Three inches of white stuff and only two or three cars on the Thruway. We’ve become Californians, blanching at a bit of snow.
One hundred and twenty years ago, March brought New Yorkers the Great Blizzard of 1888. Snow fell to a depth of twenty one inches over three days, paralyzing the whole East Coast.
I came across dozens of pictures of the Blizzard in Yonkers, New York, when I was researching The Women of the House. I was so mesmerized, I felt like switching to write a book about the snowstorm in gilded-age Yonkers rather than the stone house Margaret Hardenbroeck built there in 1682. Bowler-hatted merchants outside snow-mounded shopfronts. The Yonkers train station, plowed under. Ladies dragging their hems through the drifts. Children scaling mountains of snow.
The Great Blizzard wasn’t all fun. Milk and coal totally ran out. Four hundred New York city residents died, hundreds were trapped in the snow. No trucks meant that snow had to be removed by horse and cart to be dumped in the East River.
But on a day like today, looking out the window, I would love to experience the drama of that time.
p.s. Snow Cream: Set a pot outside to collect clean snow. Stir in vanilla and milk to taste.