Sunday, May 25, 2008

What I'll Miss About New York:
#19 — (Certain) New York Weather

Let's be clear: There are many aspects of New York weather I will most certainly NOT miss.

New York weather means a sweltering hot summer, with heat reflecting off concrete surfaces below you and around you as you sweat your way to the subway. New York weather also means a winter that – while not as cruel some other Northern cities – makes for some rough going. Since most everyone in New York gets about mostly on foot, you experience a New York winter in a more personal way than you would in a more car-based location.

There are two aspects of New York weather that I'll miss.

First, there is some fine weather in this city. May (and late April) and September (and early October) in New York City can mean some truly beautiful days. A room-temperature city and clear skies translates into lots of smiles on the street. Plus, New York has cold yet clear winter days that I didn't realize I missed living in Northern California (where the winter means months and months of perpetual cloud cover). Somehow that blue sky looks all the more blue when framed by the buildings lining Broadway.

Second, there's the way that New Yorkers react to good weather. Having lived in California, I have seen how a whole region can grow to take good weather for granted. I grew up in Nebraska, a place with wildly fluctuating weather, in a household that watched The Weather Channel as if we were all going to be tested on the information later. Compare that with my time in California, where checking the weather meant looking at the calendar. Is it May? If so, it's not going to rain on your barbeque – no forecast necessary.

I'm reminded of how much New York City residents appreciate their good weather every April. This year it was April 17 when the year's first beautiful 72° day arrived. Columbia's Low Library has an impressive set of steps in front of it, and as was the case with the two previous years, undergraduate sun seekers occupied every possible inch of space on these steps, happy to soak in the sun that they had missed so desperately during a long winter and a wet spring.

What's this? After living in New York City for three years, I'm returning to California. These are the parts of my New York experience that I'll miss the most.

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