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Surviving The Big Apple Freeze:

The Top Ten Tips for Surviving The Big Freeze: How to Dress for a New York Winter.

by Holly Entwistle, Appropriate Clothing Correspondent

 

New York City Snow StormNo matter how cold you think winters are in your own town, New York winters take the phrase "cold weather" to an entirely different level.  During the rest of the year, New Yorkers are famously fashionable but, once the big freeze starts to set in, they abandon fashion and become a whole lot more practical, donning gigantic coats, gloves, hats and even ear muffs in their quest to stay as warm as possible. 


People who spend the rest of the year obsessing about how they look are, suddenly, quite happy to wrap themselves up as if they were embarking on an Arctic mission.  At first, you might laugh to see a city full of people bundled up like astronauts - astronauts with ear muffs! - but it won't take more than a few minutes outdoors for you to realize who the joke is really on. 


You might be wearing the most fashionable jacket on the block but it's hard to look cool when your teeth are chattering and your nose is streaming.


Yes, in the winter it is easy to spot tourists in New York - they're the ones who simply didn't understand how cold it was going to be and who thought, foolishly, that their regular winter coat and hat would be enough.  New York winter temperatures tend to fall well below zero but it is the wind that will make you feel as though you have fallen overboard from the Titanic and are now bobbing around next to the iceberg, with minute to live. The wind chill will whip away any warmth your clothing manages to accumulate and you will find yourself rushing into any nearby building, just to give yourself a few minutes of respite.


You might think that you are pretty tough, you might imagine that you won't be all that affected by a bit of cold but, trust me, if you arrive in a New York winter without adequate clothes, you will be forced to rapidly re-assess.  Think you're too cool to wear long johns?  Well, New York is going to let you know precisely how cool you really are!


Luckily, there are plenty of wonderful stores in New York, offering probably the best shopping experience in the world but, if you don't want to waste your first day running around, desperately trying to assemble the proper gear, here is a list of essential New York winter clothing that you should bring with you: 


  1. Decent shoes or, preferably, boots that will remain watertight, even when you step into an unexpectedly deep puddle, or find the entire contents of the puddle splashed up over your feet by a taxi.  Your footwear should have an excellent grip, to prevent you slipping and sliding all over the city.  Needless to say, your high heels should remain back in your hotel room.

  2. Thick socks: you're going to be doing a lot of walking, so, thick socks are a good idea anyway, but it is their ability to keep your precious wee tootsies warm that you will truly value.

  3. Gloves, preferably the fingered kind that will allow you to handle items, hold maps etc, because you're not going to want to take them off for anything.

  4. A warm, properly padded hat, preferably one that covers your ears - you don't want to lose your ears, do you?  No, I didn't think so.  If your hat does not cover your ears, consider casting aside the last remnants of your pride and wearing ear muffs.  Bonus points for wearing PINK ear muffs.

  5. A big, puffy, squishy and ridiculously fat coat that you can climb into like some sort of space suit.  Make sure that you can zip and button it up in such a way that the nasty wind can't find a way in.  Don't leave too much space between where your hat ends and your coat begins - in fact, it would be best if your coat has a nice, big hood that you can wear over your hat.

  6. A nice, soft scarf that you can use to fill in any little gaps between your neck and your coat.

  7. Decently thick trousers - or, as the Americans call them, pants - which are capable of keeping the wind at bay.  Make sure, too, that you have a few spare pairs back in your hotel room because one slip and one puddle could mean you have to rush back and change.

  8. Layers of t-shirts and light jumpers/sweaters, so that you can easily adjust the amount you are wearing at any given point in the day.

  9. Long johns or thermal underwear - usually considered something you should only buy once you're collecting your pension, all-body underwear can make all the difference in NYC.  Don't worry, no-one will guess that you are wearing them under all the other stuff you're wearing!

  10. Hand-warming packs.  These small packs use chemicals to create a continuous heat for several hours, a bit like having small hot water bottles in your pockets.  You could, of course, achieve a similar hand-warming effect by simply buying lots of coffees during your day out - which is why New York is known as the city that never sleeps.


The good news is that, once you've got the clothing right, Winter is one of the most spectacular time to be in the Big Apple. 


New York is always impressive, but there is something about the snow that adds a sense of calm and a sprinkling of magic to the city.  Your winter trip to New York is going to be memorable, we just don't want that to be because you lost some fingers to frostbite, so, dress like a real New Yorker, remain cosily wrapped up and be the envy of all those ridiculous, dribble-nosed tourists who failed to realize quite what a New York winter would entail.

 

 

 

 

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