Snow day... or not?
Iron Mike, the little Napoleon of New York, seems to have learned his lesson. He didn't make the last act of God disappear right away, a couple of weeks ago, but he's sure trying harder tonight. As I write -- about 11 PM, New York time -- the snow has hardly begun, but the plows are trundling raucously up West End Avenue, under my bedroom window, about every five minutes or so. Amazing how much noise they make. Partly of course this is because at each pass there's maybe a quarter-inch of snow on the pavement, so the plow blade is essentially scraping up the asphalt. A nasty sound.
This is all for the benefit of people in cars, of course, who always think it must be somebody's fault if they can't drive wherever they want to go, any time they might want to go there, at sixty or more miles per hour.
Never having owned a car, my own memories of New York snow days are much happier. I remember West End Avenue unplowed and unplowable -- a Currier & Ives scene, with people scooting on cross-country skis down the big hill from 102d Street to 96th, an exhilarating descent on skis, and hardly noticeable in a car. The parks -- Central and Riverside and van Cortlandt and Prospect -- were an anarchic paradise for snow-play. Now, of course, they plow the paths to a fare-thee-well -- for whom, I wonder? -- and fence off the lawns.
I liked New York better when it was a mess. Then, you only had to worry about the robbers. Now, you have to worry about the cops.