New York: Walking In The Winter Light

It is set free by season and hour, New York. Better bards than I sang of how the City That Never Sleeps changes with the coming of the light, the darkness, and even the winds of winter or the blush of spring.

 

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Forget cabs; snow means walking in NYC.

But it is more than spring’s greening, summer’s heat, or autumn’s cool, it is winter’s snows that changes the city completely. It falls utterly silent: the trains stop running, the taxis park along the street sides. When the blizzard of 2016 hit in January, it was like wand had been waved: New York, after a day longer than any one could ever remember, dropped into a dead sleep. The city was quiet.

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Hell’s Kitchen freezes over.

So naturally, I had to go out and make some noise. It is when everybody else is asleep that some of the best stories come stumbling through the door. So I donned several layers, got my camera (plus waterproof case), and headed out the door to Central Park.

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A ghostly Columbus Circle in the Blizzard of 2016.

I’m always a bit skeptical when it comes to “BLIZZARDS OF THE CENTURY!!!!” Hysteria, I am convinced, is a prerequisite for weathercasters. If they aren’t having a heart attack on-screen, they are not doing their jobs. So when I heard that New York was expecting almost two feet snow, I sort of just yawned over the whole thing. I’ll believe it when I see it, I said.

But I’ll be goddammed if they didn’t get it right this time. It was a virtual white-out. My beard froze over!

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Random Central Park lamppost pic.

But just because New York goes silent doesn’t mean it goes still. Central Park was packed. Photog like me were scouring the grounds for the best vantage points, but people were out with sleds and whatever else they could get to slid down a hillside. It was actually kinda hard to get all those “sleeping city” shots I had set my heart on…

But I got ’em, none the less. The landscape had turned wholly spectral, almost phantasmal. The white-out faded the landscape to the point it looked like the world frayed into nothingness. I had never seen anything like it.

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Looking into the Upper West Side.

The hardest part of the whole adventure was trying to zoom and focus my camera one-handed–I had the camera in one hand, the umbrella braced against the gale-force wind in another. Throw in the fact that I was racing against the setting sun and must have looked like a battering ram barreling through the park. Still, I managed to catch these three pics:

But by the time I got to Strawberry Fields, it was so dark I pretty much was just take photos for the hell of it and would see what showed up in the warm safety of my apartment. Oddly enough, I think I got my best two best pictures of the day:

And then I got the hell out of there. It was the Blizzard of 2016, for crying out loud…

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