A Photographic Essay of New York City’s Great Blizzard of 2016
One year ago, on the afternoon of Friday, January 22, 2016 snow began to fall in New York City. Nothing new there, but it kept snowing and it didn’t stop snowing until late Saturday night.
Late morning Saturday, January 23, when snow was falling as fast as three inches per hour, it was time to go outside.
This was the scene.
Madison Avenue is nearly deserted. Few people and little traffic.
There is absolutely no traffic on the FDR Drive.
Here is Fifth Avenue looking north from 72nd Street. Only one car is parked on the avenue and an ambulance in the distance is the sole vehicle navigating the treacherous driving conditions.
Tell me again: how long will parking be suspended for?
People brave the storm, venture outside and pause to take in the natural beauty of Carl Schurz Park.
No one is sitting on the park benches today at Carl Schurz Park on East 86th Street.
Left of the pole of John Finley Walk, the lighthouse on Roosevelt Island can be glimpsed. John Finley was president of City College from 1903-1913 and he used to walk everywhere in Manhattan…even in the snow. How much has the snow drifted here? The wall that holds the railing overlooking the East River is over two feet high,
Henderson Court looks a bit like Victorian London…if you can block out the luxury building in the background.
Most businesses have decided to close.
This is one of the few stores that are open. But what type of store is it? If only you could see inside!
And no matter what the conditions are like in New York City, there always seems to be a diner that decides to stay open.
Some people have decided this is one of the few times it is safe to walk in the street.
At Bethesda Fountain snow is falling at the rate of about 2 inches an hour. The adventurous are drawn to beautiful Central Park.
As the snow keeps piling up, Central Park coaxes lovers outside.
The weather doesn’t affect the “Boy Mayor” of New York, John Purroy Mitchel and his memorial plaque very much.
No one is immune from getting stuck in the snow, even the NYPD. But New Yorkers are always willing to lend a helping hand or in this case a push.
If it’s snowing you can be sure that old and young alike will bring out sleds to slide down one of the many hills in Central Park.
During its first 3,500 years in Egypt the obelisk never encountered snow. Since 1881 when it was moved to Central Park, the obelisk has experienced countless snowstorms and 15 inches or more of snow, 23 times.
At this point it was snowing very heavily, and Scottish poet and novelist Sir Walter Scott looked as though he was unsuccessfully trying to bundle up.
“And snow comes thick at Christmas tide,
And we can neither hunt, nor ride
A foray on the Scottish side”
A day like this could have prompted fellow Scottish poet Robert Burns to write these lines from, Winter: A Dirge.
“The sweeping blast, the sky o’ercast,
The joyless winter-day,
Let others fear, to me more dear
Than all the pride of May”
Christopher Columbus joyously celebrating the snow.
And while statues remain still…
Crowds descend on the The Mall. People would come…
and people would go.
When the park was crowded and visibility was poor because the snow was coming down so fast, the scene reminded me of an impressionist painting.
You could walk up to the base of The Angel of the Waters statue in Bethesda Fountain and make a snowball.
Or look at the serenity of Bow Bridge over the snow and ice covered lake.
With the snow falling on Bow Bridge and with no buildings in sight, you could envision what Central Park looked like in the 19th century.
The delicate latticework on one of the park’s bridges framed a picturesque view of a pathway.
20 inches of snow had already fallen and drifts had formed making many of The Mall’s benches completely hidden.
Outside Central Park, 72nd Street was empty from end to end as a travel ban was in effect.
If the owner of this car finds it under all this snow, they will have the unenviable task of digging it out.
The storm eventually ended late at night. The blizzard dumped a record setting 27.5 inches of snow in Central Park. Depending on where you measured in New York City, some areas reported over 30 inches of snow.
The next day, things returned to normal and thousands of people came out to enjoy the sun and snow.
Everyone was happy…except those who had not moved their cars.