How to Spend a Snow Day in Manhattan

Michael Loren

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The plan for today was to go to my first Bollywood dance class with my friends Brittany and Erin B. Our plans were somewhat thwarted, however, by the foot of snow that has/is fallen/falling on New York and the surrounding regions. Oddly, Bollywood was one of the only things cancelled in the city today. That's the problem with New York and snow. People really don't drive in the city, so transportation isn't considered to be exceptionally dangerous and work, stores, restaurants, and all other venues stay open. Thus, everyone has to go to work. No snow days.

Now, I am a grown up woman and I still get a little giddy about a lot of snow. I really think that it stems from my childhood idea of the snow day . . . even though we grown-ups don't get them anymore. Perhaps it's some kind of Pavlovian response to waking up, looking out the window, and savoring the peaceful surprise of a quiet blanket of snow covering the trees and cars. I remember jumping up and down on the bed while my mother turned on the radio and we listened expectantly for the announcer to list the school closings. We'd then run out into the fresh white snow to sled and built snow forts all day. Only . . . that does not exist in New York.

I woke up this morning to two cursing men fighting on the sidewalk and piles of grey chunky slush conglomerating at every street corner. Ten-year-old Southwest Virginia Michelle reminded grown-up Michelle that New York snow is actually completely miserable.

Once I got suited up and out into the elements, I couldn't see through the blowing snow, everyone was grumpy and rushing blindly to their next location (you'd be surprised how much peripheral vision is lost in a hooded coat), and all of those lumpy puddles of snow vomit were of nebulous depth. Which means I stepped off the sidewalk onto what looked like wet pavement, but was, in fact, a six-inch-deep soup of snow, gasoline, and (I'm sure) homeless guy excrement. Hey, it WAS eighth avenue. My snow day joy was quickly turning to snow day "oy" (I had to do it, folks. Sorry).

To make matters worse, there are some people like me that live in the boroughs, but work in the city. This means that Manhattanites, pompous as they are, assume that if they can get to work, everyone else must be able to do so as well. While they can walk or take the subway to their desired locations, the rest of us are left to board buses that may or may not be able to drive up slippery hills, wait on delayed trains, or trudge for extended amounts of time through the snow (which is inevitably higher than the city) to a ferry. Which means an EVEN LONGER commute.

And don't try to use the snow and your PERSONAL SAFETY as an excuse for not making it to work because there is inevitably some crazy overachiever that lives on a mountain in Montauk that strapped on snow shoes at 4am to trudge the same appointment you "can't get to". Why is it always so hard? I ask myself this often.

(A little segue) Why, in New York, is it always so d$@! hard? Sometimes I miss the days of superstores with parking lots. Sounds crazy, but both of those are luxuries, people. You think twice at the grocery store before buying that carton of orange juice if you have to carry it (and all of your other groceries) down two flights of stairs onto the subway, up two flights of stairs to the street, four blocks to your apartment, and up to your third floor walkup (and that's an easier trek than most). Now, try doing it in the snow. Or with your laundry.

I stopped. It's not worth it. I turned on my heel and made a beeline back to my apartment. Once there, I partially disrobed on the doorstep, finished the job inside my door, made a mug of hot cocoa, grabbed my snuggliest blanket, and turned on a documentary I had been hoping to watch for a while. I texted the necessary people to let them know that I wouldn't be going to any appointments any time soon and . . . gave up.

What do you do on a snow day in Manhattan? Stay the heck home, watch movies, and leave snow days to people in suburbia. It's cold out there, people. We all need to take care of our physical and mental health every once in a while. Enjoy hibernating and I'll see you all outside in the summer.

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Writer, dad, entrepreneur, observer, cautious optimist

Burbank, CA
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