I was born a few years after 77, but grew up with a healthy appreciation of that year’s blizzard that had etched itself into the identity of Western New Yorkers. I suppose I never expected that storm to be eclipsed in my lifetime, but this one is close. Whatever the case may be, it will be one of the great inane debates of Buffalo’s future: ‘77 or ‘14. The tales will get taller inside the bars on South Park than the snow lying on South Park right now.
The biggest difference lies in the fact the the ‘77 storm affected the entire metro area, whereas this storm formed a curtain of demarcation upon the Irish and Polish strongholds of the area, a Catholic scourge leaving the urban apostates relatively untouched. For those of us north of the storm, there’s a mixture of relief and jealousy; we’re happy to be able to leave our homes, but we’re never going to have the stories you hearty folk south of God’s line are amassing.
Today I drove down South Park from downtown, looking to see how far I could get just out of curiosity. Looking for a story, perhaps. South Park was blocked at Smith Street. Seneca, however, was open all the way to Bailey, and it was there I saw two dump trucks loaded with snow headed west. The snow in South Buff is too deep for the plows, the only way to clear the streets is to use pay-loaders and dump-trucks.
I followed them to the grounds of Buffalo Central Terminal, which for these few days is again a hive of vehicles and activity. No fewer than 20 dump trucks stood in a line on black slush, waiting their turn to dump and make the two-mile return course to somewhere beyond the police barricade.
Waiting for their loads was a team of smaller bulldozers, pushing the snow into the most massive pile of dirty snow and ice I have ever seen.
I would welcome your tales of the storm if you care to send them in. It would be fun to collect them in a single place. If you don’t do it now, no one will believe you later.
Here’s a 30-second video I took of the snow-mountain operation: