As a transplant from warmer climes, I would have thought no, but yes, yes, they can. How?
Not all subway lines are below ground. Most of New York's subway lines are underground in Manhattan, but when you get out to Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx, many move above ground. And that's when things get fun.
See, they got this special thingee called the third rail. The train runs on two rails, of course, and the third rail is the one that's electrified and powers the subway car, the lights inside, and pretty much everything that makes it go. So in heavy snow, you've got white, watery, conductive powder stacked up high enough to cover this rail. Which can cause it to short out. Or, with a train coming through, you get a really, really cool free light show. Enjoy.
Times Square almost completely clear of snow. Roads passable. Most transit starting to return to normal. Airlines trying to catch up.
It was New York City's sixth-largest blizzard ever, and it was a blast. For all those who feared my Southern butt was toast, rest assured I handled it fine. In fact, managed to get to the office while most of my Yankee co-workers couldn't make it. Rest assured I gloated about that for a while.
A day after the storm, after everyone here had time to enjoy an extra day home from work, New Yorkers got down to what they do best -- complaining. You'd think Mayor Bloomberg had executed puppies and had them served to him for breakfast the way they're ripping into the city for handling the blizzard.
The most fascinating part of the whole weather event: ThunderSnow! With snow dropping out of the sky Sunday night at 2-3 inches an hour, and winds whipping around 60 miles an hour, there were flashes of light and booms of thunder overhead. Frikkin' bizarre!
Final snowfall tally at our place was 20 inches, although the wind drifted snow over two feet against the front of our building. Figure if I can handle this, I can handle anything Northern weather can throw at me. Bring on winter, you Northern wimps!
Thought I was imagining it when I saw snow down on the tracks of my subway station this morning. Then I found out blowing 70 mile and hour winds and two feet of accumulation meant a lot of stations had snow inside of them.
The final count was 13 inches of snow. In front of our building, the snow is much deeper, since the 60 miler-per-hour winds blew huge drifts up against our building. My first snow in New York City, and the first time I've seen this much snow since my childhood in the hills of Tennessee.
Irony warning: I made it into work this morning. Was the first one in, and 95 percent of the Yankees in my office aren't here. Feeling pretty smug right now, needless to say.
Winds were pretty fierce last night, and you can read on the news of motorists being stranded, people being stuck on train cars for eight hours, etc. As for this hillbilly, got to stomp through theigh-deep snow last night and this morning. Pretty amazing. I'm not in Kansas Georgia anymore.
Here's a few photos of the snow in Central Park this morning, and one of the beagles despertately trying to find a drift where they can go to the bathroom. Major canine confusion, needless to say.
New York City was invaded Saturday by Santas. Lots of them. Tens of thousands of them.
It was the annual Santacon event, and informally organized flashmob where everyone shows up dressed in Santa suits and proceeds to waunder and drink their way around Manhattan for an entire day until they either pass out or score with an elf.
We encountered the Santas as we walked through Central Park on our way to the Wohlman skating rink. We literally crossed paths with thousands of them, slowly milling their way up the hill as they prepared to catch a subway train downtown to the Villages and whatever the next stop their Twitter masters had Tweeted to them.
Some of the rules of Santacon (aside from the always enjoyable "we don't talk about Santacon") from the official website:
"What to expect: Santacon is an annual convention for Santa and his holiday brethren. Expect holiday cheer, unconventional gifts, naughty carols and general mayhem. Do not expect to be entertained: Santa IS the entertainment!
"How to be Santa: Santa doesn’t just wear a cool suit and invade your dad’s liquor cabinet: he also brings gifts! A gift can be a reindeer game, a song, a dance or a joke to entertain Santa and tourists alike."
"How NOT to be Santa: Santa never endangers his reindeer with violence, vandalism, inappropriate groping or theft. Santa never gets SO jolly he needs babysitting. Santa never expects to get away with behavior that an ordinary citizen wouldn’t. It’s not a bar crawl! Every time you call Santacon a bar crawl, a sugarplum fairy dies."
Were the Santas unruly? None that we saw. Most were just plain fun. Many posted for photos with kids and stunned tourists. Groups chanted "HO! HO! HO! HO!" loudly and robustly. Want to get a taste of the mayhem? Enjoy:
If you're over the age of 40, you remember. While I was too young to remember where I was the day JFK was shot, I know exactly where I was the night the world learned that a deranged nothing snuffed out the life of my generation's most strident poet.
Since I live across the street from The Dakota, the famed apartment building where John Lennon lived -- and at whose front gate he was killed -- it's going to be a sad day in the neighborhood. The TV crews were already staking out positions last night at the 72nd Street Gate to Central Park -- positioned right between the front gates to The Dakota and Strawberry Fields, the peace park created just across the way to commemorate John and the goal of world peace he always wished for.
Rather than focus too much on his death, I'm going to try to remember his life. John was, like me, a transplanted New Yorker, not a native. But he grew quickly to love this city, just as I'm quickly growing to love it. He loved its grittiness, its energy. He loved the anonymity that the streets afforded him. I love these things too, but also the city is a much friendlier place than its reputation affords it.
Peace? Not always. But you can find peace here if you search hard enough.
It's been cold the last couple of days in New York -- at least, it's been cold by Southern hillbilly standards.
Had snow flurries this morning while walking the beagles. They didn't seem to notice or care, but I kept revisiting a foreboding comment by one of my neighbors from the day before.
The missus and I spent most of Sunday walking around the city. We took the hounds for a good two-hour romp at the dog park and along Columbus Avenue. Then we shopped and Columbus Circle, checked out a ginerbread house competition (pictures coming tomorrow) and then walked Fifth Avenue from 57th down to Macy's to check out the really cool storefront windows (pictures coming Wednesday!).Then grocery shopping and a final, brutal two-block walk home.
It was cold all day. 32 degrees and a good 10 mph wind in our faces -- no matter which direction we faced. So needless to say, by the time we finally got back to the alcove of our tiny brownstone, we were glad to be out of the wintery elements.
That's when our neighbor rained -- or snowed -- on my parade.
"Pretty cold out there today," I said, puffing out my chest that with a long black coat, scarf and Russian babooshka-style hat I'm managed to handle everything New York City had dished out.