Lame Adventure 407: Bottomless Pit of Winter

The winter of Endless Snow is continuing here in New York City. The slushy, slippery, icy eight inches that fell on Monday produced ankle deep puddles requiring the wearing of all-terrain footwear. That dump set a record for February 3. Rah.  Maybe I mean:

Me: Blah already.

Milton's photo of City Hall Park looking pretty, but looks are deceiving. This is white Hell.

Milton’s photo of City Hall Park looking pretty, but looks are deceiving. This is white Hell.

Back in the day when I was a youngster growing up in foggy San Francisco, I had mental issues: I longed for snow. I yearned to touch it and ached to play in it. I fantasized about forming fluffy snowballs and building snowmen. But, I was stuck living in a place where all the seasons were moderate save for a few days in September when the Mercury might top 85. My family would grouse about the day or two of heat as if we were being held hostage in the Sahara. Then, in the distance, the familiar sight of a fog bank would roll over the bay into the city, my hair would morph back into a giant cloud of frizz, I would return to wearing a heavy wool sweater under my coat and all would be right in the world again.

Now I’m a middle age-ster haunted by one of my father’s favorite sayings:

Dad: Everything in moderation, nothing in excess.

At last count, he doled out that unsolicited slice of advice to my siblings and me 3,457 times until I had a light bulb when I was a teenager.

Me: Dad, if that’s true, then you’re excessively moderate.

He did not have a quick comeback to that unsolicited slice of snark.

Fast-forward to 1982 and my first winter living in New York. I was a film student at New York University who had no comprehension about how cold an East Coast winter could be. On a weekday in early December, I experienced my first snowfall. I looked out my dorm room window and was delighted to see snow falling softly. I raced outside with a few friends and ventured over to Washington Square Park. It did not take long for me to realize that snow felt exactly like crushed ice. I had a delusion that it would feel cottony soft and not so cold. In fact, cold was never a factor in my snowy fantasies. Snow is very cold. Freezing cold. So cold in fact, it burns. About an hour, or maybe it was just six minutes of getting familiar with my first New York City snowfall, snow starting getting old. Real fast. My fingers hurt, my toes and nose were frozen. My love affair with snow turned into the equivalent of a quickie without a kiss in a fleabag hotel.

Fast-forward to the present and this winter of seemingly endless snow. I looked out my window Monday morning and again saw the now familiar sight of sloppy wet flakes softly falling. I thought a rhetorical variation of my father’s old adage:

Me (thinking): This winter and all this snow is so excessive! Where the hell’s the moderation?

As if one can reason with weather. I got ready and raced outside to catch the subway to The Grind. I walked at my usual pace, a maniacal clip just short of eliciting a coronary. When I entered the station, the electronic message board announced that an express train was pulling up to the platform at that very moment. I hightailed down the steps and slithered into a jam-packed car just before the doors closed. I was pressed against the door with five other passengers intimately wedged against me as the train lurched forward. In incredibly uncomfortable situations like these, I remind myself that if everyone were naked, it would be ten thousand times worse. Then, my glasses fogged and I rode blind all the way to Times Square. At Times Square, when the doors opened, I stumbled out and shot across the platform to a local train that I rode the rest of the way. When I emerged from underground I walked the quarter block to my place of employ at warp speed to further escape the weather’s wrath. I proceeded to spend the entirety of my day safely tucked away behind bars, every so often looking out the window and hoping my commute home would not be screwed up by that bitch goddess, Mother Nature.

View from The Grind.

View from The Grind.

Winter has so lost its magic. Another eight inches could fall on Wednesday and a third dump this week is forecast for Sunday. How I’d love to ship this precipitation to the Sierra Nevada mountains for drought-stricken California.

Trees outside the 72nd Street subway station: look don't touch.

If I was still five, I’d want to eat that snow on the fence.

Frosted trees outside the 72nd Street subway station.

Frosted trees outside the 72nd Street subway station.

Island on 73rd Street I visit frequently.

Island on 73rd Street I visit frequently without sunblock.

Look but don't touch.

Pretty branches that will lose their luster when they break under the weight of this snow and the photographer gets killed.

Frozen bike with missing seat; maybe it's warming up indoors?

Frozen bike with missing seat; maybe it’s warming up indoors?

No obvious bags stuck in these trees.

No bags obviously stuck in these trees.

Sugar coated block - right.

Sugar coated block and marshmallow topped cars: sure.

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93 responses to “Lame Adventure 407: Bottomless Pit of Winter

  1. Love it… My location south of you missed it by a few miles…

    Good luck during the next round!

    R.

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  2. Your propaganda screed seeking to cast doubt on the reality of Global Warming is deeply unappreciated. Those PhotoShopped images of sunny New York will not pass muster with your CGI-sophisticated audience. Go back to your Communist masters and inform them that their disinformation campaign has not worked.

    Thank you.

    – MJM

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  3. Crisco. Or maybe Mazola.

    That might make a subway car jam-packed with nekkid people be 10,000 times less gross.

    You forgot to mention the intermediate white shit-storm scheduled for Wednesday.

    Signed Al Roker

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  4. But it’s so beautiful and quite peaceful when it falls. Those pictures are fabulous.
    ( I’m doing my best not to be cranky here)

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  5. Your analogy to the quickie without a kiss in a fleabag hotel is priceless. One would think that MasterCard would pay you for that phrase. We’re expecting ice tonight …. but at least it will look good.

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    • Frank, I think it’s fair to say that I have a much more likely shot with getting in good with MasterCard than getting the stingy LA-hating Powers That Be at WordPress to ever FP me again. Between the cold, the snow, the slush, the puddles and yes, the ice — both the kind you see and the stealth variety that is just waiting to trip you up, what’s next? Frozen locusts? I wish ice would stay where it belongs — in glasses or cones.

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  6. The pics are lovely – absolutely – but the reality – not so much. Anyone who has to walk to work, or take public transport, does not skip to work in delightful admiration of the white stuff. The white stuff doesn’t even stay white. And it usually covers up a layer of ice waiting to drag down us old folk and snap our hips like a dead twig. I heard on the weather news yesterday, that we’re probably looking at lots more snow in February. I’m not thrilled. The snow melts here and reveals some green beneath, giving us hope, and then it falls again and plunges us into despair. The cycle of friggin’ life.

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  7. I grew up in Southern California and longed to live in a place with snow. When I lived in Colorado I finally experienced snow. It was pretty–unless I had to drive in it. Then I hated it. It wasn’t until I moved to Boston did I experience cold, nasty winters. But now I kinda miss them. I know, I’m a lunatic.

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    • Just spend one hour here when it’s cold, snowy, slushy and icy, TB, and you’ll personally take it upon yourself to raise the Concorde from the dead you’ll be in such a hurry to return to London-town.

      And what is it with us California kids longing for this white hell? My mother should have knocked some sense in my head and made me defrost the freezer. Had she done that I would have remained a barnacle to San Francisco. Maybe she had an agenda and wanted me to move far away? What an epiphany! Gee, I wish I could now recoup all that chump change I blew on therapy in the 90s.

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  8. Loved this post start to finish. I think I still romanticize the snow since I’ve lived in Texas most of my life. We keep alternating between ice/30 degree weather, and 70 degree days. It’s confusing. I hope spring comes for you soon, but your pictures were lovely too. My grandma had similar life advice, so I was laughing at your teenage comeback to the moderation theory. My grandma always said, “Moderation in all things, and some things, not at all.” The “not at all” part wasn’t very moderate, but it seems wise to me still. :)

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    • Awwwwwwwwww, thanks Rachelle! (And thanks for the retweet, buddy; I’ll thank you properly when I’m on Twitter later this evening.) I think I’m too much of a weather weenie to cope with wildly fluctuating temperatures. At least the seasons out here pretty much dissolve one into the other. In about six weeks spring will be here, everything will start to bloom and I’ll be sneezing my head off. Oh joy!

      I think your grandma and my dad would have been buds.

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  9. oh i wish it was actual marshmallows and not snow on top of cars. that would be much more enjoyable.
    One more thing, we’re getting more snow in Chicago over the next couple of days so YOU’RE NEXT! bahhhahahahaa!

    xo
    j

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  10. Yes, snow can get on one’s nerves, especially after it starts to melt, turns black and brown and then becomes nasty puddles. But your shots here are beautiful, V. It’s snowing here today and we’ve gotten a lot this past week. So much so, that the Crossfire is staying safely in her fire-cave until further notice. Meanwhile, Peter’s trusty Subaru is getting a workout as are my Uggs!

    Great post! Oh yes, and it is certainly possible to be excessively moderate! I bet you did stopped your dad in his tracks with that one. Glimpses of the future author of Lame Adventures. Who knew?

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    • I’m sure if a car could talk, Cathy, your Crossfire would be the first to say, “You’re walking there, friend, because I’m sure not driving in that frozen hell!” It’s comforting to know you’re a proven sports car whisperer. Yeah, mini-V was a lot like maxi-V, just thinner and about 40 years younger. Lame Adventures plagued me even while in utero (my mom took a monumental tumble down a flight of stairs about five months into my gestation but I held on)so this site was as inevitable as death, taxes, and middle age weight gain.

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    • Me and the sports car are definitely simpatico, V. While I love to drive her, I know when not to take her out. Basically, it’s when the snow gets higher than her ground clearance, which is about three inches.

      I’m very glad that you held on during that stair adventure and that you persisted in birthing Lame Adventures. I truly look forward to your weekly posts! It’s so nice to get the updates on life in the Big Apple from your perspective.

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      • I suppose this incident proves that my tenacity started at a very early age. Thanks for appreciating my staying power. I saw on the news the other night that road salt can damage the underside of a car. Absolutely keep your charming roadster nestled safely in the garage, Cathy!

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  11. The thought of all those neked people in the subway car left a horrible image in my tiny pea brain. Then someone mentioned lubricating them and it got worse. One thing is for certain, we can expect an upswing in birth rates come next October & November.

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  12. First things first. I’m shocked to see you are held behind bars as you toil at The Grind! I had NO idea! I’m convinced you have kept this from Milton too. Do you have to wear orange coveralls too? I’m concerned and wonder if we, your loyal followers, should be planning some sort of escape for you. Seriously.
    Sometimes winter is hell and makes us wonder what Mother Nature is thinking (love the Bitch Goddess name-calling!). It appears she could be stuck in the worst menopausal hot flash ever, desperate for relief.
    On the positive side, snowfalls make for beautiful photo ops (at least before they turn to grey slush) so thanks for sharing yours. That last shot and description are photo challenge winners! I’m glad you aren’t five and considering eating the snow off that metal fence or you might end up with your tongue stuck to it, as I did when I was five.
    Hang in there and keep sending us gems like the fleabag hotel line. SO good!

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    • Patricia, my “jailer”, Elspeth, loathes the color, orange. Therefore, I’m clad in black fleece which can coincidentally feel exactly like being stuffed inside a 1500° F (800° C) jet engine should a hot flash occur, not to give the impression that I have had a scosh of personal experience with the M-word or that my 25-year-old sidekick, Godsend, has ever poached an egg off the top of my boiling head. I agree with you that snowfalls do make for beautiful photo ops. This morning while hustling to the train it looked gorgeous, but I was already running late and had no time to snap any shots. But since this is the winter of Endless Snow, I suspect I will have more opportunities in the days/weeks/month ahead.
      I hope your tongue made a full recovery and you did not sacrifice any taste buds to that fence!

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  13. Your father was wise.

    “…it would be ten thousand times worse. Then, my glasses fogged…” LOL
    Crisco or Mazola would leave people in a heaped mass. Oh the humanity!

    Some of those pictures are lovely. But, it can go away soon. Cold here in IA with snow on the way. I empathize. :-)

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  14. We can see that deep down you appreciate the beauty of it. Gorgeous photos!

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  15. I feel your pain. This winter has been too much – too much snow and much too cold for my liking. We’ve been getting snow for several days. Not big dumps but constant flurries to coat the ice on the sidewalks and require continual shovelling. I heard that 10% of our postal carriers are out with ice related injuries. And I always thought that would be a good job… Glad you’ve worked out a route to minimize your exposure! Stay warm.

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    • Terri, I’m a big fan of minimum exposure to misery unless it’s Happy Hour. Then, I find myself getting (ahem) spiritual. In my next life, I want to come back as a pampered cat like your beloved Kush.

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      • Good idea. She knows it would be crazy to go out in miserable weather so she doesn’t even approach the door. Today’s been a particularly sleepy day for her. Lucky cat.

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        • It’s amazing what an adorable cat can get away with, Terri! If I followed Kush’s lead, and curled up under my desk at The Grind for a snooze, I’d never hear the end of it from The Boss. Kush is indeed not only a lucky cat, but lucky to be YOUR cat. I feel like in my past life I must have been a sewer rat. The upgrade to human isn’t much to crow about these wicked winter days.

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  16. I could live with snow if I had a chalet filled with grappa, forest animals trained to forage for my food and nowhere to be. Unfortunately, I have none of those things, and too many hours logged with the shovel this year. Let’s collectively meditate (I accidentally typed medicate first.. we can do that too) on warmer days ahead.

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    • RG, I could really get into your idyllic snowbound scenario. If life could only be like that! I’m also imagining that the forest animals talk and more than a few speak fluent Brooklynese. That’s a great idea that we medicate on warmer days ahead, maybe do so with a shot or two of grappa floating in a brandy snifter.

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  17. Love the imagery of you being flung out of the subway with foggy glasses! Haaaa I have been there my friend! Oh and by the way this possible snowstorm forecast for Sunday is gonna screw up my birthday pu pu platter at Chan’s Dragon Inn not to mention my beverage of choice, a gin laced hula hula!!!!!

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    • Yeah, Max, I bounced all the way across the platform and not a single galumph stepped on me. How’s that for expert zigging and zagging? I think I have this commuting thing down at last.

      Maybe you should celebrate your Hula Hula-soaked natal day on Saturday so you can sleep it off on Sunday?

      Your card is in the mail (tomorrow). But you’re going to have to come and get your gift since this year’s b-day does not end in a zero or a five.

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  18. The pics are beautiful, V but I remember those never-ending cold, dark days. It’s always magical and beautiful at first but then, the body and mind crave some light and warmth I think. I’ve talked to family and friends who are experiencing that bone-chilling cold so I won’t tell you what it is here but maybe that’s why people move to warmth when they get older. I’m guessing joints don’t creak and snap as much when oiled with humidity and heat. But, keep in mind that spring and summer will be here soon and it’s pretty sweet there when that happens.

    In the meantime, stay warm and don’t slip on all that bee-you-ti-ful white.

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    • But Brig, my problem with all those places that are warm in winter is that they’re not NYC! If I’m comfortable with nothing to complain about, I’ll be so miserable. I might crawl into a hammock and never crawl out, unless of course, I turn, it twists and I’m tossed out. That feeling of failure would be familiar, but it still won’t be the same as screwing up in my beloved frozen Apple.

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  19. Yeah, I’d love for you to ship your snow to the Sierra as well. As a kid, I also loved snow, but moving to Washington State for a while cured me of that..

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    • My college-kid niece, Sweet Pea, is in Washington State right now, Smak, undergoing the same cure.

      It’s amazing. We can fly a man to the moon, but we can’t ship the overabundance of precipitation in the east to the west so even things out. Rube Goldberg could have figured out how to do it with just some knick-knacks, a whirligig (or three) and a strategically placed boot and bucket. FYI: Goldberg was born in San Francisco, but lived his adult life in New York. What a guy.

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      • Where does your niece go to school? I’m not a stalker (or, rather, I should say that my stalking doesn’t come in to this); I’m just curious about these things.

        I didn’t know that tidbit about Rube Goldberg, but it makes clear two things:
        1) Exactly why the man is so associated with intricate traps for catching vermin.
        2) The origins of the pejorative exclamation, “What a rube!”

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  20. When I lived in Boston the worst commutes were in the winter when you had to be all bundled up to be outside but the T had the heat cranked and I was lodged between other big woolen winter people. Oh and the commutes in the summer when it was hot and humid outside and the T had the heat cranked.

    Still kinda jealous, we are having a dusting today and I want a few inches. Just a few that I can see through the window and admire because playing in the snow is freakin’ cold and cold is annoying.

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    • Mag, cold is annoying, but several feet of snow carpeting the region is even more annoying. In December, my bud, Coco’s pre-k nephew, coincidentally called, Coco’s Nephew, was pining for an igloo for Christmas. Now whenever that kid steps outside in Brooklyn, he is surrounded with mountains of igloo building materials. I am expecting her to tell me soon that he’s been shipped south to his grandparents place for swimming and sun.

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  21. Fabulous photos, LA. A Winter Wonderland indeed – unless you are living in it, of course! It starts to become a pain when it goes on and on. Over here, we’ve only been threatened with snow in the weather forecasts – they’re predictably wrong quite often at the moment… although large parts of the country now seem to be heading under the sea with the amount of flooding that’s taking place. Snow seems to be giving us a break this year. Hope it clears for you very soon as well…

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  22. I love that last pic. I love the way the snow sparkles in the light and how ice storms cover the trees as if liquid glass were poured over them. I used to absolutely detest winter but I find that if I try to appreciate the beauty of winter, it’s a lot more tolerable. :-)

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    • I hear you, Wendy. The snow looks lovely on the tree branches until they start giving from the weight and someone gets killed. Hopefully not me or any of my friends. It’s been a slushy day filled with icy slop. My commute into The Grind was a nightmare because the power was out on my subway line. I’m more than ready for regular weather ugliness now.

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  23. I have to admit the wet snow is pretty when it lines the trees, but then it’s terrible when the branches break off.
    This morning’s commute was just terrible…for my co-workers…but somehow I got to work before the power outage on the 2/3. The advantage of being the early bird. :)

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    • I was one of those saps that reaped the misery of the 2/3 outage that extended to the 1 as well. My 70 minute commute in, a commute that normally takes 25 minutes tops, looked just like today’s weather — sloppy and miserable. I had to trudge over to the C, but at least I scored a seat. Rah.

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  24. Nice that your snow so cooperatively stopped long enough for the Seahawks to win the superbowl!

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  25. Weather always looks worse when you view it from inside. But getting out in that kind of slop just reinforces one thing: snow is cold. I grew up in a place that had 6 months of winter, that you had to shovel the snowbank that camouflaged your car, and where you developed that half-walk, half-skate to maneuver sidewalks. Still, as soon as it gets chillier here (with a good wallop of arctic wind) I feel angry. And compromised. And I crank the heat and grumble for a few days til it passes. Hope you are released from those icy clutches sooner than later.

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  26. I love the photos. Snow is wonderful for the first few hours, and then it becomes something to be tolerated and overcome. Your snow comes over here as rain, and Britain is steadily submerging. I calculate that by next Friday we will all need to be evacuated to France.

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  27. “…hoping my commute home would not be screwed up by that bitch goddess, Mother Nature.” Ha! You crack me up! Sorry your love affair with snow ended so quickly. I imagine the snow does suck if see truckloads of it at single-digit temperatures.

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    • Yeah, you’ve got that right, Guat! It’s cold, everything is frozen, and where it’s not frozen, it’s slushy. Then, when it starts to melt away, we get hit with yet another dump.

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