From delicate snow showers to mighty blizzards, New Yorkers have danced with winter’s icy tunes for decades.
These historical snapshots, capturing snowfalls and blizzards from the 1900s to the 1980s, offer a peek into the city’s frosty past.
The images freeze moments when life in the Big Apple adapted to the cold. People bundled up, streets transformed by snow, and the city’s pulse continuing despite the chill. But there’s more than meets the eye.
These pictures reveal the city’s grit and smarts, and how New Yorkers tackled winter’s challenges together. They show not just snowy scenes but also how the city itself changed over time.
The New York Blizzard of 1888
Named The Great White Hurricane, the blizzard of 1888 impacted towns stretching from the Chesapeake Bay in the south to Maine in the north.
The storm caused railways and telegraph lines to collapse, trapping people indoors due to 50-foot snowdrifts.
While certain regions were buried under a staggering 60 inches of snow, New York City experienced a comparatively milder yet still impactful 22-inch snowfall.
The Great Blizzard of 1947
On December 26, 1947, what seemed like a wish for a white Christmas turned into a chilling reality with the Boxing Day storm.
The Great Blizzard of 1947 trapped numerous individuals, leaving them without adequate food and heat due to dwindling coal supplies.
This devastating storm claimed the lives of 77 people and set a then-record of 26.4 inches of snow measured in Central Park.
The North American Blizzard of 2006
On February 12, 2006, the North American Blizzard of 2006 swept through East Coast cities, disrupting normal life and prompting days-long school closures from Baltimore to Boston. \
However, New York City bore the brunt of the storm, receiving a staggering 26.9 inches of snow, marking the highest recorded snowfall in the city’s history according to government records.
Winter Storm Jonas of 2016
On January 23-24, 2016, Winter Storm Jonas, also known as Snowzilla, gripped the nation’s attention as a massive blizzard.
The impending severity prompted 11 governors and the mayor of Washington, D.C., to declare a state of emergency.
Travel came to a standstill in New York and New Jersey for two days due to the storm’s intensity.
Ultimately, the city received 26.8 inches of snowfall, falling just a fraction short of breaking the existing record.
(Photo credit: NY Daily News / New York Public Archives / Wikimedia Commons).