Queens-landia

While New York’s swelters in humidity, the only ice seen on the sidewalk comes in a Dixie cup. Yes, those shaved flavored ices for $1 are the closest we get to slush for months. Daydreaming about the resurrection of Frosty the snowman and Starbucks holiday drinks always brings about nostalgia.

When I first moved back to New York, the city was an urban Eskimo’s dream. There was still ice-skating at Rockerfeller Center, long coats and mittens dominated the streets from Amsterdam Avenue to the Bowery. Snow pilled on to the sidewalks next to less romantic piles of garbage.

The most exciting news of all was the possibility of a blizzard. I had just started a new job and was staying on a friend’s couch in Queens, while I looked for a new apartment in Manhattan.

Queens is my former home borough. It’s a place, which seems largely untouched by high rise, steel + glass condos and designer shops. Instead, there were still butcher shops, mom n’ pop restaurants with quaint apartment blocks and row houses.

Like the rest of the city, Queens was anticipating a snow-magedon. I was delighted. After all, I was living in California, where snow was only viewed from a distance on top of mountains. Then there was fake snow, which delighted the masses at Disney land. Little did, I know something shocking was going to happen.

I took the subway back from Midtown and arrived at Tony’s basement apartment (where I was staying). He looked terrible. ” Hey buddy, you ready for that blizzard?” he asked. ” Yup, I am a snow bunny,” I replied. ” Good, you’re not gonna mind shoveling snow? I’ve got the flu and can’t do it,” he asked with a worried expression. Without much thought, I replied ” of course not,” then I realized what I agreed to.

I’ve lived through many blizzards, but shoveling snow always alluded me. Since, I was staying in a basement apartment, it was impossible to see the blizzard pouring from the sky. Instead of worrying about snow, Tony & I were good gays. We stayed in and watched a Golden Girls marathon. As we laughed at the hijinks of Rose, Dorothy, Blanche & Sophia, the whole shoveling snow adventure was in the back of my mind.

The next morning, I woke up. I turned on NY1 (our very own news channel). New York City was blanketed in snow, but Long Island had the worse of it. That meant my snow shoveling shouldn’t be too bad. I opened the door to find that the staircase (leading to the basement) had disappeared. Instead a tiny hill of puffy, pure snow had magically taken over.

Like any great adventurer climbing Mt. Everest, I took on the challenge. ” What fuck are you wearing?” Tony asked. He was puzzled by my wardrobe selection. “This is my cute, I am gonna shovel snow outfit.” I replied with great wit. “You look like you’re going shopping Bergdorf Goodman’s. “Here wear this and these boots,” he answered with a bit of eye rolling.

As I slipped into my new outfit, I looked more like a lumberjack ready for some logrolling. Tony stepped outside with me and showed me the whole process. “Now remember you gotta scrap the stairs for ice and be careful throwing it over the neighbor’s fence, ” with a stern look he handed me the shovel and away I went. It took forever and I kept throwing snow on myself, rather than in a nice pile.

Eventually, I finished one stair then another and so on. Tony stepped outside. He surveyed my handy work. ” You were definitely in California before this,” he said with a giggle. ” Ok, I am gonna buy some salt at the store. Just go to the Village and do what you need to do.” I once again, slipped into my cutest outfit and quickly (but with caution) bolted to the Village.

After a day of shoveling, I enjoyed a field trip to Washington Square Park. A few weeks later, I moved into my new apartment on 20th & the FDR. Rather, than shoveling snow I ended up admiring it from my window and playing in it. With the current heat wave, I can’t wait for winter. Once it arrives, I plan on jumping into a big pile of icy goodness.

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