Before you launch into a diatribe about how our measly NYC winter pales in comparison to the fact that Boston currently resembles North of the Wall or that the good citizens of Buffalo deal with this BS pretty much on the reg, spare me. I realize that in the grand scheme of things, weather-related or otherwise, the winter we have had in New York City has not been difficult. However, after experiencing three consecutive NYC winters, I’ve come to realize that there’s a special brand of gross and a particular genre of horror that accompanies every single snowy season, and it must be discussed. Let’s talk:
1. People taking public transportation completely lose their minds
When the weather gets cold, and no one feels like getting out of bed, much less putting on their heavy-duty boots and wading out into the arctic tundra, the overall commuter mood takes a turn for the worse. Beginning in mid-December and lasting through the end of March, the cars that populate the tracks of the MTA could double for a Hunger Games arena. And I’m not talking about a regular year either – this is some Quarter Quell-level shit we are dealing with. People stop caring about basic etiquette, human compassion, or anything in general. Everything is frozen, so the trains take longer. When trains take longer, hordes of angry people accumulate. Everyone just wants to go home and put on sweatpants, and they will do whatever it takes to get there. I saw a guy threaten to legit murder someone yesterday because they pushed their way into a full M train before he could get on. A girl sitting next to me on the R last week whipped out a lunchbox filled with seaweed salmon rolls and a log of smoked sausage, presumably so she could pack it in before she hibernated for the remainder of the season. A woman on my train this morning fell asleep so hard that she accidentally drooled on the man next to her. I still don’t know if they were even acquainted with one another.
2. The icy sludge lakes from the depths of hell
It seems like weekly, it snows just enough in NYC to be annoying but not quite enough to snag us a “get out of life” card, and we all have to trudge to the gym, to work, to get takeout, etc. Fair enough. Negative wind chills and navigating ice and snow carry their own form of misery, but no one ever stops to talk about the cold’s evil stepchild – the sludgy comedown. If Stefon were to describe the Sludgy Comedown, he would say it’s that thing when temperatures rise just enough after a snowstorm to turn every street in NYC into the fire swamp from The Princess Bride. One does not simply avoid a muddy brown, taffy thick sludge pond. There is no escape. Your shoes will get ruined. Your socks will get wet. You will want to take an alcohol shower. Don’t even get me started on the Rodents of Unusual Size.
3. Uber guilt
I live in Astoria, which is in Queens. I work in the theatre district, which is in Manhattan. I also work out in Manhattan most nights, because there’s only one spin studio in Astoria and the last time I was there, the entire seat fell off of my bike. In the winter, I develop a sense of entitlement so gross that it makes Hannah Horvath look like Mother Teresa. I begin to feel as if I deserve a reward just for working out when it’s cold, and that reward usually comes in the form of taking an Uber back to Queens in lieu of the train. An Uber that costs $35. An Uber that is literally worth a week of subway rides. But, “Treat yo self,” I say, “You deserve this!” “You did some physical activity and there’s snow on the ground!” For shame. Don’t get it twisted – Uber guilt will seep in. It’s unavoidable.
4. Online dating reaches peak thirst levels
If I have to see one more Snapchat story that’s just a close-up of a guy’s face saying “Come Cuddle LOL” or a phantom hand with a tumbler of scotch in front of a fire saying “Any takers ;)?” I will actually lose my mind. The number of sent in the winter using the weather as a ploy to get a girl to come over is INSANE to me. “Come cuddle LOL, it’s the perfect weather for it,” this perfect stranger will say. You know what it’s actually the perfect weather for? Not going over to a strange man’s apartment and not getting chopped up into tiny pieces by a potential axe murderer. It’s great weather for that particular activity.
5. It’s essentially impossible to look cute, ever.
When it’s this cold outside, New Yorkers who are generally prone to looking put together seemingly relinquish all sense of caring whether or not they look like, in the immortal words of the Fug Girls, a noted kook, upon leaving the house. It’s just not possible to look good when the thermometer is rendering single digits. Life is not an LL Bean catalogue. No one is ever going to look cute or effortlessly cool while frolicking in the snow. It’s all about the layering, the scarf around the face, and the giant hat with the puffball on the top. It’s easier to just accept that you’re going to look like Bumble the Abominable Snow Creature in a puffer jacket, so just suck it up and wait it out until April.
6. Your apartment turns into a nightmarish hellscape
It’s no surprise that most apartment scenarios in NYC a cross between Charlie Bucket’s house in Willy Wonka and the Shining hotel hallway. Many New Yorkers will tell you from experience that a super fun thing that happens in the winter is that in addition to paying your landlords bags of money to live in a rundown flat with an oven so old that the company no longer makes parts for it (not bitter or anything), they will singlehandedly decide when you are cold and when you are hot. Meaning, many NYC apartments do not have thermostats. I’ve decided that my landlord, for example, must have skin made of thick leather or beef jerky, because girlfriend Never. Gets. Cold. She only turns the heat on when the temperature drops below zero. Yesterday, I paid my rent. This morning, I woke up with frost on my iPhone screen. Good times.
Another great thing about NYC apartments in the winter? Your shower will have more mood swings than a Real Housewife. Most of the time, my apartment’s shower fluctuates between “shooting an Icee at you through a high-pressure hose” and “pouring boiling pasta water through a multi-spray nozzle”. Taking a relaxing shower in the winter in an NYC apartment is more difficult than Goldilocks finding a bowl of porridge her picky self wants to eat. It’s always too hot, too cold, never just right.
7. That infernal trek to the Laundromat
What fresh hell did we, as New Yorkers, rake up in a past life to deserve the fact that an apartment with a washer and dryer is as rare as a unicorn that pees glitter? NYC winters mean wearing the same pair of jeans for a week straight so you don’t have to do laundry more than once a month. Whatever, judge me, you do it too. Like you’re gonna go push that grocery cart all the way down to the Laundromat and then carry it back up the stairs, leaving icicles in its wake? Didn’t think so.
8. It never ends.
One more month, you guys. One more month. Godspeed.