Tag Archives: winter of 2011

NY Times on Middletown Roof Collapse

“‘Bad as it may be, I love y’all’s snowfall,’ he said, mostly in jest.”

“The woods may be lovely, dark and deep, but for small New England towns like this one, snow no longer brings the peaceful sweep of easy wind and downy flake.”

It sounds like the opening narration of a bad M. Night Shyamalan film. Actually, it’s the lead sentence of an article in yesterday’s New York Times, which deals with the familiar enough Snow vs. Roof drama taking place across New England this season. The focus is on recent structural collapse concerns in Middletown, particularly that time a building on Main Street collapsed under the weight of snow.

The article provides an interesting glimpse at the Main Street businesses affected in the aftermath of last week’s frightening collapse:

Mitchell Wynn, 49, who owns Mike’s Barber Shop, was able to salvage his antique chairs and his marble work station and has found another shop a few blocks away. For now, his two sons are carrying on the business, with one cutting hair at his home and the other making house calls.

Freeman to Wes: “BRB,” Indefinite Hiatus

Joining the ranks of Wolf Parade, Fugazi, Blink 182, and System of a Down, the Freeman Athletic Center has announced an indefinite hiatus, citing irreconcilable creative differences and descent into “heavy snow load” addiction. The announcement follows years of speculation regarding the band’s alarming 1996 effort, Wall Collapses Under Heavy Snowfall, and places the status of its upcoming release, This Week’s Phys-Ed Classes, in limbo until further review.  More from publicist and Athletics Director John Biddiscombe:

Due to the heavy snow load on many of the  Freeman Athletic Center roofs,  all classes, except for those classes held in the pool, are canceled for Monday and Tuesday, February 7 and 8.  Also, the Andersen Fitness Center, Bacon Field House, Rosenbaum Squash Courts, Multi Exercise Rooms, and Silloway Gymnasium are closed indefinitely. Please check the Department of Physical Education and Athletics web site for up-to-date information regarding resumption of classes and the opening of activity spaces.

Gym Closed

If you were hoping to go to the Freeman today, tough luck. Wesleyan, aware of its buildings’ potentialstructural problems, has closed the athletic center to clear off snow.

The official bulletin from Freeman’s schedule:

SPECIAL NOTICE: Due to roof snow removal, all activity in the Freeman Athletic Center on Saturday, Feb. 5 has been suspended until further notice as of 2 p.m. The swim meet will go on as scheduled at 3 p.m. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Unfortunately for gym frequenters, it is unsafe for people to be inside while they are clearing the roof, but anyways, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

A Short-Lived Snow Sculpture

The Program House-sponsored Snowperson Competition is happening right. fucking. now. on Andrus Field. Pity Alec Henry ’14 seems to have won before the competition even began:

Liberty Styles and I built this snow sculpture last weekend, only to see it in ruins mere hours after its creation. Few had the chance to see it, so I would like to share it with all you out there who may appreciate such a construction.

Certainly a strong contender in the Snow-Structure-That-Might-be-a-Prop-in-a-Tim-Burton-Film category. Remember, kids: have fun with the snow, but know your limits.

Structural Integrity Concerns Are Concerning

Yesterday I posted a 1996 Argus article regarding a massive snowstorm that collapsed an entire wall of the Freeman Athletic Center. I made light of it, because, you know, it was 1996, and no one got hurt, and all is well, and people say funny things in 1996.

The day before that we reported on a building collapse on Main Street in Middletown. We made light of it—sort of—because everyone’s okay, except a bunch of old props from Oddfellows Playhouse, even though city officials say Middletown buildings are still threatened by heavy snowfall.

Today I received a scary email regarding on-campus evacuations from Joyce Topshe, Associate Vice President for Unpronounceable Names Facilities. I’m not making light of it, because it’s kind of scary. [Key safety tip: “Please be alert to any unusual cracking noises.” Unless your roommate  is, or studies with, Alvin Lucier.]

A Brief History of Wesnowpocalypses

Did I use enough awful pun clichés in the title? Are you sure?

There’s been some disagreement lately, on the newly Frankless ACB and elsewhere, regarding last week’s snow day—specifically, whether it was a Very Big Deal, or just kind of a big deal. When did we last get this much snow? And when the hell did we last have a snow day during a semester? Some say 1996. Others, 1978. Given the four-year student turnover, it’s difficult to establish an accurate institutional memory on Important Issues Like This. I could probably ask Martin Benjamin ’57, but that would require, y’know—asking Martin Benjamin ’57.

So I dug through Argus archives from both years instead; I found no evidence of full-scale university-announced snow days in either, but I did find articles pertaining to similar massive snowpocalypses of Wesleyan winters past. And it all seems eerily familiar.

The Sky is Falling

Shit, the roof's leaking again!

First, they told you that igloos weren’t safe.  Then, they told you the outdoors weren’t safe (and then made you go to class in those unsafe conditions).  But did they tell you that the insides of (non-snow) buildings weren’t safe either?

The Middletown Eye reports that the roof of a building on Main Street collapsed, as shown above.

“We were up on the third floor and we saw the beams start to sag” said Mike Dipiro, owner of a building at 505 Main Street which collapsed this morning.  “And then we saw it crack.  I told Chris (Conley) to run, and I called 911.”

“We just got down from the roof and I felt the blast,” said Sammy Bajraktarevic, owner of the Luce building and restaurant.  “And I felt the blast.  I was holding an umbrella and my first instinct was to hold the umbrella up to protect me from the blast.  And I started screaming at the top of my lungs.  I was screaming for Mike because I thought he was in front of the building.”

“I was standing in front of the building, and the firefighters heard it,”  Dipiro said.  “They said to run and I did, and then it just blew right across the street.  The bricks were flying.”

The third floor was used as a storeroom for Oddfellows Playhouse, so it lost 36 years worth of costumes and props in the collapse.