The Great White Hurricane of 1888

A major storm is threatening to shut down New York City and forecasters say it may be the worst storm to ever hit the Big Apple. Will it be worse than the devastating blizzard that slammed into the city in March of 1888?  From March 11th to 15th the city was buried underneath a fifty-inch blanket of snow. More than 200 perished in the extreme cold during the Great White Hurricane and fires raged as helpless volunteers watched from afar, their teams trapped in the deep drifts that formed in the howling winds.

My Inwood provides some fascinating original coverage of the event.

"Thousands upon thousands of men, wrapped in the oddest of costumes that imagination can picture, turned out to dig paths through the streets. In many places the diggers had to cut through gigantic drifts in order to release people who were imprisoned in their own houses. "
"The sufferings of homeless people can hardly be told in words. All policemen were ordered to look out for these people, and also to arrest all persons who showed any signs of not being to take care of themselves. Early in the day the police lodging rooms were packed. Men who had money but could get no places to sleep in hotels applied at the station houses for shelter. The police were finally obliged to use their corridors to save men and women from perishing outside."
"In front of all the clubs, in fact everywhere throughout the city, people could be seen feeding the starving sparrows, which flew against the windows in the most pitiful way. This awful violation of the law—for it is at present a criminal offense in New York—was ignored by the police. Nay, a Herald reporter saw a policeman in cold blood criminally feeding breadcrumbs to a sparrow in Twenty-third Street near Ninth Avenue."