nw3 to nyc

Observations on moving my family across the Atlantic


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So it wasn’t the end of the world, then?

Indeed not. The promise of several feet of snow falling on New York City overnight on Monday and forcing its icy grip on its residents just didn’t happen. I woke up yesterday around 6am and peered outside expecting to see snow piled as high as the cars but could see less than a foot. Admittedly from the 35th floor, it’s hard to get perspective on this, but it clearly wasn’t two feet.

It was eerie though. Normally the streets and avenues of New York are bustling at all times of day of night. But at 6am yesterday there wasn’t a soul around; the streets were weirdly empty and quiet. It was the quiet that got me. It’s never quiet here.The Mayor had decried that no one should be on the streets after 11pm Monday night. No food deliveries, how would New Yorkers cope?

Around 7.30am yesterday the Governor of New York State, Andrew Cuomo, said it wasn’t so bad after all so the subway would start again around 9am, running a Sunday service. Bit by bit the traffic started appearing on the streets and the white roads became their usual mucky colour and it looked fairly normal for a winter’s day. The Mayor said he was right to be cautious and shut the schools, put the 11pm curfew in place, etc. But on this occasion it was an over reaction. He seemed pleased but apologetic for the inconvenience. He would have been criticised whatever he had done.

There was, however, enough snow to do some sledging in the local park. It was cold enough to freeze my feet after an hour despite two pairs of socks and some rather unattractive snow boots. J and E had a great time. I was glad to be back in doors, in the warm and feel my toes again.

And today, well of course the aftermath was dissected ad nauseum in the New York Times. We didn’t get ours yesterday, so it appeared snuggled inside today’s copy.  The kids went back to school as normal; the pavements are slushy and the crossings deep with melted, disgusting dirty snow. I went to Fairway’s and they had a fair bit on the shelves despite all the panic buying. No fish mind you, or my favourite bread, but that’s not so bad when the end of the world has been averted.

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Apparently we are hunkering down

I have never used this term before, but it seems to be used mostly for bad weather. We are then hunkering down for a massive snowstorm.  It even has a name, Winter Storm Juno. In fact, judging by the behaviour of the people near where we live in NYC, it appears to be the end of the world!

In true British panic fashion, people are emptying the shelves of the supermarkets and there’s an odd look in everyone’s eyes as they attempt to navigate the snowy pavements with enough food to last a long time. The local stores that usually remain open into the night all have hand written signs saying they are shutting early. I went into one with the slightly deranged idea that I could get something nice for tea, but when I saw the queue backed up through the entire shop, so I baled.

I collected E from school, just four blocks away, and kids everywhere were having fun in the snow. Perversely I decided that we would have ice cream from our local ice cream place, because it seemed like the right thing to do but even that was shutting down shortly after we bought ours, as the owner was fleeing to Queens. E did look a bit insane eating hers in the snowy streets, but no one batted an eyelid.

The schools are shut tomorrow, both state and private as the Mayor learnt from the last storm that keeping the schools open in fierce snow isn’t a smart move. Even Central Park is shutting at 6pm today. Let’s hope its open tomorrow for some snowy fun.