Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

I had hoped for a cold Christmas, and possibly even a little snow. New York gave me a blizzard.

Okay, so it wasn't quite snow over Christmas (since it's still a few days away), but it's a good enough dumping to see what it would be like to live in a city where it snows. Yes, I know how naive that sounds. I'm not pretending it's not. Still, it's all rather exciting to see it.

It started Friday morning, when I was watching Fox News (Fair & Balanced) - and along came a 'Breaking News Alert' which advised that the entire East Coast would be in for a blizzard over the weekend, resulting in a massive dumping of snow on Saturday. Much fear would be had by this snow, and the rest of the show would be dedicated to the impact of the snow on the economy. I, on the other hand, was more than a little bit excited. Yes, I have seen snow before, but only on a mountain, and it's not really the same when you're surrounded by snow, and all you can see is white anyway, to only see more white being dumped everywhere.

But this is New York - I've seen this city at its most vibrant, its most colourful, and its most full on 'move over or I'll stab you' crazy. How would this look completely covered in snow, and how would this affect my dinner plans on Saturday?

I live in the suburb of Morningside, New York City. It's located in the upper west side, near Columbia University and before Harlem, so is considered a rather neat area. It really is. Okay, so there aren't a great range of shops around - many deli, nail salon and cheap mattress accessory shop. But there are also many neat little restaurants, cafes, eateries and bars around here too - which makes enjoying the area exciting, and also expensive. But I'm only in New York once, right?

So Saturday night I arranged to go out with a friend for dinner to a nifty little French restaurant, which for the sake of this post I will call 'Nifty Little French Restaurant'. I was particularly looking forward to this, as

a) I like going out for dinner,
b) They had a fixed menu early bird discount dinner - three courses for $25 (approx $800 NZD, inc tax and tip).

As I left my apartment to go and meet my friend, I noticed that it had started to snow. Only a little bit, the kind that you see on "A Charlie Brown Christmas" - snowflakes gently falling down. Snowflakes gently floated down from the sky onto carolers on the street, and everywhere people stopped to look up, and marvel at what was going on. Lovely, right?

Okay, so that's what I wanted to happen. What it was actually like was a little more miserable.The snow started gently enough at around 1pm. By 1.30 it was raining sideways snow bullets in a way that reminded me of a normal day in Wellington (except with snow instead of rain). By the time the evening rolled by the blizzard had subsided somewhat (still with the snow, but less with the booming face-lashingness of it all), and the city was blanketed in a thick layer of crisp white snow, 10 inches deep.

I will admit to being a little like a kid at Christmas at this point. I was running around in my puffy jacket, gloves and beanie, trying to catch snowflakes on my tongue and make snowballs, no doubt embarrassing my dinner date to no end.

So, snow on day one is pretty awesome. Snow on days two, three and four, however... not so much.

I've seen taxis skidding on the street, narrowly avoiding pedestrians. I've been a victim of 'fake footpath', where the ground appears to be solid concrete, only to be melty snow slush the same colour of solid concrete - not nice when you plunge your foot into that! Not least though, snow after day one loses much of its magic and lustre, and quickly becomes various shades of yellow, brown, or pink, and full of litter and other junk.

But I don't let it get me down. I got to see snow in New York City. I'm happy.


  1. Donald knows how to make a snowman that's almost as tall as he is.

  2. ...is that by covering himself in snow and sticking a carrot on his face?