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Blizzard in New York City, Mar. 18-19, 1956.
Blizzard in New York City, Mar. 18-19, 1956.Alfred Eisenstaedt—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
Blizzard in New York City, Mar. 18-19, 1956.
Blizzard in New York City, Mar. 18-19, 1956.
Blizzard in New York City, Mar. 18-19, 1956.
Blizzard in New York City, Mar. 18-19, 1956.
Blizzard in New York City, Mar. 18-19, 1956.
Blizzard in New York City, Mar. 18-19, 1956.
Blizzard in New York City, Mar. 18-19, 1956.
Blizzard in New York City, Mar. 18-19, 1956.
Blizzard in New York City, Mar. 18-19, 1956.
Blizzard in New York City, Mar. 18-19, 1956.
Blizzard in New York City, Mar. 18-19, 1956.
Blizzard in New York City, Mar. 18-19, 1956.
Blizzard in New York City, Mar. 18-19, 1956.
Blizzard in New York City, Mar. 18-19, 1956.
Alfred Eisenstaedt—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
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A March Blizzard in New York City: See the Snowy Streets of 1956

Winter Storm Stella may have many people scratching their heads: after a warm February, it's hitting the East Coast one week before the official start of spring.

But there’s precedent for a major snowstorm in the middle of March, although it may not happen frequently. It was 61 years ago, nearly to the day, on March 18, 1956, that another hit the East Coast, blanketing the northeast corridor with snow.

During that storm, LIFE photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt captured these images of New Yorkers coping with the onslaught of winter weather. Though the images did not run in the magazine, the storm did make news — with the tale of one New Yorker who had more trouble than most with the snow.

Al Asnis of LIFE's photo lab happened to be waiting for the train on an El platform when he saw a man "writhing on the sidewalk below," the magazine reported.

As LIFE described in the April 2, 1956 issue:

While preoccupied passers-by went their way, Asnis took a picture (above) then rushed to offer his assistance just as other help arrived. The man was a 48-year-old letter carrier named Max Urkowitz who, on the way home after his rounds, had fallen, twisting his leg. He said he had heard a sharp-snap and thought the leg was broken. One man, doing a job that no novice should attempt, expertly fashioned a makeshift splint for a broken leg. Arriving after a 90 minute delay caused by the snow, an ambulance attendant admired the splint but had to remove it en route to the hospital so the patient could be examined. Instead of a fracture, it turned out, Urkowitz suffered only a bad sprain.

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