I listen intently to Radio 4 on the Internet each day and follow the typical British response to the recent snow. Supermarket shelves emptied in a frenzy of panic buying, schools shutting and travel chaos. Same as usual then. You might think that it would be the same in New York but no. Here it is bitterly cold, temperatures last night went down to minus 9 degrees. I had considered going out for a pedicure last night until I realised I’d be walking back up the street in my sandals on the coldest night of the year so far and be in considerable danger of losing a toe. But still, there’s no snow and no chaos. The padded coats are out in force, everyone is in a big hurry to get out of the cold and in particular the wind. You can tell which direction it’s coming in because of the grid structure of the streets. Walk along the street and get knocked down by the wind then it’s East/West; walk down an avenue and get hit by the wind, then it’s North/South. But it’s deceptive when you’re in a warm apartment, high up, looking out at the blue sky, crystal clear and bright. Lovely. I am gratified that New Yorkers comment on the weather as much as British people do and even they think it’s cold.
I refer of course to the ubiquitous padded coat worn by New York women of all ages. There’s the very popular long padded coat that goes to your knees and looks not dissimilar to the duvet on my bed (but black – always black). The shorter number that is nipped in at the waist and often comes with a fetching belt. And the variation on this very common theme: the furry hood. I’m thinking South Park circa 1998, Kenny? I was strangely channelling the trend in my Rab coat, usaually only seen in deepest London winters and occasional forays into the countryside. I’ll be trading it in for something slightly more stylish and alot less padded.