2000-02-02 / Editorials


Queens Revels In First Snow

It finally happened. Four years after the last major snowstorm struck the New York metropolitan area, New Yorkers woke last Tuesday morning to the first blizzard of the new year.

As is usually the case, in most parts of the metropolitan area most people took the storm in stride. To be sure, some schools and businesses were closed and in some other cases workers or students went home early. But across the city for the most part, we did what New Yorkers do best--we coped.

In fact, we did better than cope. Salt trucks and snowplows were out clearing city streets almost as soon as the first snowflake touched the ground. In Queens, streets were repeatedly cleared despite freezing temperatures and high winds. We extend all glory to the city Department of Sanitation which handled the situation capably and well.

The snowstorm had an unexpected bonus. Queens is the borough of new immigrants, many of whom hail from much warmer climes. This was the first time many of the new arrivals had seen six inches of snow and watching them experience this marvel of nature for the first time did one's heart good. Children discovered the pleasures of sliding down any incline, however slight, on whatever they could find--plastic bags, dishpans, garbage can lids-- or discovered newly revealed pitching talent by means of a snowball. Meanwhile, not a few adults recorded the scene for posterity with still and video cameras.

As any child who ever reveled in a snow day will testify, a snowstorm can be a spectacle filled with wonder and delight. The very landscape takes on a different look when eyes no longer bound by the constraints of a day segmented into class periods or working hours behold it.

As is the case more often than not, life went on very much as usual. Government services continued, most businesses were open and despite the number of private and parochial school students who had the day off, most schoolchildren in New York City slogged through the drifts and showed up in class, as did their teachers. Public transportation kept up with the increased demands on its services for the most part, as well. Sure, there were mechanical problems brought on by the cold weather, but trains and buses kept on or close to schedule

There's no doubt about it--we did good. That we were able to offer our newest neighbors a taste of the delights of snow in the city was an added bonus. We hope they enjoyed the experience as much as we did playing tour guide to one of Mother Nature's most outstanding performances. Al the same, roll on, spring.

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