First brushes with sub-zero (degrees) winter

As the city thaws and the last traces of snow melt away, beckoning the arrival of Spring, this evening is a good time to be reflective as the day folds into night over and across the Hudson. It’s been seven months and two weeks since I packed a part of my life into three big suitcases and left the warm, tropical “comforts” of home in Singapore.

New York has been amazing so far.

Overlooking the Hudson River

Overlooking the Hudson River

The city really does not sleep. Uptown. Midtown. Downtown. I live in a room that has “a million-dollar view” said my superintendent once when he came to fix a window. It overlooks the Hudson River and the George Washington Bridge; there’s a beautiful Riverside park across the street, which looked magnificent in the winter.

This was my first proper winter that made the 15 degree Celsius Indian winters look like a paper boat in a vast ocean. On the coldest days, the weather languished somewhere between -15 to -20, with wind chill going as low as – 25 and a 35mph wind blowing from the river. There were days I could not feel the muscles in my face until after I had come home and spent considerable time thawing by the heater. It’ surprises me that I did not end up with frostbites on at least three occasions.

There was even a misplaced blizzard warning in January, which ended in many foiled plans for a 48-hour Netflix marathon with hot chocolate, mac-n-cheese, and every other type of comfort food one can think of; but classes were cancelled nonetheless, long lines formed at grocery stores as New Yorkers picked up their last-minute comfort snacks to live out the freezing evening, and for the first time in its history, the subway shut down by nightfall. I remember the exciting game of Cards Against Humanity that everyone on our floor played.

Total whiteout.

Total whiteout.

The eve of the "Blizzard"

The eve of the “Blizzard”.

When it snows for hours at a stretch

When it snows for hours at a stretch.

When it snowed, however, all of the menacing cold weather was forgiven as the neighborhood went underneath a white, almost comforting blanket of snow. It was beautiful. I went to an impromptu snowball fight that was organized on college walk at campus – the wide pathway through the Low Memorial and Butler Libraries. Being hit in the face by snowball wasn’t something I relished but hitting friends and schoolmates with them was full-on fun.

It was like the Hunger Games, only less lethal.

It was like the Hunger Games, only less lethal.

The aftermath of snow was disgusting. The gray-and-yellow snow, slippery ice on footpaths, and deceptive, ankle-deep slush puddles at every street corner formed the holy trinity of everything bad and inconvenient about snow in the city.

Still, as I see the snow, even the disgusting type, melt away into the grass and on footpaths, signaling the passing of another season, I feel a pull of nostalgia in my heart. Has it really been seven months?

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