Monday, February 13, 2006

Blizzard lures out secret New Yorkers

26 inches of snow in Central Park reminded me of this story:
I lived, for a while, on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, three blocks from Central Park.
One of the truths of New York City is that no one has extra closet space. No one has a garage. No one has a basement. So owning something bulky that you don't use very much, say a ladder, is almost unheard of.
So imagine my surprise the first time I was in NYC for a good snow storm. About eight inches fell overnight, blanketing the normally grimy city in a downy coat of white. I rushed out at dawn to enjoy the snow in the park before it was all tracked out, figuring I would be one of the only ones out there.
When what to my wondrous eyes should appear, but thousands of skiers in cross-country gear.
In this city of no closets, a crowd of people had somehow been harboring skis for the one or two days a year when they could actually use them. And there they were, gliding along the bridal path, skating through Sheep's Meadow, and sliding down The Ramble.
I had no skis, so I just hiked among them, then went to work.
By noon, the city had chewed up the snow and spit it out in wet, gray clumps.
There was no sign that any ski had ever touched the ground there.
But I'm sure they are out today in a city that, like all great cities, can conceal an infinite store of wonderful things until the right time comes to whip them out.
For a look at a Central Park Cam, click here.
For great pictures of yesterday's snow, click here.

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