Posted tagged ‘NYC snow’

Panic Artists: The Snow Family of 106th Street

March 4, 2015

It’s been a slow year for snowmen.

In years past, snowmen popped up all over Riverside Park after every big snow, like mushrooms after a rain. Here are a few examples.

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A few years ago, a snow person pushed a positively ecstatic snow baby in a swing in one of the Tot Lot playgrounds of Riverside Drive.

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Despite the snowy winter of 2015, the population of snow people seems to have declined dramatically. Luckily for the snowman aficionado, the quality remains high.  Take a look at this wide-eyed family.

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Every year, some version of the central figure presides over West 106th Street between Amsterdam and Broadway.

This was the 2010 incarnation:

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The current family triad began, as ever, with the behemoth at the center.

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Photo by Maya Rajamani in the West Side Rag, my neighborhood paper. (Click photo for the Rag’s excellent analysis tracing the influences on this snowman. Hint: Think Gerard Depardieu.)

One day, in an interesting twist, the figure suddenly spawned a companion. Notice also the smile that appears on the behemoth’s face after the appearance of the little tyke.

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And then, some days or weeks later, the behemoth spawned again. But now, sad to say, the behemoth’s expression has changed to dismay, and, oh dear, is that a look of panic in its now-yellow eyes?

IMG_0939(Thanks to Out Walking the Dog reader, Ken Hittel, for alerting me to the appearance of a third figure.)

All three beings are looking pretty wild-eyed. In fact, the more I look at them, the more worried I feel. I mean, these guys are clearly not sleeping, Take a look at those eyes. I’m pretty sure they’re all three lying awake at night, each in a separate, incommunicable state of high anxiety as they stare into the strange glow of New York City after dark.

Alas, poor snow creatures. Their days are numbered, and every hour brings them closer to the Great Thaw.

Let’s take a moment to look a little closer at each member of our goggle-eyed family of insomniacs, starting with the profoundly anxious little panic artist in the green hat.

The end is coming.

The end is coming.

I so wish I could blink.

I so wish I could blink.

Sure, I love you. But WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE.

Sure, I love you. BUT WE’RE ALL GONNA FUCKING DIE.

On a gentler note, the dog posed beneath a sweet snowdog on the retaining wall of Riverside Park.

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And back over at West Side Rag, nycmaggie captured a rare snow cat scaling a tree.

I hear there’s more snow predicted this week. Let’s hope more snow creatures follow.

Winter World: Animals in Red

February 17, 2014
Winter world.

Winter world.

As the dog and I step off the sidewalk into a narrow path dug between snow mounds at the corner of Broadway and 108th Street, the sound of distant honking stops me in my tracks. Not the usual traffic sounds of Broadway, but the calls of wild geese. I shade my eyes and look up in time to see a large flock of Canada geese – an uneven, dark V, followed closely by a long single line – disappearing to the southwest over the solid old apartment buildings of Riverside Drive. “Oh,” I say out loud, struck by beauty.

At the top of the stone staircase that leads into Riverside Park, the dog pauses to show off his red shoes.

The red shoes: Dance, little dog, dance.

The red shoes: Dance, little dog, dance.

We descend the staircase, and enter the white winter world of a snowy city park. Everything is strangely quiet.

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Central Park after a snowfall.

Only a couple of dogs are playing in the 105th Street dog run.

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Down by the river, a solitary runner runs.

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But where are the rest of the animals?

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We retrace our steps to the path above, where a squirrel scoots across the top of the snow and leaps onto a tree trunk.

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The little creature leaves behind a scribble-scrabble of footprints in the snow, the record of many such forays out of the safety of the trees. Three crows call from the top of the plane trees, then fly, one at a time, out of the park toward Riverside Drive. Two house sparrows chirp.

And that’s it. No hawks, no juncos, no woodpeckers, no robins, no flocks of sparrows, no chickadees, no titmice. Where is everyone?

And then we hear a high-pitched call: “Tsip, tsip, tsip.”

Winter’s bare branches make it easy to find the caller: a female cardinal, perched in a tangle of branches beneath the retaining wall. Although I usually see cardinals in pairs, today the brilliantly colored male is nowhere to be seen.  The lovely bird kept just outside the range of my iPhone, so here is a photo from last winter of two females picking up spilled seed beneath a bird feeder on eastern Long Island.

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The Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) stays with us year-round, and even in the depths of winter, the male keeps his brilliant plumage. (Thank you, Rob Pavlin, for the beautiful photo below.)

Cardinal in Central Park by Rob Pavlin

Cardinal in Central Park. Photo: Rob Pavlin

Cardinals are particularly stunning against a snowy background, but they’re gorgeous birds in any season.

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Cardinal in autumn in Central Park’s Conservatory Gardens. Photo: Melissa Cooper

Just look at that red.

Cardinal in Central Park, early winter 2012. Photo: Rob Pavlin.

You don’t often see animals in winter sporting such flashy colors.

Still, it’s not unheard of, is it?

The red shoes.

The red shoes ride the elevator home.

This post is for Nick and Zuri.

Transient Beings Visit Riverside Park

January 2, 2010

A few hours after the snowfall of December 31, 2009, beings appear in Riverside Park.

Giant Dirty Being with Cat

Misspelled German Being with Dog

Owl Perched on Retaining Wall at Night

By midday on January 1, 2010, the owl has disappeared. By the time you read this, all beings are gone.

From Sein to das Nichts in two short winter days.


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