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New York's no-show snowstorm

the Flatiron Building

The annual Architectural Digest Home Design Show opened on Thursday morning at New York City's Pier 94. In the face of dire warnings that the heaviest winter storm of the season would bury the region on Wednesday, my colleague Meghan Browne and I rolled out of Chevy Chase, Maryland at 10:30AM as the air became thick with big, fat snowflakes. With four new snow tires on my Volvo wagon and winter driving skills learned in central New York's snow belt, I figured we'd be fine unless the turnpike commission closed the highways. We'd looked forward to getting out of DC and seeing what's new in New York, and a dubious weather forecast wasn't going to stop us. Everyone thought we were nuts.

Still, for the first couple hours, the snowfall got heavier, the roads more slippery, and driving took a lot of focus. We couldn't see the river as we crossed the Delaware Memorial Bridge. But while the going was slow, traffic was light. Schools and many businesses were closed and most people had cancelled travel plans. By the time we got into central New Jersey on I-95, we had the highway mostly to ourselves except for the occasional slowdown behind a snowplow or road salting truck. The normally long line into Lincoln Tunnel was non existent, and the streets of Manhattan were as deserted as I've ever seen. Within 20 minutes of emerging from the tunnel, the car was safely stowed in a parking garage and we'd checked into our lodgings, marveling at our good luck. Meghan headed out to meet a friend for dinner, and I walked through a scrim of flurries a couple of blocks down 10th Avenue to a popular middle eastern restaurant catering to an unusually thin crowd. I watched the snow fall on weirdly empty streets and sidewalks, and the waitstaff stood around wondering how early the place would close so they could get home. It was quiet and magical like a snowy evening in my childhood on the farm, except I was in the middle of New York City.

The storm never arrived. When we headed out for coffee Thursday morning before going over to the show, there was enough snow to make it look like winter, but it was sunny and the city glistened, and by the time we walked out of the exhibition hall late afternoon, it was melting away. By evening it was all but gone. The show was terrific, and neither of us could remember an easier trip to the city.

Next time I want to go to New York, maybe I'll just wait for a really nasty weather forecast ... and wait for hubris to strike me down.


standing on the corner of 10th and 55th


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