Here in New York, I can never quite tell what the weather’s doing outside the apartment. Daytime is a light shade of gray, and night is a darker one. I can’t tell how cold it is outside, either, so a walk is always a surprise. Often, I have to return to the apartment to shed or add layers if I’m going out for the day.
The weather here doesn’t bluster and it doesn’t blow. And without a lot of big trees, even a hurricane packs a muted punch. Nor have I seen a real downpour yet; in fact, I can’t really tell when it’s raining. There’s no roof to drum on and there’s no earth to smell wet.
Now, I’m used to snow in Michigan. Specifically, I’m used to snow in West Michigan, which is a different breed of snow altogether. Wind and weather sweep across the Big Lake (Michigan) from the west and dump their load of water on the first land available. This is called the “lake effect,” and it is not to be trifled with. I’ve woken up in the morning to find my car completely buried with only the twisted stick of the antenna to locate the cadaver.
Honestly, I miss the snow. So I was happy to sample it in New York City. Here are my observations.
First, it’s real snow–it sticks to the ground and mounds in slushy layers on the street. Boots are a good idea, but maybe not those fancy riding boots all the fashionistas have been wearing since October. Second, New York City drivers don’t go crazy in the snow. Granted, they are mildly crazy in any weather, but they don’t go around slamming on their brakes and sliding into things. They take the snow in stride with their usual homicidal ferocity.
Third, New Yorkers use umbrellas in the snow. This would be very weird in the Midwest where we like to go uncovered. We like snow on our heads and faces. We like to be blinded by snow. I don’t think it would ever occur to us that snow is the same stuff as rain and could be managed similarly. Were you to walk around with an umbrella on a snowy day in Michigan, you would be a dorkish curiosity.
Finally, New York has no use for a dedicated fleet of snowplows. The city doesn’t have our sleek, fast behemoths with two blades and a huge bed for salt. I’ve been buried under a tidal wave of slush when those babies scream down the street. In New York, they throw some chains and a plow on a garbage truck and call it good. This may seem like trying to remove a splinter with a fork, but it works.
Overall, the city is lovely in the snow, although I’d liked to have to see more of it. Today, the thermometer kissed 50 degrees, and all the snow is gone. Still, I hear it’s been warm in Michigan, too, and there is nothing sorrier than the bare-assed, cold and cloudy Midwest without a good foot or two of snow.