I was dramatically warned about the harrowing New York winter ever since I made the move over. With wide eyes and knowing head-shakes, people told me, solemnly, that I had no idea what I was in for. They pushed me to purchase a long, ugly, expensive, puffy, down jacket and waterproof snow boots. I was ready. But then I waited. I waited and I waited, but the forewarned horror never arrived. It was New York’s mildest winter in years. Christmas day was positively balmy. I begrudged the precious space my coat was taking up in the closet.
This all changed on Saturday, January 23rd, 2016. Snow began to fall in the morning, and I thought nothing of it. I was cozy in my studio, watching Netflix, day dreaming about my date that night. It was a 5th date with someone I was excited about; I was heading to his area, Greenpoint, for the first time.
But the snow didn’t stop coming. It grew thicker and faster; a constant flurry past my window. I watched it accumulate relentlessly on the sidewalk, inch by inch, hour by hour. I watched, amazed, as it swallowed parked cars on the street outside, like quicksand.
On one hand it was novel and exhilarating; in England we’re lucky to get a couple of inches. On the other, it was eerie; I was more or less trapped in my apartment. Warning after warning flashed on my iPhone: a road ban and subway shut down. I realized, miserably, that date night was officially ‘off’.
Around 9pm, I warily slid on my cream, fur lined boots and black Aritzia puffy and headed, sweating, down the 5 flights of stairs to the street. I can only liken it to emerging onto the surface of a different planet: a smooth, soft, white planet covered in lumps and bumps of all sizes. The snow glowed yellow-orange from the street lamps, contrasting the blackened sky, which was still teeming with snow flecks. The city was supernaturally quiet. Not a car on the street. The only sound came from the occasional pedestrian, shuffling by, as amazed and bewildered as I was.
The snow was deep so I didn’t venture far, but I stayed out a good while, turning round on the spot, mesmerized, smiling and absorbing the magic.
The next day was a complete transformation; New York clearly knows how to tackle a snow storm. Cars were back on miraculously cleared roads, which were now bordered by towering, filthy, brown ridges of snow and muddy puddles.
I made it to Greenpoint for my rearranged date. The air was crisp and the snow was blinding. The Manhattan skyline glistened against the snow-lined river. We morphed into kids, running and jumping into snow mounds and throwing snowballs. The grip on my snow boots failed me once on some stairs, and I hit the floor. It was embarrassing, but what can you do!
We had brunch at Anella. It was narrow and rustic; we sat next to each other on a wooden bench seat. He introduced me to Bloody Marias: Bloody Marys with tequila instead of vodka. We shared outrageously delicious brioche french toast: thick slices of fluffy brioche topped with whipped mascarpone, candied pecans and homemade cranberry jam. It was a pretty darn romantic day.
By Monday the city was in full swing: everyone was back at work, snow piles were shrinking by the minute, and a plum like bruise was forming nicely on my ass. Turns out the storm broke New York City’s record for snowfall from 1869; a whopping 27.5 inches of snow was recorded in Central Park.
It snowed a few more times over my first NYC Winter, so purchasing my arctic-worthy wardrobe wasn’t in vain, but nothing came close to the snowstorm. I wouldn’t wish for it all winter long, but I’d take a magical, winter wonderland weekend like that one any time.