Snow In New York


It’s snowing again, and this time it should be a lot. It’s all anyone can talk about today, as if we were all children again, looking out our windows, waiting to hear that school is cancelled. From one side of my house, I see it falling on the church where people get married, like clockwork, on the front steps. From the other side, it is landing on the stringed lights above the patio of a bar. Even in the dead of winter, people are outside, smoking with a beer in their hands.

Little flakes of it get inside of my kitchen while I’m cooking and I think that it’s coming from the stove. It took me about three times to realize that it was going on outside. When I looked, it had already been snowing for a while. I always think I’m going to catch the first few flakes, but I never actually do.

It still feels like things will be cancelled because of the weather, even though none of us are in school anymore. Shouldn’t businesses stop operating? Shouldn’t giant towers shutter their doors? Don’t they know that tomorrow should be a day to make snowballs, or go sledding, or just stay inside and listen to music with a cup of hot chocolate? I ask my boyfriend if he’ll be expected to go in tomorrow. “I might not go to the office,” he said, “But I will have to work.”

I have lived in New York for nearly four months now, which is so much, and so little. Since I’ve arrived, it feels like I’ve never stopped working, even after more than a week home with my family. There is something about this city that feels almost angry in its determination, so full of energy to burn and ladders to climb and people to impress with your resume. When the snow falls, and all we can talk about is the latest update on the Weather Channel, sometimes it feels nice not to talk about the latest thing to happen at work.

Sometimes I call the friends I left behind and ask them to tell me about their days. I close my eyes and listen to their stories about going to long dinners, about seeing their families (some live three generations deep in old, sprawling apartments). I remember the one time it really snowed back there, when the whole world stopped and everyone’s schedule was suddenly clear and we were all making snow angels in the sparse, fluffy inch or two next to national monuments. When I say to someone that “it’s after five, we shouldn’t bother them” about a professional email, they laugh and call me a socialist. I don’t know if they mean it as an insult, or a term of endearment.

There’s so much work to do. This is the city that never sleeps, if you can make it here you can make it anywhere, and all the other things they say. No one tells you that these things are all so true. And no one tells you that this is the worst part about New York.

But sometimes, it’s just snowing. And everything, at least for a minute, goes quiet.

image – David Berkowitz