Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Plight of Winter Wonderland: Part II (b)

By Miriam B. Medina

(Continued from Page: 1)

After The Storm

Though the storm had left behind death and destruction, a winter nightmare to the residents of New York City, through this tragedy, as ironical as it may seem, an artist would view the unaltered snow-covered pictorial scenes as a breathtaking winter wonderland. Mentally the artist would walk through this winter wonderland, savoring each image worthy of his artistic touch, to be reproduced on canvas for the world to see.

As always, in every natural disaster, there are opportunists and exploiters. Price gouging was widespread throughout the city during the crisis. Citizens were terribly hungry and needed to eat. Under the current circumstances, because they were unable to send their wagons to the wholesale markets for fresh supplies, unscrupulous butchers and grocers charged exorbitant prices for old meat and poultry that they were not able to move before, knowing that their patrons would buy it because they were starving. The city of Brooklyn had contributed $3,000 towards expenses related to the storm, with an additional $50,000 provided to remove snow from the railroad tracks. Snow removal from the streets was carried out directly by 1,500 laborers, a major undertaking, and 500 railroad cars were used to dump the snow into the East River. Damages of $25,000,000 were a result of the blizzard of 1888. The snow began melting, and all the railroads returned to their regular schedules. The Stock Exchange swung back into action. Of course, the sidewalks of the shopping areas were cleaned first so that the ladies could resume their shopping. Brooklyn suffered severe flooding due to the melting snow and poor drainage systems. After the storm, New York began placing its telegraph and telephone lines underground to prevent destruction and a breakdown in communication from future blizzards. Also, as a result of the transportation crisis during the storm, the city officials realized that the elevated train lines were particularly vulnerable to weather conditions. To meet the demands of the City's inhabitants, they realized that they should soon start constructing an underground subway system.

The Blizzard of 1888 was one of the most talked about snow storms that would go down in American history as one of the worst natural disasters to overtake a city of this magnitude. For those who are historically familiar with this legendary blizzard, whenever a huge snow storm hits the Eastern seaboard, it will trigger an hour's worth of woe, which no one cares to hear about these days. So "Fugheddaboudit" as we say in New York. Last night offered another winter storm. After several hours of back-breaking shoveling, this morning digging my buried car out, I went inside and turned the Weather Channel on, only to hear that more snow is coming our way next week. My only comment is "Oh no, not again!"

"Oh, what a blamed uncertain thing this pesky weather is; It blew and snew and then it thew, and now, by jing, it's friz" Philander Johnson, 1895

I guess one person's winter wonderland is another's winter nightmare. Maybe I should move to Florida next year!

Miriam B. Medina is an Expert Author at Platinum Level at

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