The Unintentional Poetry of 'The New York Times': Every Winter There Is Snow, and This Weekend Was No Exception

Most of you, we imagine, spent Sunday comfortably indoors, watching it snow a little, watching TV a lot, and most likely debating whether it was mean to the delivery guy to order takeout. (On the one hand, he lives on tips; on the other hand, who wants to go out in that?) It was pretty for a bit, yes, but it was also wet and frustrating and it was sure, you knew, to make walking around the city unpleasant for the rest of the week.

But Robert D. McFadden, the Pulitzer-winning Times rewrite man, has no such quotidian concerns. In his magical version of New York, "it was a day to relax by a window, perhaps with a glass of wine and soft jazz on the radio, and take in the unreal loveliness of winter — the panes frosted like glass from Murano, the sills drifted with flourishes of lacework, and, out in the storm, dreamscapes of snow blowing down a street, curtains of snow falling in great sweeps, snow settling like peace in the parks and skeletal woodlands."

McFadden has a gift, clearly, for lyrical invocations of unpleasant weather. But weather reporting — like weather itself — turns out to have a dispiriting sameness. In McFaddenland, was the recent storm a particularly smooth-jazzy kind of snow? Not at all. WWD's jolly green Jeff Bercovici looks back today at some of McFadden's greatest hits and discovers that while no two snowflakes are the same, quite a few storms require jazz and window.

A sampling is after the jump.

Jan. 23, 2005: "[F]or those so inclined, it was a chance to relax indoors, snowed in with Bach, Brubeck or a good book, cozy behind panes embroidered with frost. For those who ventured out to play hooded, booted, muffled to the eyes the storm offered glimpses of nature's beauty: empty streets turned into white meadows, black-and-white woodlands painted in moonlight, snowflakes glittering like confections in a bakery frosted, glazed, powdered, sugary and in the parks children, romping, padded like armadillos."

Sept. 18, 1995: "For some, it was a day to curl up with a novel or listen to Billie Holiday blues by a streaming window."

Feb. 12, 1994: "[F]or many it was a day off to ski or skate, to sit at a window and admire the wild beauty of Whittier's snowbound American landscape ... comic snowy caps on heroic statues, cars buried in the snow like the machines of some lost civilization."

There's lots more at Women's Wear.

Memo Pad [WWD]
Related: A Record Snow: 26.9 Inches Fall in New York City [NYT]