The big discussion at lunch where I work yesterday was the coming storm. Everyone wondered if it was going to be as bad as predicted.
“Nah,” I said. “They always make a big deal about it, and it always misses the city. Maybe upstate, New Jersey for sure, but I doubt we’ll get more than four or five inches…”
Well, I’m glad I don’t have to eat my hat or pay off any bets today, because I was wrong.
I was supposed to go out to Long Island City this morning to do a little job for a friend, but I texted him after I’d been out this morning and said, “maybe another day.”
Instead I did my laundry.
I left the house with my laundry bag and my little Whole Foods carryall, hoping the streets weren’t totally covered yet. I couldn’t see much from the window except that it was snowing, but when I got to the front door I was surprised to see that the stairs had snow on them. Our super, Pedro was already shoveling the frontage and spreading salt. I was able to make it 20 feet before I had to opt for walking in the street in a tire rut. I dragged my little two-wheeled carryall as best as I could down 152nd street.
I waited till almost 7:30 before leaving, normally this would be too late at the laundry because the machine hogs would already be there, but I didn’t put much stock in the machine hogs dragging a hundred pounds of laundry through the snow. My fifteen pounds was hard enough.
To my surprise, the roll-down gate was still down, and no sign of the laundry lady. I waited a few minutes, and I took my first snow picture, the one at the top of this post.
I gave up waiting and started down Broadway to the next laundry on 150th Street. They were open and I was the first one in. I started my machines and debated walking down to 148th Street to the Mexican products store to see if they had any of my favorite mineral water, Gütig or Mineragua.
I took one look outside and decided not to try. There is a C-Town across the street from the laundry and I figured if I want to bad enough I’ll get some overpriced Pellegrino there. Even walking an extra two blocks is tough in what looked like ten inches of snow already.
I read the Times that had miraculously been delivered to the bodega up the block while my machines ran (25 cents more per machine than the other laundry) and when they were done I put everything in a dryer and put an hour’s worth of quarters in. I grabbed my carryall and headed home. There are no chairs in this laundry, and the bathroom’s locked as well. Not a warm place to wash.
I do this anyway at my regular laundry, despite the chairs and unlocked bathroom; I live close enough to go home and eat something while the clothes dry. I set my iPhone timer to 45 minutes and set off up Broadway.
Walking up a car-free Broadway reminded me of the blizzard of 1996, when I remember walking by cars abandoned in the middle of 10th Avenue on my way to make sure my dad had milk and food since I knew he wasn’t going out in the snow. That day it took me five hours to go from Greenpoint to Hell’s Kitchen and back. I had to walk up the middle of 47th Street to get to my dad’s place, and I remember the snow being almost up to my knees.
Not that bad this morning, but bad enough.
On my way home I noticed my street, 152nd, was till snow covered, not plowed yet despite my having spotted a plow truck parked on the corner on my way to the laundry. I went upstairs, ate something, told Danusia how bad the snow was and went back to get the laundry. I also discovered we were almost out of milk when I made some cereal for breakfast 152nd Street was still unplowed, and this being Harlem I had slim hope of that.
I folded my dry laundry and packed it up into the laundry bag. I’d left the carryall home, it would be useless anyway at this point as most of the corners were almost knee deep already because of the drifting. There were sudden gusts of blinding wind as well.
I saw that the C-Town was open and went in to see if they had milk. I was in Fairway on 25th Street last night after work and it was bedlam, there were no carts and bare shelves, but maybe there was still some milk left in C-Town.
They did have a good stock, and I paid $6.79 for Stonyfield Farms organic milk.
Fairway and Whole Foods charge $5.49 for this, and that’s expensive, so this C-Town takes the cake as far as price gouging goes. And that’s what they always charge; they didn’t up it for the storm. Though I wonder what they’ll do as the day wears on…
I’m thinking about starting a blog called Price Gougers, and this C-Town at 3632 Broadway would be at the top of the list.
So I struggled back home with my laundry in one hand and my expensive milk in the other, this time on the sidewalk as there was more traffic on Broadway. With visibility being what it is, I didn’t want to take a chance on getting hit by a car or truck I can’t see or can’t see me.
When I got to my block, I was gratified to see the street had been plowed. Thank you Mayor Bill.
I promptly made my way into the middle of 152nd Street and trudged home. The worst part was getting through the drifts to get back on the sidewalk in front of the building. The sidewalk that Pedro had so meticulously cleared not an hour and a half before had a good eight inches of snow on it, and the snow was covering the stairs leading up to the front door. And our stoop is covered; it’s like an alcove. That’s the power of the wind and the snow.
We’re going out to walk in the snow later on today. That ought to be fun.