The first snowstorm of 2012 hit New York City on Saturday morning, turning downtown Manhattan into a winter wonderland.
I grabbed my camera and hit the streets to photograph the snow before it turned into a river of slush. My stops included Astor Place, Union Square and a very resilient Greenmarket, where vendors continued to hawk homemade apple pies and fresh produce despite a heavy dusting of snow.
>> Scroll down for photos of the New York City snowstorm, taken on January 21, 2012.
Fortunately for Mayor Bloomberg, this storm was no “Snowmaggedon.” The snowfall stopped by early afternoon, and trios of plows came frequently through downtown streets. At times it seemed they were scraping more pavement than snow.
The East Village
By 11 AM, St Marks Place was covered in slush. Scores of umbrellas fell victim to high winds, but the sidewalks and streets were mostly clear. The normal bustle of St Marks was replaced by the drone of snow plows and shovels, as shopkeepers struggled to keep up with the snowfall.
Snow plows were operating in threes throughout the morning.
Snow quickly turned to slush on East Village sidewalks. Few people ventured onto the streets, and I came across an unusual sight: an NYPD traffic cop wearing a full-body, fluorescent yellow snow uniform. Someone alert the fashion police!
The Astor Place Cube was dusted with snow during Saturday’s storm. Nearby, workers shoveled the sidewalk in front of Kmart, although few shoppers were in sight. Buses parked in the area were outfitted with snow tires.
There were no skateboarders, card players or “free hug” proponents at Union Square Park on Saturday morning; only the dog run was buzzing with activity.
As it turns out, the snowstorm was an ideal time to shop on 14th Street. Only a scattering of people were in Best Buy and Nordstrom Rack; normally, I must beat through a crowd just to cross the southern side of the park. For the first time ever, there was no line at all when I ducked in to the Rack. It was a snowstorm miracle!
Surprisingly, the snowstorm did not keep Greenmarket vendors from opening their stands in Union Square Park. Vendors appeared to outnumber customers by a wide margin, as most shoppers stayed away.
Crisp apples, fresh pies, and exotic fruits were covered with a thick layer of snow. Presumably the chill is good for produce, as one vendor raised the price of Honey Crisp apples to $3 a pound.
Would you visit NYC in the winter?
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