2005-01-21 / Community

Historical Views

  • of the Rockaways No Major Snow This Winter,
  • But Look Back At 1977

    I bet by now you are wishing that winter was over. Well here is a memory of a winter that for most of us who lived it, want to forget about. The winter of 1977 was the coldest, I believe, since the days of World War I. The arctic express was very active that year, and the cold snaps that followed the cold fronts stayed for weeks at a time.

    As a matter of fact – it snowed in the Sahara Desert for the first time in recorded history. Many a battery used to start cars died, and warm-ups took longer than usual. Most new cars had a hard time starting, but my old Chevy rolled right over and started. It sounded like an aircraft carrier under kamikaze attack! Once the oil warmed up a little, and got rid of the heavy viscosity from the cold, I could drive away. By the time I got to work in Long Island City, the car was warmed up to the banjo housing in the rear end. Even with re-circulated air through the heater, and a piece of cardboard in front of the radiator, the wind chill factor took the heat as fast as it came up. When I was asked who works on your old car, I replied, “Me and Mel Lochmuss – a great mechanic and friend of mine!” Then they wanted to know how to get in touch with Mel and I hope I spelled his name right.

    During this hard winter, the snow and ice lasted for a long time, and the final melt was in May, I believe, after a storm of 18 inches of wet snow!

    Thanks to M. of Bayswater, we have two Historical Views of the winter of 1977 taken in Far Rockaway. In one view we are looking down Central Avenue towards Cornaga Avenue, from Mott Avenue. The second view was taken in front of the 101 Precinct on Mott Avenue just north of Cornaga Avenue.

    As you can see, the biggest problem was where to put the snow. The streets were plowed, but there was no place to park at the curbs until the white stuff was carted away. In some cases salt wasn’t good enough to melt it away. That is how cold it was at the time – and windy as hell.

    Many a home in the Rockaways was subject to a freeze-up of water pipes due to the wind, and lots of gas stoves were kept on to supplement the house heating system. Needless to say, many were walking around their homes with a blanket wrapped around them.

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