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NEW YORK, Friday: Spring

will be a little late this year — in New York. Officially, it began today.

The streets should have been filled with girls in gay Easter bonnets and the shops packed with housewives seeking new-season bargains.

Instead, New York has been taken over by squadrons of bulldozers, batteries of snowploughs, and armies of work- men, who are trying to bring back nor- mal life—suddenly paralysed by an unforecast 13.5in. snowfall.  

It is fantastic and frightening that this, the most modern and mechanised city in the world, could be iso- lated by a freak of


And the authorities have been brought face to face with the alarming fact that one atomic raid could put New York out of action even more completely.

Ironically, the widest, finest motor roads in the

world were made useless in a matter of hours.  

People were rescued near death just a few miles out in the suburbs.

It all began on Sunday when the Weather Bureau,

caught napping two days   before by another blizzard, had happily foretold "cloudy and warmer."

Instead, the snow fell and fell and fell.

I drove to Idlewild air- port on Sunday in half an hour. Soon afterwards, when I tried to return, the journey took three hours.

In that time, I had got stuck in two snowdrifts and had to be dug out by men with shovels.  

I was lucky. A hundred and twenty-five people

died from collisions and exposure within a stone's throw of their homes.

Five thousand motorists were stranded all night on the main roads.

Eventually police com-   mandeered caterpillar tractors and formed rescue

MOTOR-CARS were   held up . . . sometimes for days . . . in New   York's fantastic snowfall.

From Ralph


squads to dig out the


Hostels were set up all around the city, where food and bedding from air-raid emergency stores were pro-


Other motorists, who could not be rescued, dragged themselves like Arctic explorers to some place of shelter.

Railroads were snarled,   although snowploughs ran backwards and forwards along the suburban tracks.  

Thousands of men swarmed out along the rails to light fires and try to unfreeze the switches.

Long-distance buses were stopped. It was many hours before even a skeleton ser- vice could operate locally   in Manhattan itself.

Even the subways were hampered because, in some districts, they run over-


On Monday, the city succumbed to a white death.

Just a handful of office workers arrived at the huge skyscrapers because it was impossible for most people to travel in from the suburbs where they


Shops either failed to open or closed down early.

Thc Commerce and In- dustry Association esti- mated that the snow cost business £A.75 million.

Schools were shut be-   cause the kids couldn't reach them and might have been trapped if they


Ambulances could not get through. Many women in the first pangs of labor were carried by neighbors through the snow-blocked streets to points where ambulances could reach them.

Even the flashy, power- ful fire engines sometimes got stuck. Funerals were suspended.

Tenants of big blocks of apartments found themselves suddenly with- out heat because bowsers could not deliver the oil.

If practically everybody  

did not own refrigerators, they would have been without food, too. For, apart from partial milk

. SPRAY from firehoses and sub-zero weather had this effect on a fireman's


supplies, tradesmen's vans could not operate.

Many shops today have bare shelves because the thousands of trucks which daily arrive on the sky-  

scraper island from the outer parts of the State have been stranded in helpless convoys for miles  

along the main roads.

Today 8,000 men and 2,000 snowploughs are working in the central part of the city. Others are clearing the runways at the airports.

A state of emergency has been declared in Suffolk County, just 30 miles away, where huge areas have been cut off by 15ft. drifts.  

Fourteen thousand civil   defence volunteers have been alerted. Many towns have been without de- liveries of food or fuel for 48 hours.

Fire calls go unanswered   because the brigades can- not get out.

If snow can do this,   what would happen in a


It is all too clear that   a few well-planted enemy

bombs could end life in New York and leave its fabulous buildings just silent monuments to man's folly.

HERE is a switch on the old story.

For Helene Taylor, a lovely 22-year-old brun- ette, who has been earning £ A.100 a week on films and television, has packed up her career to become a £ A.25 a week secretary.

I asked her why.

"Because I grew tired of earning my living with my figure instead of my brain.

"You'd be surprised how many other top models feel the same way about them- selves.

"People don't stare at me any longer because of my wonderful gowns. In- stead, they treat me as an- other human being, and not a dumb fashion plate."


couldn't have hap- pened to a nicer girl.

And the April wedding of Margaret Truman is running neck and neck in the headlines with the

Grace Kelly affair.

Today the ex-President's daughter reveals in a magazine that she had al- ready rejected one suitor and then was jilted by a second.

With typical candor, she says that in March, 1948, she was driving home with a boy friend from a din- ner, and spring was in the air.

"I had a premonition that he was going to ask me and I didn't want him to. Much as I liked him, he wasn't the one.

"I guessed the main   trouble was that this nice, eligible and faithful swain just hadn't swept me off my feet.

"He was inclined to let me do anything I wanted and I think now, at my advanced age of 32, that my kind of man is one who will tell me what to do in no uncertain terms— and see that I do it."

Referring to her other love, she said: "One of my best beaux had married another girl. There had been times when I thought he might be the


"Anyway, his departure into matrimony had made a hole in my life. It was a blow, but actually it was my pride that was hurt nothing but my pride."

Now Margaret, who is to marry a newspaperman, is apparently ready to toe the line.

Unlike the Kelly circus, she intends her wedding to be a simple family affair, with Mom making all the plans.