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When it snows, space opens up | DesignNotes by Michael Surtees

When it snows, space opens up

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walking in the snow '09 at ten15am

When snow comes down it’s not that extrodinary considering that it snows all the time in the winter in North America. But what is special when it happens in NYC is that it’s creating a lot of havoc for people that drive cars from outside of Manhattan. People tend to stay home as the roads are so icy on the freeways leading to the city that it’s not really worth getting in an accident. One of the unintended consequences of all the snow and bad roads is that the city is a lot quieter. So walking to work becomes slightly different.


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There’s probably two or three times a year when the snow comes down heavy enough that it’s worth pulling out the camera to take photos of the Flatiron Building that everyone has seen before. But how can you not though? One of my favourite spaces when I walk home is just to the east of the Flatiron. The sidewalk has been expanded and has taken over one of the streets. In the spring there’s chairs and tables to sit on. It’s an amazing open space that gives you 180 degrees of viewing air when you are walking south to north. Aside from the Flatiron to the left, the Empire State Building is directly in front, and Madison Square Park with all the buildings surrounding it to the right.

What is still amazing is that even as every day here still seems slightly unique from every other day, there’s still patterns to some days that are more unique then the usual unpredictability. Snow days are like that here.

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