Once again, it’s winter time in New York City.  People talk about the rough summers in New York, where the heat reflecting off the concrete is just about the worst thing in the world.  But you have to be prepared for the winters too!  People who are new to New York City are often clueless about how bad the winters can be.  A coat and boots aren’t nearly enough to prepare you for the hazards of walking down a treacherously icy subway staircase, dodging mischievous snowballers in Central Park and navigating slush puddles, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg (pun intended) in regards to New York’s winter hazards.  Here are some tips for surviving a New York winters, taken from a blog post by the inimitable Tracy Kaler:

What to wear: When New York is at its coldest and windiest in January and February, a down coat will be your saving grace.  You’ll also need waterproof boots to travel through snow and the inevitable slush puddles on sidewalks.  If you’re attached to stylish shoes, don’t wear them outside.  But don’t forget about accessories such as hats, scarves and of course gloves.  If you’re spending a lot of time outside, hand warmers don’t hurt either.

Snow removal: Unless you own a home in New York, you shouldn’t be responsible for shoveling or maintaining your sidewalks.  Your super and building staff will oversee that.  But when New York gets a lot of snow or several snow storms in a short period, it piles up quickly.  There’s nowhere to put it until it can melt, so visibility and walking are both tough.  So plan for additional time for your commute.

Parking: Owning a car in the city has its merits, but it’s also a big hassle in the winter.  If you don’t park it in a lot, you might want to, or opt for vehicle storage.  There are always more cars than spaces in New York, and when many of those spaces are snowed out, it’s particularly difficult.  

Dog owners: New York sidewalks are sprinkled with a whole lot of salt over the winter, and that can harm your dog’s paws.  Make sure that you avoid salted areas when walking with your dog, or better yet make sure they wear booties.  If they don’t have thick fur, then get them a winter jacket as well.  

Melting snow: When New York’s snow melts, it turns into a disgusting, gray slush.  Not only is it absolutely disgusting, but it also can cause flooding.  That’s where boots come in handy, because nobody likes stepping in slush puddles.  When the snow is melting, make sure you stand away from corners, otherwise passing traffic will splash the melted snow.