The mother of all snowstorms

Upper east side, 2/12/2006 Palermo "Annunziata" at the Met

It was the best of times, even though, or possibly due to the fact that, life itself (as well as all the trains, boats and planes) was running at half speed. The only depressing note in this otherwise
strange world (strange in that it was almost identical to the feel of the Chronicles of Narnia movie) had nothing to do with the snow.

If you travel anywhere in this country, you had better rent a car or pay for a room in a hotel, because you are not going to be able to leave your bag anywhere else in the city. Forget trying to go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Forget the quaint notions of “cloak rooms”, or “deposito bagagli”. These niceties have long since been eliminated due to the one in a million chance of someone putting a malevolent device inside a rolling suitcase. Maybe Bloomberg’s ultra-efficient 21st century New York could afford to put bomb-proof concrete baggage checks every 20 blocks or so up and down Manhattan, now that they have been systematically scoured from the important places of our culture (the places that tourists like me must visit, trundling roller bags over the snowdrifts that barricaded the corners of the Upper East Side almost as high as the fortified walls of Palermo).

Finally, I was able to find someone to take pity on me in my quest to see six paintings by Antonello da Messina. A Madison Avenue shopkeeper with a heart of gold whose identity will be withheld from the authorities reading this blog accepted my bag for 90 minutes so that I could share the mystical combination of quiet contemplation of a renaissance room in a quiet city with my son.