to pop a Dramamine. I’ll one again be donning the heavy coat that is related to a sleeping bag with sleeves.

      I hope your hope for me comes true and I never again suffer another spill. I so don’t want to find myself singing that old Nancy Sintra song, you know the one: These Bones Were Made For Breaking. I hope for you that your trees settle down, but I appreciate the image of them performing the Watusi. My inner animator is imagining that in Technicolor!

      V

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  5. Lovely photos. Call me crazy, but I miss snow. I don’t miss ice. I hate ice. My partner never falls on the ice, but when used to walk to work together she hated my fear of ice. As soon as winter hit I started taking baby steps–even when it wasn’t icy. I actually broke my left elbow once falling down on ice at a subway stop during the morning commute. Not only did it hurt like hell, but talk about embarrassing. I’ve fallen so many times I’ve lost count. If there’s ice, invisible or not, I’ll find it and fall down.

    Be careful. Don’t worry about the fashion police. All that matters is your safety.

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    • Are you and our mutual friend, Kathy from Ecuador, who is an admitted sufferer of stumble-itis, blood sisters TB? I share your caution around ice (and sympathize with you about the elbow injury), but there are days when either you can’t avoid the hard slick stuff or it sneak attacks you. I’ll take snow over ice any day, too. Of course, in about six months when this place is baking under the sweltering summertime sun and the subway feels like a bar-be-que pit, I’ll be whining about the heat. Maybe I should just lock myself inside a temperature controlled room where I can crank out new Lame Adventures about a life lived climbing up walls?

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  6. Brrrr, V. It’s gonna be colder tomorrow. Layer, woman, layer. And I did the same thing — fall on the sidewalk on the ice once. It’s a bad out-of-control feeling isn’t it? And yes, embarrassing. But glad it was only that and not something snapping or breaking!

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    • At this stage in life, Brig, I have much greater fears about something breaking or snapping, too. It rates right up there with being swallowed by the sidewalk while walking and texting. I am prepared for tomorrow and will wear my Super Heavy Ugly Coat that loosely resembles a slate grey Yugo that can comfortably seat a family of three with four cats.

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  7. Yes, ice resistant shoes are imperative in this kind of weather. Also important to adjust stride length… Coco’s shots are great – I especially like the Washington Square Park pic, V. Thanks for the update on the storm and great post, as always.

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    • Thanks Cathy and you are so right, a shorter stride while wearing the proper footwear is a much safer stride. Of course, the safest stride is no stride and all and just staying nestled in bed and snoring the day away — not an option on a workday Tuesday following a two-week vacation.

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  8. Fish Out of Water

    The fire escape picture is amazing. And, I think from now on I will just tell people I’m over 40 under death. It’s just easier.

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  9. this ice is insane. I bought my hubs a nice handmade giant new coffee mug which he smashed into a million pieces at the end of the driveway..so being the good wife, I rushed to buy him another one, because it is a perfectly sized mug for his extra large mitts, to which he wiped out AGAIN and smashed it into pieces. At 20 bucks a pop, he is on his own. (well maybe) I hate the ice, I often find myself on the losing end of it myself; apparently we are a klutzy couple, only I break bones not coffee mugs.

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    • Audra, I think your hubs’ mug should be made out of rubber so that way when he slips in the driveway and it drops it won’t shatter. But of course your crazy canine might confuse it with a bouncy chew toy, chase it and singe her snout. Hm. In that case, popping another 20 clams for a third mug for your beloved might be much cheaper than a vet bill for The Family Hound.

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  10. In our December ice event, over 40 people went to the ER with ice fall related injuries. A few years back, JB Hunt (owner of the trucking company by the same name and one of the 3 richest men in NWA) slipped on a patch of ice, hit the back of his head, and died within 24 hours. The ice does not discriminate and is an equal opportunity injury provider.

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    • Holy crapola and ow, Russell! That is the ultimate embarrassment and life leveler, buying one’s rainbow via slippery invisible ice. You’d think a guy that rich would pay someone to do his walking, and falling, for him.

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  11. Here’s wishing for no falls. I know the perils of ice. One day when I was fifteen, it had just started snowing (I was living in Washington). I walked outside in my stocking feet, slipped and came down hard on my right wrist, breaking it. My buddy came out to find me sitting in the snow, cradling my wrist.
    “I think I broke my wrist,” I told him.
    “How’d you do that?” he said, making the “jerking off” motion with his right hand. I love my friends.

    It was definitely cool of you to ask after the woman who was older than 40 but younger than death. There are infrequent times, however, when you should ignore a fall. About a month ago, I in an Albertson’s parking lot on a rainy day. Suddenly I see this dude about my age (that twilight horizon between young dude and old guy) just take a tumble into a puddle. But he got back on his feet with such alacrity that I could tell he hoped no one noticed. I didn’t say anything, but then a woman called out “Are you all right?”
    “Fine,” the guy said.
    “Are you suuuuuuuure?” the woman calls out. I was mortified for the guy. I wanted to shout, “Shut up, woman!”

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    • HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!! I am sure you are so right about that poor puddle pounder wanting everyone to stay the hell away, Smak! He’s probably the same chump in the drug store trying to discreetly buy Just For Men hair coloring when the clerk at the register screams for a price check prompting every customer as well as the punt dog in a matron’s hand bag to focus on his tresses as he turns 50 Shades of Red.

      Your teenage bud had sadistic comic timing, but yeah, I could see how that response to your suffering would be a memorable comeback!

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  12. About 18 years ago I slipped on our wet wooden deck and went down the porch steps on my rear, landing spread-eagle on the concrete. I still suffer the consequences of that. My husband called it “Death by Birkenstock” because I was wearing an old pair that had the cork insole exposed, causing my foot to fly out from under me when it touched the wet deck.

    Be careful out there!

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  13. Maybe you’ll start a new trend! At least everyone would give you some personal space…Glad you survived!

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    • Me, a trend setter, Susie? Hm. I’m not much of a trend follower, either. I think of myself as invisible; the human equivalent of vapor. But unscented aside from smelling slightly like my favorite fragrance, Cool Mint Listerine.

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      • I fell like I just stepped into cool mint Listerine. I just arrived in the freezer aka Wisconsin.

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        • Brrrr! Right now, the temperature in New York is 21, balmy in comparison to Tuesday when I think it sunk as low as 3. Thursday’s high is 34, Friday 43, Saturday 55, Sunday and Monday 48. Now I no longer need to do a post about the five day forecast. I assume you’re visiting your family in your home state. Have fun Susie!

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  14. I saw a woman wiped out on the steps leading down to the subway. The stairs were a mess. She needed to have an ambulance take her away.

    Though, maybe the snow isn’t as bad as this cold.My eyeballs nearly froze this morning.

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    • Russell wrote a comment about a billionaire that bought his rainbow slipping on ice. What a way to go! I feel for that woman you saw who wiped out on the subway steps. Almost as bad as falling personally is seeing someone else go down hard.

      I was so bundled like Nanook of the Upper West Side this morning, my glasses completely fogged. I basically walked blind to the subway.

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  15. I, who, while wearing athletic shoes on a summer day, can trip over nothing on a flat cement sidewalk, sail horizontally past two store fronts and land on my feet, was sitting here thinking of what to comment, when — speaking of Ignoramus — I got a recorded call from the gas company saying to try not to use natural gas during this frigid weather because they are almost all out of it. How does that work? Out of natural gas? I use it only for cooking. Nevertheless, I am almost out of heating oil and had planned to bake something in the oven later, just to help heat the house.

    Meanwhile, I think I’d better phone my friend, R. Haven’t heard from him since last week. He lives just down the road. Maybe he got stuck to one of his watusiing tree branches. Maybe he’s afraid I’ll fall running to answer the phone.

    Loved Coco’s photos. She has an eye and is a winter warrior daring to venture out in this icy weather. Not to worry, though — it’s going to be 60 degrees this weekend.

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    • Yes, Samantha, I heard it was going to warm up significantly by the weekend. Yay! But rain is also in the forecast. Sigh. Still, I’ll take it. Having feeling in one’s fingers is addicting.

      Coco is indeed a gem of a friend. She’s this site’s Margaret Bourke-White with an iPhone.

      R’s been active on Facebook, or at least he was as of yesterday, but please do not do any pratfalls when you contact him.

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  16. I hope you survived your snowy trek with no falls. Just looking at your pictures is making me cold. I’m sitting here in my warm house with snow-free yard shivering. Payback perhaps for my glacier pictures freezing you?

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  17. Here’s some wonderful advice for you … don’t wear Crocs when icy.

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  18. It’s my greatest fear! Last year we got a coat of slippery invisible ice that lasted for a whole week. It was exhausting walking to work. Every step felt like a lead in to a big fall and pain. I don’t care about the embarrassment, I care about a broken hip. We’ve had freezing rain all night and it’s still going on at 6:50 am. Oh, joy. I dread this walk to work. Heck, it’s difficult to even get across the street. I asked for those Yak Traks for Christmas this year but didn’t get them. Must’ve been a bad girl. Stay safe, dear V!

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    • You do have it rough out there in Hi-de-ho, Jean! It was 21 degrees this morning and it felt balmy to me. And better yet, there was no Slippery Invisible Ice waiting to trip me up on any of the sidewalks I trekked Yak Trak-free. But I do share your fear. If I were to break something, it would probably take half a century to heal. I will do my best to take your advice to stay safe — and you do the same. On the plus side, I bet the voles you hate with a passion are lying low.

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      • Everything is lying low right now save for the frozen doggie turds on top of the snow.

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        • Speaking of turds, my dog did me a big favor on our predawn walk this morning. Even those about 90% of our snow has melted, Archie found a patch of crystallized snow upon which to do his business. Just enough light on the horizon to help illuminate the brown stuff in contrast to the white. Made finding it and bagging it so much easier. At my age I try not to spend too much time bent over looking for meadow muffins.

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          • And neither of you slipped. Sounds like the day is off to a much better start for you two than your governor who’s trying to pick up his Bridgegate mess.

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            • Interesting that you should bring up my rotund chief executive. When the email story broke 2 days ago I got my very first “NYT pick” for my comment on the story. I am more upset with the turds he had on his staff than for his possibly playing sophomoric political hardball. For chrissake this is New Jersey.

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          • I keep meaning to get out back and pick up the poo but I haven’t yet. One of my dogs poops right on the pavers, which requires a fair amount of chipping and scraping. But, you know, it’s far better to get it up before it turns to “MOOP.”

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  19. Hope it’s warmer now, and that you managed to stay upright and keep your balance when all about them were losing theirs….

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  20. Best of luck navigating your treacherous streets. I slipped right next to my car in the grocery store parking lot a few years ago. I hit hard enough to do nerve damage to one knee. Fortunately I don’t use that knee that much, so I manage. We’re having a few days of warm weather right now, so I’m feeling rather smug!

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    • Wow, Terri, that’s such a drag that your knee was subject to such a pounding from that slippery fiend! We’re in a period of warmer days over here, too, so the the only thing mean about New York City streets at the moment are the cranky New Yorkers pounding them.

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      • Looks like I spoke too soon. Yesterday while visiting my parents, I slipped – freshly fallen snow over ice – how was I to know? Bang! Flat on my back. Fortunately I have good padding on my rear end and I kept my head up so no concussion, and I didn’t spill my mom’s coffee! Most of that ice should melt today, I hope.

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        • Even what you wrote here made me wince in solidarity, Terri! I hope the coffee you’re referring to were beans in a bag, but I suspect it was more on the order of a cup and hopefully, with a lid!

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  21. writerwendyreid

    It doesn’t matter the color of the ice, it’s ALL freakin’ dangerous. We had freezing rain two days ago and I have to walk over about 20 feet of solid ice. And not flat ice where you can somewhat control your steps, but the rounded, bumpy ice covering snow that was never removed from the parking lot and if I fall, I’m afraid I’ll break a hip. That’s because I’m fucking old. Just so we’re clear. :-) xo

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    • Ugh, Wendy, crossing 20 feet of bumpy, invisible ice sounds like a potential bone-breaking challenge that should be on one of the many reality TV shows I don’t watch. Thanks for sharing.

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  22. Duuuuude I love this … “someone just bitch-slapped by Mother Nature” probably because she’s backhanded me plenty of times and this is without snow or ice or body imprints. But I do love those pics the snowman and the sun sneaking out between the buildings are pretty amazing shots.

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  23. Perfect line to the fallen comrade. Acknowledging the humiliation is the first step. You should get chains for your shoes, they have those!

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    • I know! Tonight the snow and ice were so heavy on the steps leading into my subway station, I was clutching the bannister for dear life like an invalid — exactly the condition I was striving to avoid!

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