WINTER COMES TO WEST 83RD STREET

We were quite a group.  And in all seasons except winter we played street games with significant frequency.  In the winter, well, it was different.

There were those mountains of snow that appeared across Broadway near 84th street at the bus stop.  Incredible.  They were taller than a city bus.  built there by city snow plows, they were white for a day, maybe two, and then slowly grew gray and soon to black unless of course there was new snow or a surprise melt.

Climbing those hills was something for us city kids. It was like being in Riverside Park without the walk.  

The game was king of the hill.  The danger was not completely lost on us; there was always the possibility of rolling off into traffic.  We were snowball makers of course and the thrill of nailing the back of a bus, the side of a truck or one of the gang from the top of the mountain was, to say the least, exciting.

In those days drivers were less dangerous it would be 15 or 20 years before kids would have to worry about being shot by an angry driver.  We got yelled at, and occasionally cursed, but never more than that.  

I don’t remember ever being chased by a cop!

Even with the snow ball fights on our block, usually from behind the parked cars, we never assaulted Engine Company 56 as it roared down West 83rd Street headed for the intersection with Broadway, two or three firemen on the back step, hanging on.  That would have been sacrilegious and because my dad was a buff and he and I hung out in the firehouse, everybody knew the danger to those guys on that back step.

We never had to push a shovel.  Living in an apartment building was sweet in many ways.  Having a super and a handyman and doormen meant many things including clean sidewalks.  In those days merchants cleaned their sidewalks without prompting, pushing the snow from the building line into the gutter between the cars, and sometimes under the cars.

I never took up skiing but we were all sled riders; sometimes in the street but mostly in Riverside Park where we joined dozens of other children from the neighborhood.

Suburban living in my 30s meant shoveling a significant driveway, front and side walkways.  Luckily my wife love to shovel. She still does.  And there were times the kids helped or just joyously played around us.

Now, snow is pretty but it interferes with my getting around.  That comes with age.

4 thoughts on “WINTER COMES TO WEST 83RD STREET

  1. It’s amazing that every kid who grew up in an area that gets a decent amount of snow probably has a similar experience whether you are a city dweller or live in the suburbs. I guess maybe in a real rural setting it’s a little different. But so many memories!

    Liked by 1 person

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