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Vintage photos from 140 years of NYC snowstorms

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As New York is hit with another winter storm, take a look at how the city dealt with them in decades past

Photos courtesy of the New York Public Library Digital Collection

When it comes to snowstorms, New York City has had it relatively mild this season. Besides getting pummeled by Winter Storm Stella—which isn’t even a blizzard anymore, and is currently blanketing the city in a wintry mix of sleet, slush, and rain—the city has only had to face one other major storm this winter.

And while the snowfall is always pretty when it first comes down, it takes just a few days (and a few dogs peeing in snowbanks) to remind you that the clean up isn’t all that fun. But it could be worse: These historical photos from the New York Public Library’s Digital Collection show the difficulties of maneuvering during 19th- and early-20th-century snowstorms, and the subsequent clearing of powder. It doesn’t look fun, folks.

So on this slushy, gross day, sit back, relax, and enjoy photos of a snowy NYC from decades past. There will be plenty of time to worry about shoveling (or scraping ice) from your stoop later.

The January Snow Blockade--A snow-plow on the Long Island Railroad endeavoring to clear the track, 1877.
A winter morning on Fifth Avenue and 17th Street, 1893.
Madison Square after snow storm, 1899.
Snowballing on the Lower East Side, 1900.
Cleaning the streets after a snow storm, 1905.
Photos courtesy of the New York Public Library Digital Collection
Blockaded cars on 23rd Street, 1905.
Myrtle Avenue near Borough Hall, after a snowstorm, 1945.
Snow removal on Atlantic Avenue, 1947.
Times Plaza near the LIRR station in Brooklyn, 1960.
Brooklyn after the great snow storm, 1961.