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Wintertime in the ‘Hood 1979

December 16, 2008



There was a time in New York City when it seemed during the months of January and February we were guaranteed a snow storm. For kids it’s a win-win situation, there’s the possibility of schools closing, plus the unbridled joy of playing in your very own neighborhood winter wonderland.


My mother remembers the time being between 10:30-11:00pm after the snow storm was over, when she woke me up out of my sleep to get me dressed to go outside. I just remembered it being late and also feeling confused about where my parents could be taking me at this time of the night. But when I got downstairs my eyes widened. The mass of untouched snow covering the courtyard, trees and bushes along with the pinkish hue in the sky made it seem like a totally different place from which I was familiar. I vividly recall the feeling but I’m sure it was just as gratifying for ‘Ma’ and ‘Pop’, as I now know first hand as a parent, the warmness it brings inside when witnessing those first experience moments with your kids.


After having to be carried out of the courtyard, we went to Underwood park  on Lafayette ave. between Waverly and Washington (we always referred to it as ‘Lafayette Park’). My uncles, aunts, cousin and more than a few neighbors soon joined us in the park for all out fun. What I didn’t know was once the storm began to slow down my relatives and neighbors all called each other to coordinate a time to meet outside. Throwing snowballs, riding a sled, making snow angels, it was all fun, however the highlight for me was the snow polar bear we all chipped in to make. The year was 1979 I’m the little whippersnapper wearing the rainbow scarf in the pictures.


Also a little footnote, the other boy in the picture, who appears to be about 11 or 12 years old wearing the navy blue coat, was a neighbor of ours named Cliffy. He went on to become a pioneering Hip-Hop dancer known as Cliff Love, touring and appearing in videos throughout the eighties to mid-nineties for groups like Nice and Smooth and Brooklyn’s own the legendary Whodini.  Below is a video he was featured by Nice and Smooth. There’s a good solo shot at about the 2:55 mark, he can be seen throughout wearing a black hat, black shirt and purple pants.


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