First Year’s Snow

To say that I was a gleeful and spellbound little monkey this morning upon seeing the first year’s snow in New York City would be an understatement. My first impulse upon catching a glance of familiar landscape transmuted overnight into a wintry wonderland was to race outside and jump up and down and feel the steady crunch and glorious slippage of sneakers hitting as yet unsalted sidewalks. I improvised a bipedal method of sledding down a Central Park slope and cheered on kids who had the foresight to haul out sledding equipment for use upon this beautiful white stretching scape. The snow made strangers in the distance more pronounced and the white expanse was a natural bounce card to highlight the glorious brick and urban beauty. In short, I was happily six years old, if only because I was making up for three decades of mostly snowless California weather. Yes, later in the afternoon, there was the slush and the pungent marshmallow smell of decay that penetrated even my clogged nostrils. But this was snow! Magnificent snow! As wondrous a meterological ingredient as San Francisco’s fog!

For East Coasters, this is no doubt all old hat. I am indeed a wild-eyed rube when it comes to this sort of weather. But the New York population had been bifurcated into those who embraced the snow with great ardor and those who wished to hole themselves up until the snow had passed. I wondered about these shadowy figures bunkered in apartments. When did snow lose its appeal for them? When did the first drop of winter become something to be dreaded? Yes, it’s all new to this California native. But surely even new joys can be discovered within the familiar.

I am also saddened to report that A Public Space was beaten by the New York Review of Books this afternoon in a game of literary trivia. A cadre of litbloggers — including the effusive and good-natured proprietor of Wet Asphalt, who I was fortunate to meet today for the first time — was assembled to cheer on APS, but ended up heckling and applauding both teams, while also conspiring together to determine the answers. I am happy to report that Tim Brown adeptly got in touch with his inner Alex Trebek, providing very funny and very deadpan emcee work. Apparently, we were so unintentionally vociferous that not only did the three A Public Space members run away from us when it was all over, but the trio suggested that we come up there to replace them (“Sure!” we replied). At one point, I even observed Brigid Hughes, sitting a row in front of us, covering her head with her hands.

Further, I was shocked to see APS not taking the opportunity to plug its recent subscription offer. I was so distressed by this that, at one point, I loudly mumbled, “*cough* Helvetica **cough**,” and thankfully the balance was rectified. (And if you think that’s bad, the NYRoB team couldn’t even get its URL right.)

I came away with respect for both teams, who played well under pressure and displayed a hearty sense of humor.

Nevertheless, the NYRoB‘s victory did not stop us from laying down the gauntlet. We approached the NYRoB trio, boldly declaring that the Litblogging Army would challenge them anytime, anywhere for any contest of wills. Let it be literary trivia or let it be Twister or mini golfing or bowling. I handed Edwin Frank my card, figuring that our common first name might prove beneficial in arranging a future matchup. Whether Mr. Frank will take it upon himself to deploy his able team against ours, I cannot say.

I’ll have more to report on the 2007 Indie & Small Press Book Fair quite soon, including a lengthy report on the Ian MacKaye presentation. For now, I have a few modest deadlines to beat.

[UPDATE: Eric has a report, including some pictures of Brown and the litbloggers in action.]