7 Ways to Socialize in a Frigid New York City
It’s officially winter. So what?
New Yorkers, creative and resilient as ever, have found ways to continue socializing outdoors, whether it’s eating pizza in an inflatable hot tub on a roof or dining together al fresco at a snow-encrusted table.
As the temperatures drop, here is how seven New Yorkers will continue to do what they do outside.
Thermoses in Central Park
Damien Nunes, design director, Greenwich Village
The last time I ate outdoors I was at American Bar, and I had so much anxiety about being cold during dinner that I put on long johns, a Uniqlo Heattech turtleneck, a regular turtleneck over that, plus a wool hat. I had the clothes from a ski trip. It was a bit of an overkill, and my friend made fun of me. But then he was the one who was cold.
I have a text chain with people I usually see over the holidays to discuss what to do this year. I said, “Why don’t we layer up, fill a thermos with hot toddies, and walk around Central Park?” Three people said that sounds great. The fourth was like, ‘I’ll think of another idea.’ ”
Meet-Ups in the Parking Lot
Chazz Lynes, mentor, Harlem
I work with Rising Ground, which helps young people process trauma. Until last week, my group met outside once a week in the Bronx. We set up chairs in a parking lot, and I check in with the group — everyone is between the ages of 14 and 19 — to find out how they are doing. Before it got cold, we used to meet for close to an hour. Now it’s quicker, around 15 minutes.
Most of the teens are in jackets, hoodies and scarves. When one teen was going through a difficult time, I gave him some of my clothes so he wouldn’t freeze. We are troopers.
Cutting Fingertips Out of Gloves
Bela Horvath, violinist, Washington Heights
I play a few times a week on the terrace at the Mondrian Park Avenue for this program called Candlelight concerts.
The problem with playing outside in the cold is that the strings of the violin are made of steel. They get so cold, it’s hard to even feel what you are playing. It is like walking on ice without shoes. I have experimented with different ways to stay warm. I went to Target, bought fitted gloves and cut the fingertips out. I also put hand warmers, the kind you shake, into the glove. There are space heaters next to us, and we are now going to sit in igloos, which should make it easier.
Camping Blankets for Restaurant Outings
Ginger Clark, literary agent, Midwood, Brooklyn
I am so worried we are going to lose more of our beloved places, and I think we need to get them through March. I am willing to eat outside at restaurants in the cold at least a few times a week.
My husband and I have bought blankets to bring with us to restaurants. They are meant for camping, wind- and water-resistant. They can also be thrown in the wash if there is a spill.
Somebody suggested bringing a travel mug and then ordering a warm drink at a restaurant, like coffee or cider. That way it doesn’t cool down. It’s also helpful to put your gloves on or your hands in your pocket between courses so your hands don’t get cold.
Layers for Patrolling on Horseback
Hannah Larson, parks enforcement officer, Washington Heights
My unit is based in Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, so most of the patrolling is there. But we can go to any park. We spend a lot of time at Orchard Beach in Pelham Bay Park. We offer directions, hand out masks and answer a lot of questions about the horses.
Most of my day is spent outside, and it’s very cold. The trick is to put all my layers on at the beginning of the day even if I feel hot. It’s much easier for your body to maintain heat than to generate new heat once you get cold.
We also keep busy, always moving around even just a little bit. It’s amazing how much moving helps; you can go from feeling you can’t stand the cold much longer to working up a sweat.
It’s amazing how New Yorkers are still in the parks in 30-degree weather this year. The other day we saw a little birthday party with people eating pizza out of boxes. We even had an incident where a father and son tried to camp.
You Call This Winter?
Titta Houni, Finnish expat, Williamsburg, Brooklyn
It was so funny when everyone was preparing for the blizzard, because that’s just a normal day in Finland. Back home there is nothing we like better than a cold, crisp day. We go walking on the ice when the sea freezes, we ski, we even cut holes in the ice and swim in it before heading into the sauna.
I learned growing up that there is no bad weather, just a bad way to dress. We layer up with cashmere and wool as base layers, and of course, my long johns. I put my down jackets and my snow boots on and I’m fine. I never get cold.
Dance Class, Outside
Aaron Gretzinger, single dad, Ditmas Park, Brooklyn
The days I have my son; I am pretty much one on one with him. We try to get outside as much as possible.
We signed him up for an outdoor dance class on Tuesdays. It gets a little cold, but at least they are bundled up and moving. The teacher is a professional dancer, and she plays really funky breakbeats. They are doing spins and whatever goofy stuff 4-year-olds do, and it is a great way for him to at least see other kids.
The playground can get busy, and a lot of people aren’t wearing masks, so it’s nerve-racking. With the snow, we went to the front of the building and made a snowman.
Sometimes it is hard to get him outside, because he says it is too cold. All I can say back is, “I hear you, man.”
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