Among the events canceled due to unseasonably inclement weather on Wednesday were: an early viewing of the re-opened André Mertens Galleries for Musical Instruments at the Met. A housing clinic on the Upper West Side. A rally on the steps of City Hall regarding rent laws and Albany inaction. Hundreds of flights from area airports, plus all Greyhound, Shortline, Peter Pan, and Bieber bus service from Port Authority Bus terminal. Oh, and also: classes at all city public schools.
The unwanted nor’easter was a disruption for many across the city, but the surprise snow day was better received. It brought the O’Connor siblings, among many other Brooklyn youths, to the hills and outlooks of Prospect Park.
Joni O’Connor, 6 1/2 years old, explained that her favorite places to go sledding were “right over there and right here.”
We were kneeling in the gathering snow right smack in the middle of the school day, somewhere in the Long Meadow, already covered like that Bruegel painting.
Joni and her sister, 8-year-old Monet, were getting ready for their first attempts at the hill, appraising the path with the fewest trees and lampposts. “We don’t really steer,” Joni said.
But the long sleds she and her sister brought to the park were far better than those round ones that spin and are kind of scary, she noted.
There was some disagreement between the sisters about whether the snow was good or bad: While Joni wanted another day off, perhaps leaving more time to make a snowman including carrot for nose, Monet would rather go to school.
“I like to spend my day doing things more than just playing,” Monet noted. Besides, spring break was coming up, “and there’s always the weekend.”
She had been looking forward to a class field trip to see a Chinese acrobatic performance, the kind of thing you can’t do on a snow day.
Nevertheless, she was out in the snow.
At the precipice of the hill the sisters considered the drop. This particular stretch of snow had already been smoothed and flattened by previous sledders.
Other sources familiar with the sledding situation said that while sledding is fun, you can’t get very far in thick drifts: Either your adult has to pull you down the hill to make a route first or you can follow where the other kids went. Sources with knowledge of the adult community said that it’s a little exhausting when the kids are off from school, and the whole snow day thing necessitates some juggling of schedules. But, according to the sources, watching can also be entertaining.
At the O’Connors’ launch point, Joni made the drop first. The route was clean. As promised, she did not really steer. She also didn’t hit any trees or lampposts. Certainly this was better than math, reading, word study, or even writing, her favorite school subject. She immediately began the long, slow walk up the hill for more.
Monet had a few false starts in the thick drifts but eventually she made it down, too. It ended up being worth it. “I found a route to China,” she exclaimed unexpectedly at the bottom, which her father explained may have had something to do with the fact that Monet was studying the country in school.
The sisters made it back to the top, waiting for another push. Fun refuses to be canceled. “Can we do it again?” Monet asked.