Tag Archives: blizzard

Lame Adventure 453: The Lone Yam of Winter Storm Juno

On Monday morning, while at The Grind, I looked out the window and saw what appeared to be a typical winter weather event. It was steadily snowing, but it was not a monumental amount. By afternoon, my phone was beeping dire warnings about the blizzard to come, but the worst was expected after 10 P.M. Then I heard that the subway system was beginning to experience signal malfunctions causing delays. That was when the usual stress-reducing mantra playing on a loop in my head switched from “bippity-boppity-harmony-hula” to:

Me: I wanna get the hell outta here.

With my usual diplomatic aplomb I approached my boss, Elspeth:

Me: Are we going to close or what? Cut us loose before the subway stops running!

Twenty minutes later, we closed at 3:30. My commute home was basically normal. I even got a seat on the train. When I exited the uptown express at 72nd Street, it was still snowing steadily, and it was windy and bitterly cold. I snapped a few shots of how the streets looked before the arrival of Snowmageddon 2015, figuring I might not step outside again for 24 hours.

West 72nd Street subway station under snowy skies.

West 72nd Street subway station under snowy skies.

Looking up Broadway from West 73rd Street.

Looking up Broadway from West 73rd Street.

As I walked up Broadway, the checkout line at my go-to grocer’s, Fairway, streamed out onto the street. Last minute shoppers were stocking up on provisions to see them through the storm; something I had done the day before. I picked up an extra banana. A guy exiting was hoisting a 48-pack of 24-ounce water bottles on his shoulder. That’s 72 pounds, within average range of the birth weight of a calf. I reflected that I also had 24-ounce water bottles in my refrigerator. Five of them. My seven and a half pounds of water equaled the approximate weight of five squirrels. I was not worried about running out. If I did, I could polish off my wine and the bottle of French champagne I’ve been saving to share with someone willing to do French champagne-worthy activities with me. At the rate my love life’s been going, that someone just might be a drunk squirrel.

Not wanting to duplicate the mistakes of past officials, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York’s Governor, Andrew Cuomo, were the oracles of doom and gloom. This tag team shuttered the lifeline of New York City, the entire transit system, at 11 P.M. on Monday.

It's official: no subway trains!

It’s official: no subway trains!

Motorists, including taxicabs, were ordered off the road. Broadway shows did not go on; movie theaters, restaurants, bars and businesses read the memo and closed early. At eleven o’clock Monday night, the city that never sleeps voluntarily went to bed early.

When I woke on Tuesday morning around eight, I looked out my window to assess the damage. Aside from the pile of snow that greeted me both outside and inside my windowsill, it didn’t look that bad.

Multi-tasking snow both indoors and out.

Multi-tasking snow both indoors and out.

I’ve even suffered more impressive piles of snow inside my sanctum sanctorum following past storms.

The weather prognosticators tracking winter storm Juno in the tri-state area forecast that New York City was going to get hammered. They predicted that up to three feet of snow could blanket Manhattan and the surrounding four boroughs, crippling the region for days, ensuring this blizzard the number one spot in the record books. But Mother Nature flipped them the bird when she headed forty miles away and pummeled Long Island instead.

I received a notification on my phone that the subway was going back in service on a reduced service.

Yay!

Yay!

Because my commute is easy, I decided to go into The Grind, and pocket a few loyalty or insanity points, depending on your point of view.

If I wasn't a pigeon I'd be inside your apartment watching TV and eating all your rice cakes.

If I wasn’t a pigeon I’d be inside your apartment watching TV and pecking at your rice cakes.

Lower Manhattan subway stop; not the best day to bench sit.

Lower Manhattan subway stop; not the best day to sit on a bench.

When I headed outside, I was reminded that schools were closed.

Easy rider heading to Riverside Park.

Easy rider heading to Riverside Park.

The rose bush made me want to fast forward to May.

Snow covered rose bush of January.

Snow covered rose bush of January.

Sun covered rose bush of May.

Sun covered rose bush of May. I’ll sneeze to that!

I walked up to Broadway, en route to my subway station, and saw that Fairway was open. The long lines were long gone, but if the guy hauling the equivalent of a baby cow in water weight needed Aleve, he had a place to get it. The bins that are normally filled with fruit and vegetables were completely empty.

You want fruit? You want vegetable? Get inside!

You want fruit? You want vegetables? Get inside!

All of the outdoor produce had been stored indoors, but I noticed one holdout: this lone yam. The winner of Survivor: Vegetable.

Super Tuber.

Super Tuber.

Hopefully, this frozen spud did not end up in the trash and it will soon be featured in some Upper West Sider’s hearty wintertime dinner.

"I know a great way to stay warm! Can we have your bottle of French champagne?"

“We know a great way to have fun in the snow! Can we have your bottle of French champagne?”

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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.

Lame Adventure 402: Snow in SoHo

Possibly it is just I, but maybe you are also familiar with that sentimental song about dreaming of a white Christmas. Funny how the crooning masses are mute about singing sappy praises for a nightmare blizzard after the calendar page turns to January. Consider this:

Crooning Masses: White Christmas — Yea!

Brooding Masses: White New Year’s — Nay!

But here we are, approaching 72 hours into 2014, and the East Coast is getting pummeled with a ferocious blast of winter. My Grind shuttered at 3:30 on Thursday. I will not return until Monday — in defiance of the rumor that mentally I vacated the premises in 2007 never to return.

On my way home, I made a pit stop at my grocery store for organic fruit and vegetables, even though what I craved most was a stiff 80 proof libation. Then I returned to my hovel intent on burrowing for the remainder of the evening that I spent emailing and texting my pal, Coco. As the hour approached eight bells and two stifled belches, I paused in the midst of a fascinating as watching water boil exchange about the ninth wonder of the world, antacid, to inquire if she could see what the weather was like outside her window? Oh, could she!

What follows is a series of images Coco shot in lower Manhattan south of Houston Street, a street that rhymes with mouse-ton to you non-New Yorkers. This area is commonly referred to as SoHo. Bundle up and enjoy the tour.

Fluffy snow on fire escape.

Fluffy snow on fire escape.

Cue the Drifter's singing "Up On the Roof" or maybe not.

Cue the Drifter’s singing “Up On the Roof” or maybe not.

Trump Soho in the windy snow. Yes, as in The Donald.

Trump Soho in the windy snow. Yes, as in The Donald.

Take in the cat. Leave out the bike.

Take in the cat. Leave out the bike.

Vesuvio playground table when not occupied with chess playing.

Vesuvio Playground table when not occupied with chess or checkers players; games devoted to sitting.

Vesuvio playground swimming pool missing summer sun.

Vesuvio Playground swimming pool on one of its less than better days (or nights).

Snow burrito.

Obviously a snow burrito.

Dominique Ansel Bakery a.k.a. the home of the cronut. Will the line form at 5 am on this night?

Dominique Ansel Bakery a.k.a. the home of the cronut. Will the line form at 5 am on this morning?

Cycling in half-mile visibility.

Cycling in half-mile visibility — not on my bucket list.

Still festive on Thompson Street.

Still festive on Thompson Street. They didn’t get the memo that it’s a miserable night.

New York's other finest: frozen trash.

New York wintertime specialty: frozen trash!

Nearly deserted Houston Street decorated with curbside discarded Christmas tree.

Nearly deserted Houston Street decorated with  Christmas tree discarded curbside.

Candidates for Rustoleum.

Poster children for Rustoleum.

Action shot: blowing snow.

Action shot: blowing snow.

Houston Street snow in the spotlight.

Houston Street snow in the spotlight.

Someone call child welfare and throw a blanket on that kid!

Someone call child welfare and throw a blanket on that kid!

This bike has seen better days.

This bike has seen better days.

White cab on white street.

White cab blending into white street.

Wicked wind -- get inside Coco!

Wicked wind — get inside now Coco!

Since I am under self-imposed house detention, Coco and I might collaborate on a part two later today — if she is willing to don a face sock and brave the elements twice. I am confident that I can handle the heavy lifting of downloading and captioning her images in the confines of my warm and cozy uptown abode.

Lame Adventure 359: The Idiot’s Response to Winter Storm Nemo

As many already know the Northeast was ruthlessly pummeled by an ugly winter storm with the adorable name, Nemo.

The facts of Nemo (chart from The New York Times).

The facts of Nemo (chart from The New York Times).

I woke Saturday morning, looked outside my Upper West Side brownstone’s window, and saw that the back yard was inundated with snow for the first time in almost two years. A tree that I had never seen before in my life was hanging on a fence.

Look closely, some romantic drew a heart in the snow on a table.

Look closely, some romantic drew a heart in the snow on the table at the bottom of this image.

I mentioned this mystery tree in an email exchange with my devoted reader, Mike G. He suggested:

Mike G. email: Tree may have come from Long Island. It was very windy.

Me email: Yeah, I was thinking Jersey.

Mike G. email: Wind was coming from ocean. Definitely Nassau County.

With the fallen mystery tree situation solved I decided to venture outside to assess the snowfall up close and personally. Unlike other areas along the Eastern seaboard, New York City escaped the storm with a mere dusting. Only 11.4 inches of snow were measured in Central Park, not what had accumulated overnight in the two abandoned shopping carts from my go-to market, Fairway.

The Lame Adventure method of measuring snowfall in Manhattan.

The Lame Adventure method of measuring snowfall in Manhattan.

As expected, life was relatively normal in my neighborhood, as normal as can be under a blanket of heavy snow.  Sidewalks were shoveled and West End Avenue was plowed.  There were also the obvious signs that dogs were being walked.

No one eat that.

No one eat that.

Children were sledding in Riverside Park.

Good time to be a kid with a sled.

Good time to be a kid with a sled.

The sky was clear and vibrant blue.

Good time to be the sky.

Good time to be the sky.

There were also some sorry sights including bikes buried deeply, piles of uncollected trash and vehicles that were plowed in.

At least the seat will be dry.

At least the seat will be dry.

Frozen bagged trash waiting for collection.

Frozen bagged trash waiting for collection.

Vehicles on West End Avenue manageably plowed in.

Vehicles on West End Avenue plowed in to a manageable degree.

Digging out this vehicle on a side street might induce a heart attack.

Digging out this vehicle on a side street might induce a heart attack.

It is unclear when the sanitation department will surface to pick up the piles of trash that were put out for collection Friday in anticipation of the regularly scheduled Saturday morning pick-up. A pick-up that has yet to happen. I can understand why trash is put outside on Friday even though the forecast anticipated this monumental weather event and it was the top story on every newscast, major and minor. There are times when the forecast is wrong, or the Armageddon-type weather event turns out to be flaccid. This robust storm’s forecast was one that the meteorologists nailed. Now, my neighborhood’s streets are strewn with mountains of frozen garbage buried deep in snow.

Partially buried trash for recycling.

Partially buried trash for recycling.

Buried frozen bags of trash are not such an unusual sight in winter, but what I find irksome is the sight of fresh garbage the neighborhood knuckleheads toss over the frozen garbage creating further clutter on city sidewalks.

"Get this mattress out of my sight now!"

“I don’t care that it snowed almost a foot! I want this mattress out of the house now!”

We just had an epic snowstorm that dumped nearly a foot of snow on the city. Is it really necessary to respond to it with taking out the esoteric junk lying around the apartment right now, this very minute?  The esoteric junk owners likely had this stuff for years already.

"Put this table out when the neighbor's aren't looking."

“Put this table out when the neighbor’s aren’t looking.”

What’s so traumatic about keeping it inside and out of sight another few days, or at least until trash collection returns to regularly scheduled programming? I’m all for de-cluttering, but I’m also capable of resisting the urge to hold off on doing my spring-cleaning until spring, or even holding off doing it until spring 2014. What’s the rush? Clearing out the clutter the morning after a major winter weather event strikes me as just Type A, for asshole.

"Hey look, I found Granny's old wheelchair! Put it outside or what?"

“Hey look, I found Granny’s old wheelchair! Put it outside or what?”

Lame Adventure 142: Après Christmas

I am still vacationing in Marin County, thousands of miles away from blizzard smothered Manhattan, where I refuse to worry too much about leaving the window open in my humble abode …

Usual view outside my window following a blizzard. I hope this is not the same view inside my apartment at this moment.

As soon as the clock struck midnight Christmas Day, while I was assisting my sister, Dovima, with setting up presents and as I imagined falling thunderously into the fireplace, waking the entire household and setting off the dog, Thurber, I sneezed four times.  Sixteen minutes later, I sneezed twice more.

Always looking for trouble Thurber.

Fortunately, as we opened gifts later that morning, my sneezing took a reprieve, but it returned with a vengeance at 10:47 am when I sneezed an additional twenty-five times through the course of Christmas proper until I exhausted my supply of sneezes at 11:01 pm.  As I sneezed a final three times at that moment, this exertion prompted my sister to ask:

Dovima:  What was that a million?

Me (disappointed):  That was only 31 for today.  At least I made it to thirty.

Dovima:  Now you can shoot for forty.

My niece, Sweet Pea, found this exchange hilarious.

I have been counting my sneezes since my birthday last May 4th, and I intend to count them through May 3rd since I start what I finish, no matter how inane, useless and absurd.   With the 31 I accrued on Christmas day, I am up to 372.  Après Christmas I have returned to a modest number of sneezes again, four on Sunday and zero thus far today.

Dovima was baffled why I had such a sneezy Christmas.  The house is clean.  Tangy, the cat, lives outdoors which is great for me since I am deathly allergic to the kitties, but if there was one cat I’d love to pet, it’s super cool Tangy.

Mellow Tangy keeping warm on my brother-in-law's carhood.

Thurber, Tangy’s nemesis, the pampered prince of a dog Tangy finds pathetic, is a hypoallergenic Poovanese (poodle-Havanese mix).  Back in early 2009, then 14-year-old Sweet Pea, either in an act of supreme self-sacrifice or obscene sibling rivalry, was willing to donate Thurber to the Obamas before they adopted Bo.  This was coincidentally during the period when Sweet Pea and Thurber had rather frosty relations.  I am pleased to report that they have since made amends and are now on much better terms.

Best buds Sweet Pea and Thurber chilling together on Facebook.