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Snowstorm in NYC

Growing up in Paris does not necessarilly prepare you for a blizzard. For those of you back at home, a blizzard is when there is so much snow, there is no visibility. Life as an expatriate in NY is hard enough, going through a blizzard doesn’t make it any easier.

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I unfortunately discovered this very rapidly during my first winter in NY. From my experience, the only positive I can offer is that you get a day off from work or school because basically the entire city shut down. 

As I am typing this, there is another snow storm going on right outside my window. The wind is blowing so hard, that my dog is hiding under the cover and I can’t see the bridge from my terrace that is a half mile from my house. I remember my first storm as an expatriate in NYC very well, I thought it would be fun to go out and experience it first end, that was a bad idea. I got so wet that the next day I came down with a terrible cold. Snowstorm here can sometimes last a day or even more. They can be intense and the city usually takes a few days to get back on its feet.

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Over time, you will begin to figure out that besides the news announcing a storm, you should really take it seriously when the schools announce they will not be opening because of the weather. I personally would recommend watching the weather channel during this time of year, it has the most timely information and will keep you uptaded and prepared. Preparation is important especially when it comes to food. If the storm is bad enough, you probably won’t be leaving the house for a day or two, and should prepare for this eventuality. Between the wind, snow and poor visibility it is hard to go anywhere. Plus, the streets can become quite treacherous. If you don’t have the right gear, just being outside can be very scary.

The worst part for me, isn’t really the storm itself. In fact, it can be sort of fun to be stuck at home with nowhere to go. You can cook a nice meal, watch a movie or take a nap. The part that I don’t like is after it’s all done and the clean up begins. The streets are so full of snow and ice, you literally sometime have to walk like a penguin. Otherwise you are taking a risk of falling on your face and breaking your neck. Just the way they clean the street can be a nightmare. People shovel small path for everybody to walk through, yet you can barely put one foot in front of the other… In a city like NY, I guess I expected a little bit better.

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To avoid the similar struggle like me, I would recommend a few things if you are moving to the city or just traveling here during this time of the year. First and most importantly invest in the proper winter gear. This is no joke, you are going to need it. You need to dress in layers. Besides a warm coat, gloves, hat, a scarf and even a light puffer jacket, that you can wear under your coat. I would also recommend to buy  a few nice warm shirts and underwear. A nice warm pair of boots with a rubber sole and some nice warm socks will help too. These tips are the difference between being miserable and being comfortable and safe.

If you traveling here from another country and that you are not used to rough winters, you really need to be prepared.

I know that most of the time it can seem that the weather channel or the news is exaggerating, in fact my mother in law believes it is a conspiracy between the media and supermarkets.

However, it is important to be safe and prepared. Freezing, falling or getting sick will not contribute to making your experience during a winter storm any better. Other than that enjoy your snow day, cook a big pot of soup, binge out on your favorite shows, take care of some choirs…

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When is the best time to visit NYC?

I have been having a love affair with New York for over 6 years now. However, like any love affair, I love her more in certain times than others.

I love NY in September. Everybody is back to work, the kids are back to school and the streets seems to be less crowded with tourists. The weather usually is perfect (even if this September, we reached the 85 degrees), I like the bright sunshine and mild temperatures. You can buy an ice cream from one of the ice cream’s trucks and go lay down in Central Park. The happy hours on the rooftops and in the bars are more than enjoyable. I would say that people seems more relax and looking to enjoy every single seconds of the sunlight before we get into the darkness of winter.

Halloween is always a special time and I love how some of the streets get brand new faces. You’ll find some of the building decorated with pumpkins and scary decorations. You’ll see stores dedicated to Halloween popping up around town. It’s a great time for children and families to spend time together. You can go trick or treating together, enjoy the autumn weather, festive decorations and all of the imaginative costumes everybody is dressed up in.

After all my years living in NYC, I’m still torn about spending Christmas here. As much as I love the NY Christmas spirit and how much I enjoy the Christmas decorations of certain stores on fifth avenue. Unfortunately, I can’t get used to the cold. On some windy days, it almost feels like ice slamming into my face. You barely can stay out for more than an hour, otherwise you’ll turn into a snow man. Even if the last few Christmas’s haven’t been that bad, it might happen and I want you to be prepared for it.

Our winters here are rough. Between the snow, cold winds, freezing rain and darkness, it makes it very hard to do anything. We usually hibernate at home all snuggly. If you go out for an hour, you’ll have to warm up for 3 hours. I’m not even getting into the layers of clothes subject. You probably don’t need me to tell you this, but I wouldn’t recommend NYC during the winter, especially if it’s your first time.

For your first visit, I highly recommend planning your trip between April and June. The weather is just beginning to warm up, the days are getting longer, the flowers and the trees are blooming, it almost feel like the city is being reborn. Everybody is happy and enjoy the outdoors again. I really love spring here, plus it’s the beginning of streets fairs which is one of my most favorite thing to do when the weather gets warm.

How about you? What is your favorite season of the year in NYC?

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