“Nobody had ever heard of such a thing…”
I think there was a time when people were much more in tune to the seasons, and adapted their behavior to their environment instead of trying to subdue Mother Nature.
This is an excerpt from Al Smith’s autobiography Up To Now, ©1929:
A lost sport to the children of today is sleigh riding. It is next to impossible now in New York City, except in Central Park, or here and there on the west side of the city. Prior to 1894, no appropriation was ever made by the city for the removal of snow. It remained on the streets, just as it does now in the country sections of the state, until the warming suns of spring melted it away. When Colonel Waring was appointed street-cleaning commissioner by Mayor Strong in 1895, he shocked the whole community by appearing before the Board of Estimate and Apportionment and asking for two million dollars to remove the snow after a snowstorm. Nobody had ever heard of such a thing and it created much discussion. Tobogganing and sleighing on hills was a popular sport. Dover Street was probably the center of it, because there is a sharp incline from Franklin Square to Walter Street. I remember one side of Dover Street where there were no buildings and which abutted upon the masonry work of the Brooklyn Bridge, and which, after a night’s sleighing, would be left as smooth as glass. People were not then required by ordinance to remove snow from the sidewalk.