New York City Monday, March 12-14 The great blizzard of 1888 claimed a victim in Roscoe Conkling, the eminent lawyer, who had been Senator from New York. He had made his way through the drifts of snow in the morning and got to his office. In the evening when he wanted to return home the cabman accosted by him bargained for $50 for a fare, rather than pay which the ex-Senator preferred to try the journey on foot. But the weather was too much for him. As a result of the hardships of that day in the street he died a few days later. The blizzard of 1888 long remained a favorite topic among New Yorkers. It visited the city on Monday, March 12, after nearly twenty-four hours of rain, so that the streets were like rivers. On this watery New York a heavy blanket of snow descended and covered the city with slush. Then came a severe spell of frost, which turned the great expanse of slush into a huge cake of ice, swept by fierce gales and blanketed again with a heavy descent of snow. On the morning of the twelfth when the citizens looked out of their windows or attempted to pass through the streets they saw enormous drifts confronting them in every direction. The street cars were all confined to their barns and though an attempt was made to move the elevated trains it was found useless. Snow plows were requisitioned, but they proved a sorry remedy, for though the mountains of snow might be removed, the gale still blew and the snow still fell and the depth of frozen snow underneath had taken on the persistence and density almost of concrete. The serious extent of the calamity dawned on the people as the day progressed. The market, the grocer and the butcher were divided from them by an arctic wilderness, and families without proper supplies were forced to go hungry. There was a good deal of distress and all the resources of the city were called upon to get things back to normal. The shifts to which people were reduced provided food for much laughter later on, but at the time the trouble was real and almost calamitous, and showed what the freak of the weather could do at times to a city that proudly believed it had learned to command the forces of nature. Source: History of New York State 1523-1927 Publisher: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, Inc.-New York, Chicago. Copyright: 1927 Volume I and V ___________________________________________ Transcribed by Miriam Medina Back To MANHATTAN Main Back To BROOKLYN Main