This weekend, New York was hit with the second-worst blizzard in city history: At 26.8 inches, Winter Storm Jonas came one-tenth of an inch short of the record set for snowfall back in 2006. More than ten states declared a state of emergency thanks to Jonas, and at least 29 people were killed by the storm; in New York City, the roads were closed except to emergency responders and many subway lines were shut. Residents were repeatedly warned not to go anywhere and wait it out.
On Saturday evening, I went out and shot photos around Brooklyn during the worst of the storm. At the Brooklyn Bridge, where a handful of other New Yorkers were being pummeled by 50-mile-per-hour winds, the consensus was that it felt like we were trespassing.
Twenty-four hours later, I was back out there, shooting the aftermath of the blizzard. On Sunday afternoon, there were hundreds of people, mostly tourists, on the 133-year-old bridge, which felt more stable than it did the night before.
On Sunday morning, the streets around Prospect Park were sprinkled with locals grumpily digging out their cars, as well as families who audibly argued over petty sledding disagreements. It wasn't as busy as I'd expected, and people were mostly polite, but not as chummy as they had been during the peak of the storm; the novelty was over, and the cleanup had begun.
I made my way from Brooklyn to the Whitehall R stop in downtown Manhattan. The subway arrived promptly and the conductor was even helpful when I asked a question about the status of trains, a nice little testament to how good public transportation is in New York (well, most of the time). The Financial District was relatively quiet, except for some families who told me they lived in the area. They brought their kids to sled down the massive snowbanks which lined Wall Street, since they were the closest "hills" within walking distance.
As I walked up Baxter Street towards Chinatown, I noticed a group of older Asian men on a corner block near the community garden where many Asian New Yorkers regularly play card games or chess. The game had been moved from their usual spot within the gated park to a street corner because the garden was still covered in snow. Then I headed north to Nolita, walking up the middle of the street. The roads were plowed but many sidewalks remained slippery deathtraps. The blocked pathways already threatened to melt into a slushy fuck you in the afternoon sun, likely inspiring the generally polite-but-utilitarian pace and demeanor of the people I passed on my way up Mulberry Street.
Despite all the early predictions suggesting otherwise, the blizzard broke meteorological records and caused a lot of headaches. It was also undeniably thrilling for a little while, even if the spike in energy throughout New York was as fleeting as the lifespan of the storm. It's never dull observing how the city reacts when it's thrown a curveball.