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.
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.
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.
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…