Snow, New York and My Father

Why am I so sad that I am going to miss this big NYC Blizzard?

I do like snow.  Why else would I have spent so much time in Alaska!

As a child, I remember waking up and listening to the traffic on West Street below our third floor window.  West Street was still cobblestones in those days and full of truck traffic, as the elevated West Side Highway kept most cars off the surface street.

Every once in a while, especially during January and February, I would awake to silence.  The snow muffling the noise of the tires on the cobblestones.

During one particularity heavy snow that occurred on a Sunday, my father had planned go to New Hope, PA, where his friend, the Sculptress Selma Burke, had a house and some land.  I loved going there.  It was always an adventure, with a little stream that had grass growing on the bottom that I was absolutely terrified of.

Selma, not our father, actually taught my brother (Peter, two years younger) and I to hunt.  We ate what we shot, the total haul being one woodchuck and one duck, but I felt sad for the duck’s partner and it was the last animal I ever killed.

But on this windy, snowy day, NYC had maybe 12” to 18” inches of snow and I declined going to New Hope, deciding instead to make my own adventure by taking the 10th Ave bus up to Riverside Park with my sled.  I did that, walking the mile to 14th to catch the bus that finally came and an OK day sledding.

When my brother and father got home that night, my brother regaled me with tales of blasting through large snow drifts and I was disappointed that I had missed out.  A bit strange that I did not go, in that I was the one who accompanied my father on all sorts of trips, in the city and out, never being too bored (sometimes my job was simply to sit in the car, while it was double parked, as my father found various electronic parts he needed).  My brother often found much of this time boring, and while at times I did also, I felt it was part of my responsibility in helping my father in any way I could and I liked seeing different things, going to new places.

There was only one other time, that my brother accompanied my father without me, and that was during the summer of 1972.  I had decided to stay in Seattle at the UW to attend this oceanography class that actually had us out on Puget Sound doing stuff.  But that summer, our father,  G. Lee Bost, was working on the last of his three Shaft movies, Shaft in Africa, so my brother got to go on location for a month, while I collected seaweed in Washington.  I was not as envious that time.  Africa did not sound that appealing to me.  Neither did our father by the way, who remarked that he was grateful to be born in the USA no matter how his ancestors got there.

Sadly, our father died in 1992, when I was 41 and it wasn’t until my forties that I started to see how similar I was to my father, in both good and bad ways. A gentle soul, loyal to his friends until the end of time.

But 20+ of snow is always fun in the City.  It’s especially interesting watching the MTA put those cable chains on the Articulated buses 24 hours in advance, so the cable are well worn or broken by the time the snow actually arrives.

February 2011 Snow Storm
February 2011 Snow Storm
20101226 Blizzard 007
Christmas 2010 Snow Storm This bus and the one in front of it sat for days
20110212 002
Julie and Sarah Enjoy the February Snow


Then the buses prompt get stuck after the first few inches in any case.

Articulated buses are only good to reduce the number of drivers and the quality of service.  Not much else.

But I digress.

I am truly sorry I am not there.  Had I been reading the forecast discussions like I used to, I would have had an inkling a few days ago and may have even flown home for the event.   Oh well, next time.

Nowadays, I look at the Atlantic Surface Analysis every day.  I like getting a feel for the weather and how it changes over time.  It will be during the winter that we will follow in Columbus’ tracks and take the Northeast Trade Winds back to the New World.

I did pull out Jimmy Cornell’s World Cruising Routes last night.

So many places to go and people to see.