John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
It’s up to 20 feet high, is filthy, and reportedly is growing grass on the top.
Which is the flintier city when it comes to winter, Buffalo or Boston?
Well, to judge from the endurance of each burg’s snow, the honor goes to Buffalo, which is living up to its new “For Real” motto with a for-real pile of powder still lazing around.
Boston’s crystal mountain, the Seaport Snow Farm, once could knock birds out of the sky with a reported height of 75 feet. It finally melted this week to much fanfare. But at the Buffalo Central Terminal, a righteous mound of snow refuses to die. Not that you’d recognize it as such—from witness reports it looks like an oily landslide or a rotting whale carcass.
“I was just passing by a week ago and I said to my husband, ‘I don't think that’s ice. I think that’s just dirt accumulated from everywhere they brought the snow from,’ ” says Lottie Pikuzinski, a chef at the nearby R & L Lounge.
“It’s about 15 to 20 feet high and about 50 feet long,” says Tony, who describes himself over the phone as “just one of the clienteles” at Arty’s, also near the snow pile. “It’s not white. It’s dirt. It’s filthy.”
Given the crummy hillock’s size, Tony predicts it could survive until the end of August. Parts of New York are expected to top 90 degrees this weekend—how on earth is this thing not a gray puddle? Pikuzinski guesses it has to do with its exoskeleton of ice and garbage. “It keeps it kind of sheltered, like a refrigerator,” she explains.
Recent wide-angle photos are hard to find, but here was the pile on May 20 and around June 5, respectively. Notes one dude on Facebook: “Drove past today it's actually growing grass on top of the pile.”