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The snow fell hard all day. School did not dismiss early and the walk home was treacherous for short legs and heavy backpacks. We met at the 86th street bus stop, my two brothers and I, between Lexington and Park. We headed up Park Avenue.
Every so often–more than I would have liked–the two of them dropped their bags, gathered snow into cold small hands and hurled snowballs at passing taxis daring them to stop and yell. “C’mon boys,” I would say, “We need to get home.” They laughed and hooted and hollered. White snow falling in New York is fantastic. The magical snow piles up like meringue on a lemon pie and we knew it would be gray slush by morning.
We made it home in time for 4 o’clock tea with mother. She sat in the living room with a huge tray full of sugary tea, buttery crumpets, juicy orange slices, and small pieces of dark chocolate. Afterwards we did our homework and then had dinner.
At 8 o’clock my mother looked out the 5th floor window and said, “does anyone know where the sleds are?” My stepfather said he could get at them in the basement storage bin, “why?” “There is a driving ban tonight,” my mother said. “Let’s go sledding!” We raced to get our snow boots and pants, gloves and hats on. The elevator man brought us down. He smiled when he saw us, “I was wondering if you were going to take advantage of the snow.” We screamed, “Yahoo! Yes!” My mother said “shhh,” but she smiled as well. We raced through the lobby and out the front doors where we stopped and looked around.
It was silent. Not a car, not a horn, not the wind whistling by. It was a New York City we didn’t know very well. The streetlights glowed and showed shadows of snow coming down. The red, yellow, and green of the stoplight glared on the snow. We put our sleds down at the top of Park Avenue that night..1…2…3 sleds lined up. Then we three grabbed hands, jumped on our sleds, and sailed down the middle of the city, just my brothers and me.