Snowstorms are a very particular occurrence for New Yorkers, because we never think the most recent snowstorm can stand up to some other, mythical snowstorm that struck New York City years ago. If you bring up the snow storm of January 20th, 1978, some dudes might call you an old head, and say the snowstorm of January 22-23, of 2005 was the real beast– even though each of those storms were both a little over 13 inches of snow.
What it comes down to is that snowstorms strike a different emotional chord in people, based on a variety of situations, circumstances and non-snow related factors.
One of my most memorable snowstorms was the snowstorm in late October, 2011. Well, at least I think it was on October 29th and NYC wasn’t accustomed to getting such heavy loads of snow in October. I had just finished DJing brunch with my man Hard Hitting Harry, at Vodou Bar on Nostrand Avenue. As I’m leaving, I hear that the snow is going to get nutty and that the subway system is already a wrap, which left the bus as my only real travel option. I decide to hop on the B26 and invade Trader Joe’s for some rations to get me through the storm.
I clearly wasn’t the only person with that idea, as I found a large group of people milling outside TJ’s. To everyone’s chagrin, the store had just closed early, to get their workers home while some semblance of Mass Transit was still operating. A collective lightbulb went on in everyone’s head, so we all crossed the street to hit the green grocer, which meant a huge line formed that snaked almost around he corner.
I actually thought I was gonna find a super snowstorm bunny while in the store, as a woman was kinda following me (or so I wanted to believe) and making small talk about vegetables, but at the last minute, a boyfriend came in the store and the girl and I both looked disappointed. But I digress.
When I finally paid for my goods and got outside, I was informed that not only had the subway shut down, but now the buses had been shut down as well. This meant I had to walk from Court Street back to Bushwick. Perhaps I could have capitulated and agreed to pay sixty bucks for a yellow or gypsy cab, but that was still an hours wait if it was even available. So I ended up walking home, but was totally knackered and exhausted by time I got to Clinton Hill.
I couldn’t go any further and remembered that two friends recently purchased a house on Cambridge place. I knew the cross streets, but didn’t remember the address so I walked down the block, looking into people’s window, like it was the movie The Purge.
I finally found them and ended up spending two days there, drinking wine and booze, eating food and playing in the snow in the backyard. This most recent snow storm, on February 9th, crystallized how my favorite snowstorm was the huge snow storm on January 7th-8th, 1996, which dropped more than twenty inches on NYC.
I was living in the Fort Greene/Clinton Hills neighborhood in Brooklyn from mid-90s ’till around mid aughts, and so was a lot of other Black people. It was such a fun and tight-knit community, many of us working in the entertainment, advertising and marketing industries. We had a blast during the ’96 storm, visiting each other and playing in Fort Green Park. So this past week, after I got off set from BRIC, I decided to visit Fort Greene park again, during a the Feb 2017 snowstorm, and what I saw was quite particular.
Perhaps it was a lack of what I saw-Black people! It was so much fun and the kids and adults were having such a blast, but the lack of Black people, during a snow day when schools were closed and many parents stayed home, was a bit disconcerting.
It made me think that the narrative of Fort Greene changing color was exemplified by three snow storms: The Black love snow storm of 1996. The storm in 2011; where I was stranded and dropped in on two White friends that recently brought a house in Clinton Hill, and who previously, would have rarely, if ever, cross the Brooklyn bridge, from downtown Manhattan; and the Feb 2017 storm, where it was almost no black people in the neighborhood.
But make no mistake, the snowstorm was awesome, and here’s some photos from the day, starting with funny pics of Greg Johnson in the green room at BRIC, to the park, to Madiba for a drink, to an interview I did with the producer/rapper Lighthouse. It was a fun day in Brooklyn.