Snow Brings Fun, Frustration to New York City

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After a record snowfall, schools are open in New York City, subways are running and highways are cleared. But there's still fun to be had in Central Park — and not much fun at Amtrak or the Long Island Railroad, where delays are numerous.

MICHELE NORRIS, Host:

The snowstorm that blanked the Northeast brought a record snowfall to New York City. 26.9 inches in Central Park. It was the largest amount measured since people started keeping records in 1869. Here's NPR's Margot Adler.

MARGOT ADLER: The snowfall here was lighter and fluffier and drier than usual, so that fewer trees were downed and there was less damage all around. There were huge, muddy puddles 10 inches deep on some corners, and yellow caution tape around several buildings to warn of falling ice. But most schools in the city were open and most commuters got to work. Still 500 planes were cancelled at New York's three airports over the weekend. The most serious commuter delays took place on the Long Island railroad. Tisha Neugent(ph) was trying to get to her babysitting job on Long Island but after two hours she gave up.

TISHA NEUGENT: They just told us that there is no train going to Port Washington at all, at all. So now I'm going back home. The news told us we were going to get trains in and out of train station by ten o'clock. We come here, there's no trains.

ADLER: The place to be was Central Park. Sunny with more than two feet of snow, so pristine you could put in on your tongue. And given that most schools were open, the kids from the few schools that were closed had the sledding hills all to themselves. Margie Vandow was there with her two children.

So what brings you out?

MARGIE VANDOW: This beautiful sunny weather and the snow. The bright warm snow.

ADLER: And no school today?

VANDOW: No school. I think ours is the only school that's closed. And the snow is fluffy and clean and beautiful.

ADLER: It wasn't the only school. A group of middle schoolers from Riverdale, David Carp, Jake Orbison, and Casey Etlestein, were taking a rest from a snowball fight and talking about the moment they heard the word snow day.

CHILD: Yesterday afternoon, and now the principle is kicking over it.

ALDER: Is that a reasonable hill or not?

CHILD: Yes, yeah. That's a great hill.

ALDER: Is this the best snow you've seen in the park?

CHILD: Yeah, 24.9 inches.

ALDER: Twenty-six I think actually.

ALDER: Over by the Imagine plaque in Strawberry Fields, Peter Marber was throwing lazy snowballs like a pitcher warming up while his family was building a snowman. Marber, who works on Wall Street, had a flight to Europe cancelled. It's not everyday, he said, that you get a snow day when you're 42 years old.

PETER MARBER: Did my emails, had a conference call, and decided to come and play with the kids in the snow.

ALDER: Marber picks up a perfectly crafted, totally spherical snowball.

MARBER: I'm telling you these are concussion possessed snowballs. Seriously, if you feel this it's unbelievable. I'm tempted to pack a few and take them, bring them back to the freezer, you know. Like Break them out in the...

Unidentified Man: Unidentified Man: Unidentified Man: (unintelligible) Throw them around.

MARGER: I mean, they're just perfect, just utterly perfect.

ALDER: Is this the best snowball you've made in...

MARBER: In decades. Maybe, certainly for the millennium. We could say that okay.

ALDER: By tomorrow the snow will all be brown and grimy. No one will want to stick out their tongue for a taste. Margot Adler, NPR News, New York.

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