The hard work of shoveling snow during a New York winter

You can almost feel the bitter cold in this rich, evocative scene of faceless men battling piles of snow after a winter storm buried a street somewhere in New York City.

Completed in 1905, painter Harry W. Newman would have been 32 years old when he captured the gray skies, white snow, black coats, and red brick that composed a typical city block of the era. We can’t see her face, but the little girl on the far right might be the only person looking at this as a snowy wonderland.

Where was this block, exactly? I wish I knew, but perhaps not knowing is the point. I see what look like streetcar rails sticking out from the snow, and the telephone wires and poles make me think it’s not Manhattan—where wires were buried underground following the Blizzard of 1888.

Could this be the aftermath of that deadly surprise blizzard, painted from memory?

[Source: Cavalier Galleries]

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4 Responses to “The hard work of shoveling snow during a New York winter”

  1. andrewalpern Says:

    The groupings of the houses, the trolly tracks, and the width of the street suggest to me that it might be somewhere in Brooklyn.

  2. countrypaul Says:

    Hmmm, telegraph poles – could it actually be (gasp) an outer borough?!? (Or maybe just an archetypal impression….)

  3. velovixen Says:

    Andrew–My thought as well.

  4. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    It certainly looks like Brooklyn. What comes to mind to me is the area that used to be called South Brooklyn—today’s Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, Park Slope, and Boerum Hill.

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