The joy of snow

Though there are many here in New York, and surely in the greater Northeast, who would rather have cold weather without snow, Ashley and I are not among them. For us, the past two weeks have been somewhat unpleasant; freezing rain, chaffing winds, barren branches, and brown shrubs have not been highlights of our recent urban hikes. But this last weekend, we finally got some pay-off for the cold: a clean blanket of snow.

Consequently, on Sunday, while walking home from the hospital, I was able to enjoy a new level of quiet as the snow kept drivers off the road, kept others in their houses, and provided an insulating cushion on all the surfaces of the city. I tip-toed my way back to our apartment; Ashley and I made ourselves some breakfast, then set out to explore. We took the subway up to the bottom of the park and began our walk.

Though it was still relatively early, plenty of families with kids and die-hard joggers had already arrived and begun enjoying the park. Perhaps because it was so cold, the snow was quite powdery, a property that Ashley thoroughly explored, though perhaps our games got a bit out of control.

Others were testing the conditions as well. A puffy little child (in an oversized, down onesy) did his best to make a snow angel—in a patch of snow already thinned to less than 1 inch. Those more astute sought out locales more suitable for their recreation.

A cross-country skier zipped down the bridal bath, adjacent to the 5th avenue luxury apartments, and families seemed to flock (so to speak) to the hills, from the tops of which nervous parents watched their kids
zip down on sleds.

The dogs in the park appeared to be having fun as well; even the normally stationary bull dogs were running about and kicking up snow, albeit running for just a few yards before stopping. Though we don’t have a dog—yet—we love to admire them from afar. I always go back and forth between wanting a strapping, sporty dog like a hound or a boxer, and wanting one more suited to our apartment, like a miniature greyhound (a “prancer,” as I call them), a King Charles Spaniel, or a French Bull dog.

I’ve always felt very sympathetic to the dogs out in the cold and, while it clearly didn’t bother the ones who went without, I think I would want to buy my dog a sweater to help him stay warm. This time of year, the big things for dogs are doggy shoes. Now, the side of me that wants the hound thinks shoes are froo froo junk, but the King Charles Spaniel side feels like their paws must be terribly cold without them. When I brought this up to Ashley, she pointed out that the little shoes also protect the dogs’ feet from the salt used liberally to melt the ice on the sidewalk. Pleased by this new-found knowledge, I made a mental note: dilemma resolved—must buy cute shoes for dog.

We continued on, adjacent to the North Woods, past the ice rink and its pint-sized hockey players into the upper west side.

Of course, once we left the park, the sun burst through the clouds, and though we considered returning to the park to walk down the west side, we stuck to the city streets and checked out—lusted after—the hot chocolate offered at the various specialty stores, like Jacques Torres’s place. In the end, we decided to walk to Columbus circle and eat at Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery. Besides having excellent food, the bakery is on the third flood of a Mall, if it could be called that, and looks out to a wall made entirely of glass. From our seats, we had a nice view of Columbus Circle, the bottom of the park, and the grand hotels of 59th street.

Though I’m sure the luster of the snow shall dim (so to speak) once it turns dark with dirt and dust, for now the city and its amazing park looks lovely.

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