New York’s Big Snowstorm Of 1948

December 19, 1948 – Times Square 8:53 pm

On this day 63 years ago, 19.6 inches of snow blanketed the city.  Here is Times Square in the midst of this snowstorm with only a few pedestrians and cars visible. Because it was a Sunday, traffic was light and the city was able to prepare and battle the storm efficiently. Mayor William O’Dwyer had a force of 18,340 men to remove the snow and keep the city running.

To the disappointment of children on Monday, New York City schools were open.

Looking north from the Times Building we see on the left The Paramount Building with the Paramount Theatre’s marquee lights casting an extreme white glow and on the next block The Hotel Astor. On the right are two iconic neon advertising signs; one for Camel cigarettes between 43rd and 44th Streets and the other for Bond Clothiers between 44th and 45th Streets.

The Bond sign contained nearly two miles of neon and had two fifty foot nude figures at each end, one male and one female. A huge recirculating waterfall between the two figures topped off this amazing advertising sign which was in place from 1948-1954.

24 thoughts on “New York’s Big Snowstorm Of 1948

  1. Martin Yablansky

    I was born on December 29 1948 in Brooklyn.. later on my mother would tell me about the snow storm

  2. Kathleen Worthington

    I was 10 years old we lived in the La Guardia Housing Classon Point, The Bronx. There was so much snow that it came up to my brothers window on the 2nd. floor. Living in Florida now.

  3. Marc Siegrist

    My father Henry W. arrived on the Queen Mary that day in 1948 from England. He walked about 5 miles to his hotel on 70th street and Lexington Ave. He was born in Switzerland and had moved to England the year before. He eventually met my mother, who was born in Manhattan of German immigrants. That was the beginning of our family heritage here in the USA.

  4. Jonathan Berk

    My grandfather Samuel Berk died of a heart attack after shoveling out of this snowstorm the following day, in Manhattan Beach, Brooklyn. My father was 7 years old. This is the first time I’ve seen a picture of the storm — thank you. RIP.

    1. Joel Friedman

      Hi Jonathan,
      My great Grandfather Joseph Berkman had a son Samuel born 1885 married Deborah Kaplan19 Jul 1918 in New York. His mother was Fannie Bluestone. I am researching the history of the Berkman family. Samuel was known in the family to have shortened his name to Berk. I just wondered if your grandfather Samuel could have been my great uncle. Please let me know if any of this is familiar or you need more information. Contact was lost with him many, many years ago.
      thank you,

  5. Robert Ackert

    I was ten years old, my mother a telephone operator in White Plains got off after midnight and walked 5 miles home in the blizzard. I’ll never forget. One year later we moved to florida.. Don’t miss snow.

  6. Robert Ackert

    I was ten years old and my mother was at work(Bell telephone )neighbor came and got us. Mother walked home for miles in that storm at night She was special

  7. Chuck Vlcek

    I have a photo of me on a sled in Newark, NJ among mounds of snow, labeled “winter 1948-49” — I was not quite 4 years old at the time. I had heard about the December 1947 storm but that didn’t square with the date of the photo, so I did a search for 1948-49 and came across this. I do remember watching it snow all day, when I was sick in bed with tonsillitis. So now I know the date of the storm.

  8. Rosy

    On Saturday, January 23,2016 My daughter Darcy and her fiancé Brendan (now husband) got married during the storm. Amazing what love can do and nothing can stop it.

  9. mel winters

    about 12 yrs old in 1948 and living in rockaway beach-nyc sanitation hired us to shovel at the astronimacal rate of $1.00 per hour for a 12 hour day!! in those days a fortune.

  10. Richard Feldmann

    I was 9 during the blizzard of ’48 living on Shore Road in Brooklyn. I thought I had died and gone to heaven because no only was there no school but the plows covered all the vehicles on both sides of 93d st creating club houses when the cars left. Also, the steep slopes leading to Ft. Hamilton Park were turned into Flexible Flyer heaven and the more adventurous schussboomers risked life and limb at the urging of their girlfriends.

  11. James reilly

    I was 14 years old and I lived on shakespeare avenue in the Bronx. I remember having to walk to school on Monday and I always remind by children, when they complain about a little snow, about the storm of ’48. They still think I’m making all up. A little like the guy who tells his kids in his days they had to walk 5 miles to school, up hill both ways.

  12. Patricia DeCurtis

    I was almost 4 years old and my brother was 5. We lived in Queens Village and I remember photo’s of my Dad and Brother and me and the dog in the snow. We made a big igloo in the front yard and had fun climbing in and out of it. What fun.

  13. John Congemi

    I was 4 1/2 years old, living in Middle Village, Queens. We got more than 19.6″ in Queens. Plus it seemed like more because it was over my head. We watch our home movies from time to time. We had to poke holes to find our car.

  14. Robert douglas

    My father was on the last train that could get out of Grand Central to Scarsdale that day. The car was snowed in at the train station so he had to walk home in his suit and good shoes accompanied by a bottle of whiskey.

  15. Charles H Nadler

    I was 8 years old, living in Bayside, Queens. A friend called me up and asked if I wanted to shovel snow. I said yes and we shoveled walks in our neighborhood and made a lot of money for 8 year olds!

  16. Elena Paperny

    My parents were married just the day before, and my mother remembered that snowstorm for many years afterwards. They spent the first week of their honeymoon that year in the Hotel New Yorker, and would have celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary last December. I miss them.

  17. George Sharman

    I was not-quite 4 years old, living in Franklin Square, which, as I recall, got 16 inches of snow. After shoveling, it was over my head in my vivid memories.

  18. William J. Voigt

    I was 4 years old when this storm hit. We were moving from Queens Villiage NY to Brooklyn. We got to the 168th st and Jamaica Ave station in Queens and took the el train to Eastern Pkwy in Brooklyn. There we paid a man $20 (big bucks back then)to take us by car to our new home on Knickerbocker Ave. I will never forget that trip.

  19. Arnie Grossman

    I was 10 years old during the blizzard of ’48. I vividly remember going out with my father during the afternoon of the blizzard and walking about 6 – 7 blocks to the Prospect Movie House in the Bronx. I recall walking behind my father, probably in his footsteps, with the wind howling and a complete “white out”. We saw Disney’s Cinderella (the original one) and then had to walk home.
    This is one of my earliest memories and will stay with me forever


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