I was 11 years old at the time and living in Pittsburgh - and greatly annoyed that we got hardly a snowflake from this snowstorm. Meteorology was a new interest of mine and I didn't yet understand the dynamics of weather systems, e.g., East Coast storms often don't affect Western Pennsylvania because the Appalachian Mountains act as a barrier. (As was the case with the post-Christmas blizzard in 2010.) The 15.3" that fell on New York beginning Sunday, Feb. 9, 1969 brought the city to a virtual standstill for a number of days. It was front page news in the Pittsburgh papers, and I eyed the photos enviously. (Like the one to the right showing mostly foot traffic on 2nd Ave. near 45th St.)
It became known as the "Lindsay snowstorm" because New York's mayor John Lindsay (pictured, left) was blamed for not getting streets plowed quickly enough, especially in the boro of Queens. It nearly cost him re-election later that year, but he won running as an independent. (10 years later a series of crippling snowstorms in Chicago was largely responsible for the defeat of its mayor.) At the time it was the City's tenth biggest snowstorm - since then eight subsequent storms have had larger accumulations.
This snowstorm was the inspiration for two episodes of the sitcom That Girl (starring Marlo Thomas). In a two-part storyline Ann and boyfriend Donald were stranded at JFK by the snowstorm after accompanying her parents to the airport. This threatened a Broadway audition Ann had later that day - which she eventually did over the phone. Later, Donald, a writer for the fictional Newsview Magazine, wrote a story about Ann's experience. These episodes aired on ABC on October 30 and Nov. 6, 1969. (They are from the show's fourth season which is available on Amazon.)
To read about other New York snowstorms, please double click here for a recap I've written on my blog New York City Weather Archive. And below are links to posts from this blog about other New York snowstorms: