ICE STORM 2014: Beautiful But Deadly

February 6, 2014 |  by  |  News  |  , ,

 

Sure it's pretty—just don't stand under any trees for too long | Photo: Bradley Maule

Sure it’s pretty—just don’t stand under any trees for too long | Photo: Bradley Maule

I can assure you, they make a sound. Trees fell in the woods and all across Greater Philadelphia during this latest douse of Winter 2013-14. Nearly a million people have no power, traffic and trains are a nightmare, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has become a State of Emergency, and more winter’s coming. Punxsutawney Phil doesn’t play.

For me, when snow comes, my immediate inclination is to get outside and bring my camera. An ice storm? That’s a rare treat, but one with serious risk when it’s adding extra weight to trees already burdened by snow. Anyone who’s seen the Ang Lee film The Ice Storm knows the danger.

In spite of the warnings—the every-three-minutes chunks of ice and snow Plinko’ing their way down the tree canopy, the sounds of sirens and chainsaws, and a suggestion from the Friends of the Wissahickon to not go into the woods—I headed for the woods. Not two blocks from home, with stuff falling all around me, I wondered if I should turn around and get my bike helmet.

On the day CVS announced it would stop selling cigarettes, the $2B loss it would suffer for it was already being felt in Mt. Airy, where the poor corporation couldn't even shovel or salt its sidewalk. (The driveways and parking lots were okay though.) | Photo: Bradley Maule

On the day CVS announced it would stop selling cigarettes, the $2B loss it will suffer for it was already being felt in Mt. Airy, where the poor corporation couldn’t even shovel or salt its sidewalk. (The driveways and parking lots were okay though.) | Photo: Bradley Maule

Lincoln Drive’s two final blocks in Mount Airy, between Mount Pleasant Avenue and Allens Lane, resembled a Currier and Ives print; the French Village looked like a fairy tale. Starting in on the slushy Cresheim Trail, the tumbling ice and snow became constant, and I wasn’t ten minutes into the woods when I saw a giant branch fall a good 60′ from a tree. Good time to turn around.

Having flirted enough with disaster, I returned to and stayed on city sidewalks—where they were shoveled. Most folks did a great job of keeping pedestrian thoroughfares clean: private homes, small businesses, apartment buildings. But some, like the CVS located at the prominent intersection of Mount Pleasant and Lincoln, and a number of the mansions lining Allens Lane, went untouched, leaving bipeds to their own devices.

Throughout the neighborhood, residents were clearing the woodland debris from their homes and yards, mail carriers and sanitation workers continued on business as usual, and I kept my camera as dry as I could while shooting these photos in West Mount Airy. Click any photo to launch the gallery.

About the author

Bradley Maule is co-editor of the Hidden City Daily and the creator of Philly Skyline. He's a native of Tyrone, Pennsylvania, and he's hung his hat in Shippensburg, Germantown, G-Ho, Fishtown, Portland OR, Brewerytown, and now Mt. Airy. He just can't get into Twitter, but he's way into Instagram @mauleofamerica.



3 Comments


  1. Bwahahaha: “On the day CVS announced it would stop selling cigarettes, the $2B loss it will suffer for it was already being felt in Mt. Airy, where the poor corporation couldn’t even shovel or salt its sidewalk.”

  2. These put a beautiful face on the disaster. It was a rough day in the ‘burbs.

Recent Posts
Parkway Institutions To Take Revenue Hit From Pope Visit

Parkway Institutions To Take Revenue Hit From Pope Visit

July 6, 2015  |  Morning Blend

The financial inconvenience of being part of history, Taller Puertorriqueño to break ground on $11.4 million project in Fairhill this fall, celebrating the half-century fight for LGBT rights in the Gayborhood, and frequent commuter discounts likely to return for Delaware River bridge users > more

The Tastiest Morsel Of Season City

The Tastiest Morsel Of Season City

July 6, 2015  |  The Shadow Knows

On the sleepy 200 block of North 13th Street the former Ballinger Building is steamy with the scent of dim sum and a wide range of former tenants that will send an appetite for adaptive reuse into overdrive. If the building's Renaissance façade doesn't whet the palette, its history of notable 20th century construction companies, sexploitation films, and enterprising architectural firms will. The Shadow dishes out this multicourse meal from the outer edges of Center City > more

Summer Break

Summer Break

June 29, 2015  |  News

The Hidden City Daily team is taking a short summer vacation. We'll be back next Monday, July 6th. Have a great Independence Day! > more

Taking Inventory With The Philadelphia Church Project

Taking Inventory With The Philadelphia Church Project

June 26, 2015  |  Vantage

The fabric of Philadelphia's sacred architecture is slowly disintegrating as religious neighborhood landmarks give way to new construction. The Philadelphia Church Project, a growing online record of the city's historic sancturaries, has been steadily amassing a church database for almost 8 years. Hidden City co-editor Michael Bixler checked in with the founder of the website to discuss church closings and the project in detail > more

More Starchitecture Coming To The Navy Yard

More Starchitecture Coming To The Navy Yard

June 26, 2015  |  Morning Blend

A “landmark event” set for Tuesday, Temple (likely) makes room for new stadium, ROYGBIV in the Gayborhood, and contemplating the future of a South Philly community center > more

When Pastorius Monument Unsettled Germantown

When Pastorius Monument Unsettled Germantown

June 25, 2015  |  Morning Blend

Contemplating monumental art in Germantown, a look at Indego's great two-month numbers, another pilot program to get more school funding, and a textile warehouse conversion in Queen Village > more