Monday, February 27, 2006

Snow Angels on 34th street part 4

“Yeah its snowing, but it will never stick” I sigh and continue like I am explaining to a six year old “look the ground is too wet and there is too much cloud cover for it to freeze”. They say that hindsight is twenty twenty. We are walking back from the best hamburger I have ever tasted, through Times Square which is every bit as bright and impressive as the films make it out to be. I have to admit that, although uncomfortable, the snow is making the already impressive sight, breathtaking. Its night and the neon confusion of colours are lighting the snow from all angles, it’s like being in the static of a rainbow T.V picture.

We’re cold and tired because before dinner, the eight of us had managed to find the ice skating ring in Central Park, I had been pretty cocky about my ice skating skills, the last time had gone I remember being a very competent skater, of course this was during a time I was roller bleeding everywhere, the fact that had slipped my mind was that the last time I had even seen my blades must be a couple of years ago. I flailed and swung like a mime doing a “baby giraffe’s first steps” routine to some stupid people far away. But even my incompetence on the ice couldn’t take away from the experience, its dark, snowing, and every bit as magical as it sounds. The beauty of the situation actually took my breath away, that and the exercise. After half an hour everyone is asked to leave because the snow apparently is getting too bad, so we go to dinner, which turned out to be that best burger I have ever tasted.

We finally get a taxi from Time Square and by the time we reach the hotel, I am beginning to change my mind about it not sticking, in ten minutes the snow only increased in volume; it was, literally, shitting down with snow. After finishing the beers we brought for the hotel rooms fridge with Nice Guy Dave and Mark (also a nice guy but nowhere near as nice as Nice Guy Dave). We settle down to bed.

The phone rings, I try and remember since when did I have a phone in my room and slowly the world filters itself back into my head “turn on the television” laughs a voice, its one of the girls in the other rooms.
“Why? Its early” I manage to growl back, morning and me never really get along, unless I never went to sleep the night before.
“Because were in Blizzard ’06, have you not seen outside?”
“I’ll phone you back” I step over Nice Guy Dave’s prone form to the window and sneak a look out the window, Remember when you where very very young and it had been snowing outside? What seemed like the world would be covered in snow and instantly you would know that school would be off and magic was real. Well it was like that. A foot of snow had fallen, cars were buried and not a soul was out on the streets.

Like any normal person of the twenty first century my first reaction was to turn on the television and every channel is news, but it’s not the news we’re used to in England with a sombre but comforting middle aged person calmly explaining what’s going on, this was slick attractive people screaming “BLIZZARD 06” for behind a desk and mind bending graphics, yes we hadn’t even been awake for five and already they had a name for it. This is on the day of our flight home, so naturally all flights are cancelled and I get slightly concerned, the uber blond on television is now looking directly at the camera and is urging everyone not to panic, and although the advice is slightly hysterical (what was she expecting? Looting?) I decide to take it and carry on watching the news. Every so often the news goons would cut to a man wrapped up in inadequate but expensive Gore-tex, who’s only job was to stand in the snow, point to it and say “snow” the news goon would say something like “our man in the field is Stroke Firmly, what’s it like out there Stroke?” cut to Stroke standing in white.
“well Brad its snowing pretty bad out here in Nowheresville, this is what snow looks like for anyone that’s never seen it and is to stupid to open a window or look at a picture with snow in it, back to the studio”.

I get back on the phone and plan the day ahead, we end up going to breakfast and then to the MOMA, the streets are empty when we first leave the lobby, I feel like I’m five years old as I’m picking my feet in and out of the drifts, seeing New York empty of traffic and people is eerie and I am beginning to see why the newscasters may have overreacted, it feels like the end of the world or at least like I am on another one, all the landmarks and advertising billboards’ have disappeared. On our way to breakfast I stop on 34th street and make a snow angel, How many people can say the have made a snow angel on a Manhattan sidewalk?

Skip forward to a terminal at Newark airport, there are about 10 of us sprawled out over each other all in one corner in various states of wakefulness, reading or just staring. We are tired but happy and the five hours delay seems like five minutes because of each others company, so seeing New York in snow was totally worth the five hour delay and I would go as far as to say worth five more.



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