Growing up in upstate New York, I always felt that snow days were an inevitable part of the school year once winter arrived. They’d happen once throughout the season, twice if we were lucky, and anything more than that only happened in fairy-tales or was seen on TV. I remember having a week off once, and that was the ice storm in ’91. That week we cooked beans on our wood-burning stove. Laura Ingalls-style? Not quite, but it would’ve earned me a Girl Scout badge in a non-Girl Scout environment. Crumpling up recyclable newspapers for the fire have left an imprint in my memory. Possibly forever. Yes, it was not a favorite chore if you couldn’t tell…
New York has received two occasions of heavy snowfall this season. The first one I missed – which is probably a good thing considering passengers were stranded on the A train for up to 8 hours. This one? I woke up hearing plows scrapping sidewalks, sirens running down streets and upon looking outside, saw inches upon inches of snow blanketing the ground like cotton balls…I knew the photo opportunities would be like putting a new lens on a camera – the angles and possibilities seemed endless.
Since work happens 5 times a week, during business hours, today was one of those days but I tried to take what photos I could on my way to work. Receiving snowfall in quantities like yesterday aren’t common like upstate, and so I’ve come to appreciate them when it does happen. I was eager to reach the apartment’s rooftop to catch the snow-covered tree tops this morning before my commute, to see the snow piled securely on branches like books on a bookshelf, and to see the stillness of a city in a usually crowded walk to work. On two occasions did people comment on how it was a great day to take photographs, recommending Central Park, Washington Square Park and the floral streets around 28th. It’s not every day your shooting engages comments and recommendations from others, and when it happens, at least for me, it’s welcomed.
When you talk with some people about their childhood and how they grew up, you might hear, “I grew up an only child,” or “I grew up liking cheerios but now I can’t eat them anymore,” or from others, typically relatives or “family” offering remarks about your height/image, “You grew up too fast!” Looking at these photos and my reaction to the snowfall that caused delays, school closings and wintry disruptions, I realized I “Grew up New York” – in Rochester, near Buffalo, in Western NY that’s known for it’s few-feet-of-snow downfalls. I grew up sitting in front of the television screen after a heavy snowfall waiting to see my school district’s name appear at the bottom of the screen or in anticipation of hearing it listed in the the alphabetized closings on the radio. In a region that’s known for its snow but is still surprised by its overnight accumulation, that’s what it was like, growing up (in) New York.