Wednesday, February 15, 2006

P.S. About the Snow

My rhapsodizing about the snow last weekend was a bit premature. Don't get me wrong, it was beautiful while falling, but I forgot about the post-blizzard experience in New York. Stage One occurs in Brooklyn, and entails having to crawl over bluffs to get around the neighborhood. Stage Two moves the action to midtown, where traffic (of the footed and wheeled variety) quickly reduces the sterling white blanket to yet another toxic byproduct of this city -- in this case, a green-brown slurry that looks like the ungodly creation of a one-night stand between a snow cone machine and the men's room at the Subway Inn on 60th and Lexington.

The third and final stage brings us back here to the neighborhood tonight, where, while on the phone with a friend, I heard some ominous noises outside. I opened the shutter of my third-floor window to a tableau that looked lifted straight from an alien-conspiracy video. The street had been closed off and several large vehicles were conducting a slow, complicated dance -- two or three were loading trucks, and the others were orange snow plows with bright lights on extended stalks, as if the arrival of giant mechanical lobsters was the unforeseen final stage of Park Slope's gentrification.

These monstrosities were performing a task I had seen once before, downtown following another large storm a couple of years ago. They were picking up bucketfuls of snow from the curb, as if two feet of trash bags had fallen from the sky on Sunday, and then depositing it in the other trucks. Presumably, the receiving trucks then drive the snow to Florida, where it melts.

I appreciate that whatever quantity is removed will not be around for its transformation into the aforementioned slurry, but there's something decidedly unsettling about watching the machine-orchestrated removal of still-intact snow under cover of night. (It reminds me of a comment made by Andy, a friend and roommate in college, who, describing a zoo in his home state of Arizona, said, "A polar bear eating fish in Arizona in July. That's not nature.") In short, if there's going to be two feet of snow on the ground, I'd prefer to live in a place where it's left largely unmolested. I suppose you can't have it all.

(Ed. note: ASWOBA highly and unironically recommends the Subway Inn for both the recreational and professional drinker. Just try to hold it in until you leave.)


Anonymous lfw said...

actually, they dump the snow in the river (i forget which--maybe both). reason #682 not to want to swim in nyc waterways.

12:23 PM  

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