the snowy waste of unoccupied tables



I wonder what 'snowy waste' means in the below sentence.

A few have found out this oasis in the July desert of Manhattan. During that month you will see the hotel's reduced array of guests scattered luxuriously about in the cool twilight of its lofty dining-room, gazing at one another across the snowy waste of unoccupied tables, silently congratulatory.At first I thought it is real land with snow where no one lives in metaphor of unocupied tables with white clothings. Maybe I went too far?
(wastes [plural] (formal) a large area of land where there are very few people, animals or plants)

Others say it means the tables are not used which means they are wasted.

I need your help. :)
  • WyomingSue

    Senior Member
    They just mean that the unoccupied dining tables are empty (wastes, wastelands) white (snowy) spaces because of their uncovered white tablecloths.


    I am sorry. It is from 'TRANSIENTS IN ARCADIA', novel by O.Henry.

    I would like to get more of your opinions. Is it hyperbole or not?

    Please provide your thoughts.
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