Les Neiges d’Antan

As it turns out, Sunday’s snowfall was the biggest in Gotham’s history: 26.9″, topping the previous record of 26.4″, set back in 1947. Most of us are a little taken aback; it was a good solid snowstorm, and no question about it, but it didn’t feel like the biggest ever.

For example, I remember a doozie back in February 1983 that was so bad that the F train stopped running, stranding me in Manhattan. West 53rd Street being hip-deep in drifting snow, I had to camp out in for the weekend in Studio ‘A’ at Power Station with the band I was working with at the time (it was a quirky little outfit from Boston called the Blues Astronauts, featuring, if memory serves, a fellow by the name of Andy Breslau). But according to today’s Times, that storm only dropped a paltry 17.6 inches. Then there was a real whopper back in early January of 1996; that one completely paralyzed Brooklyn for several days, and I remember that the only way I found my car when it came time to dig it out was by looking for the radio antenna. (I also remember having a particularly difficult time getting around, because the same day I had managed to snap the anterior cruciate ligament in my left knee. I had been sparring with some young hotshot at the kung fu school, and decided to confound the insolent pup with a jumping double kick. These high, flashy kicks are not at all a part of the Hung Ga idiom, which generally emphasizes low stances and fierce hand techniques, but I used to do them very well, and could always rely on them to score a cheap shot on the unwary (and look pretty snappy besides). In other words: juvenile hot-dogging, utterly inappropriate for a forty-year-old. On this occasion I paid a high price for showing off – somehow I landed a tad off balance, and managed to twist my knee in two directions that knees aren’t meant to go: not only did it bend backwards, but it also rotated about 90° on the vertical axis. There was a sound like a bowstring snapping, and I knew right away I had a problem. No more leaping kicks for me after that, friends.) Anyway, that blizzard, immense though it seemed at the time, only deposited 20.2 inches, but it sure felt like a lot more snow. I think this last one sneaked in there by being particularly fluffy.

Maybe it should get an asterisk.

Here are a few pictures, taken late in the day, of Prospect Park in the snow, though they really don’t do it justice. It was so beautiful. Yup, this is New York City, folks.

Prospect Park 2006

Prospect Park 2006

Prospect Park 2006

Prospect Park 2006

Prospect Park 2006


  1. Malcolm–I remember the night well. I also remember the completely professional way you treated “that quirky band from Boston.” I am/was the guitar player and co-author of the songs. If you hear that music, it still holds up. I am back in the music after years of being out of it, playing with avant-garde saxophone and flute player Byard Lancaster and didjeridoo master Harold Smith as well as Irish music with my wife, fiddler Kitty Kelly in The Philadelphia Ceili Band. Andy is well and in NYC heading The Center for an Urban Future. Found your pictures by randomly googling “the blues astronauts.” I hope you are well.

    Posted September 2, 2006 at 7:21 pm | Permalink
  2. Malcolm says

    Hi Mike,

    Somehow I missed this comment when you posted it — I believe I was traveling at the time.

    Anyway, thanks for stopping by! I am glad to hear that you and Andy are well. This is why I love the blogosphere…

    Posted April 24, 2007 at 10:32 am | Permalink
  3. Hi Malcolm–Just dropping by to let you know that I (blues astronaut guitar) have a new album (sic) on cd baby.

    The Philadelphia Blues Messengers–Blues For Sale with Lisa Chavous, Byard Lancaster, Harold E. Smith, Odean Pope, and Mogauwane Mahloele. Please check it out at cdbaby or a few full tracks at our myspace.com/phillybluesmesengers, Especially Funk Meditation for Peace. Also, there are two blogs? on the my space…I’m not sure how to share them beyond the page.

    I hope you are well. I’d really like to know what you think. Sincerely, Mike Albrecht

    Posted July 31, 2008 at 2:56 pm | Permalink
  4. Malcolm says

    Hi Mike!

    I’ll take a look, and I am glad you are well.

    Thanks for keeping in touch.

    Posted August 1, 2008 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

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