Thursday, January 27, 2011

Snow and the City

Snowman in Prospect Park, Brooklyn

There are a lot of different ways to think about snow and the city. You could spend some time thinking about the cost of snow removal, not only in terms of dollars and manpower spent, but also in terms of damage to infrastructure and the tonnage of salt laid down on sidewalks and roads. A city as large and as manufactured an environment as this one is simply not equipped to function in accordance with the whims or precipitations of mother nature.

Luckily I'm not a city planner, so I can look at snow in the city another way. The best place to look at it this afternoon for me was in Prospect Park, which was crowded like a weekend in spring or summer. The kids were out of school and sledding, snowboarding and of course, building snowmen. It hadn't really occurred to me until this afternoon that there's something really special about snowmen. But there is something really lovely about the idea of their creation from what's laying about nearby and also in their ephemeral quality. They aren't built to last, but they aren't garbage either. They're these temporary sculptures, built by ordinary people and kids alike (and in New York City, no doubt, even artists) celebrating what's really just a bit of weather in a season of the year. There's something hopeful and beautiful and fun in that, just like there is always something hopeful and beautiful and fun in any walk in the city in fresh snow. Tomorrow we can start thinking about the snow as dirty slush piles that won't go away.

Snowman posts aren't about gardens, but the snowman pictured here is made of the stuff of them.

Snowman leaf button

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