Tone .Are

The Snow Blizzard of 2010

In Uncategorized on December 30, 2010 at 6:48 pm


Imagine a town where fires burn themselves out through the dark of night; whole tenements broiling crimson, till what beams remain are having a smoke with the early bird, watching the morning off to work… A town where side walks collect the trash in bags cats will tear to bottles and banana peels that the garbage truck doesn’t come for, before the wind, the heat, and the rain does, a couple of weeks over… Where people die waiting for ambulances, all-the-time…

In the late 1970’s New York went broke! For some, the news was water to a fish; poverty had already put places like Harlem, The South Bronx, and Bushwick through the ringer for more than a decade by then… but in ‘77 Wall Street found himself shaking in his gray suit, waiting for a train that seemed like it’d never come. Times Square was smut town, minus the glamor of Vegas. It was every man for himself.

Turn the clock forward some three and a half decades and The South Bronx is still one of the poorest congressional districts in the country, Bushwick remains a slum lords haven, and you’d still better keep your eyes open in Harlem; the rent is too damn high and chances are evvverybody knows you’re the cause… on any given night you might work out to be someone’s solution!

Folks… Going into 2011 It behooves us all to pay close attention to the trains slowing down again; disappearing even. If the city’s handling of The Blizzard of Two Thousand Ten is indication of anything, it’s that we ain’t headed for the best of times. Time to put the Q’s up for Sanitation, FDNY, and other public services we are liable to the neglect of, with the imminent threat of budget cuts. It’s going to be every man for himself (for every man who swore he was doing himself already *stay tuned for exactly what I mean by that).

As was the case with thousands of other non-custodial Fathers, December 25th was a slow day with distant meaning. My daughter was with her Mom several hundreds of miles away, with plans in the works for me to come down and get her on the 26th. But Virginia storms a day or two ahead of us, and having traveled at the mercy of a blizzard a couple of years ago I was forced to assess whether It would be a good idea to try and beat it there and back. There simply would have been no way to avoid clashing with heavy snowfall, headed down the eastern seaboard on a Chinatown Bus. My lesson learned still serves in memory as a reminder of what it’s like to be stuck in a roadside ditch with wheels kicking up slush for 6 hours (and no heat). I sat before the weather channel, struggling with the decision for a day before postponing my trip; news reports projected NY collecting an estimated 12-18 inches. Sunday night and into the early morning I checked in and out at the window, as the white rose.

20 Inches! On the sidewalk, on cars, on the street. It took a bit of muscle just to push the door open. As I scaled the surrounding neighbors came to my attention; wandering scattered in helpless faces/ trekking with their heads down for an open store/ shoveling paths out of their homes/ stranded at the bus stop an hour, two, three…
The day went on and as the evening crept trucks continued to plowed up the main avenue, yet it became increasingly apparent that side streets were not being addressed. People had no choice but to chalk up Monday for a loss. Tuesday resulted to be no better. For most parts of the city sanitation still hadn’t come along. My landlord, whom owns two clinics next door to me, showed up for business to find his private contractor had not come to do their job. My brother, a Fireman, struggled to get down his block and waited for a bus that never showed. More than folks realizing they were going to have to work together to make things move, You began to get the idea that the workers the city depends on to run, didn’t have workers to depend on to get THEM to work!

The outcry began to rise like sweat beads, with all heads turned towards Mike Bloomberg. It has been four days since the storm’s onslaught and citizens glance around with the agitated expression one gives off at half a paint job. Middle class suburbia got a hint of what the town might begin to look like when the city shuts down…


Growing up, I learned to appreciate hard times. They were kind of celebrated by my mother as a time to recognize that we have each other.
I lost 3 days with my daughter, but she is here safe sound and more beautiful than ever. I will have the second half of our planned week with her all to myself. We gon’ make it. If it wasn’t the snow it mightve been something else; everyday struggle. Thank God it was only snow…

We are living in a time in which the economic ideology driving taxation and policy to distribute those monies, supposes to empower society by holding every one of us responsible to and for ourselves. Pooling resources is a notion which has been demonized, as has organizing at a very grassroots level; neighbors alienate themselves from one another; and ironically, just when we boast to be an independent society… a natural occurrence brings us back to reality. Low tax-pool = Low service! Those of us are pardoned from paying into the public (the wealthy) will be able to afford accommodations to make life easy in challenging times. Those of us who are expected to continue paying into the public, will work hard to do so and shouldn’t expect grade-A quality for our buck.. the elite services prioritize the wealthy customer *get it?*

Are you prepared to appreciate some hard times?
I should hope you are my friend… I should hope you are.

– Tr


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