In Princeton, there was a run on shovels. As one shopkeeper lamented, “I could have been basking in Puerto Rico in the sun if I could have sold all the shovels I had requests for.” Many students shared his frustration, but for a different reason.The blizzard struck on Saturday, the outset of spring break, stranding some on campus and others en route to their destinations. One group of sophomores, attempting to fly to Acapulco, was trapped on Kennedy Airport’s tarmac for five hours before spending a restless night on the unforgiving furniture and floor of a terminal. Another group of undergraduates fared only slightly better when their flights from Newark International Airport were canceled. They attempted to return to Princeton, but in the face of snowdrifts, abandoned cars, and, ultimately, state-ordered road closures, their shuttle driver could make it no farther than Jamesburg, obliging them to hole up in a Holiday Inn.
On campus, workers, supported by 40 snowplows, toiled around the clock to clear walkways and parking lots; many slept in McCosh Health Center. A week later, winter officially ended, but the University remained blanketed in snow, prompting The Daily Princetonian to ask a one-word question: “Spring?”
John S. Weeren is founding director of Princeton Writes and a former assistant University archivist.