This winter’s weather has been memorable to say the least, but where does it fit historically? If you think 2017-18 was especially brutal, you’re right, but you might be surprised at how it stacks up against previous NYC winters.
While it may have felt like the cold temperatures were the definition of extreme, the 2017-18 season didn’t break any records. Average monthly record lows continue to stand at 14 degrees for November (1955), 0 degrees for December (1989), -4 degrees for January (1994), -3 degrees in February (1979) and 5 degrees for March (1981). But averages don’t provide us with the jaw-dropping figures we really want: the lowest temperatures ever recorded. Somewhat disappointingly, however, even within this context, 2018 didn’t break any records. NYC’s lowest ever recorded temperature is -15, which happened on February 9th, 1934. This winter didn’t register any frigid days that broke the top ten coldest days ever ranking.
Snow was a slightly different story, although none of this past winter’s storms were the largest ever. Still, 2017-18 was the fifth consecutive season that at least 30 inches of snow have fallen in NYC (the average snowfall per season since 1869 has been 28.8 inches). The only other time it snowed this much for five consecutive years was back in the 1880s.
This year, we also managed to beat per month snowfall averages in January, March and April. And, we’ve had 40.9 inches of snow in total, making it the 32nd-most snowiest season in the past 149 seasons, which is as long as we’ve kept track. NYC’s record for snow in a single winter is 75.6 inches, set in the 1995-96 season. Our record for snow in a single month is 36.9 inches, set in February 2010.
The biggest snowstorm on record to ever hit NYC occurred on February 11, 2006, when it snowed 26.9 inches in two days. 2016’s January 22-24 storm ranks just .1 inches behind at 26.8 inches. Other historic snowstorms occurred in December 1947, March 1888 and February 2010.
This winter NYC did manage to break one notable record, although it wasn’t for the cold. On February 21st, the city hit 78 degrees, breaking the previous record for that day, which had been 68 degrees set back in 1930. It was the warmest February temperature ever recorded in Central Park, breaking an 88-year record; the previous all-time high had been 75 degrees.
So, no, it wasn’t your imagination: it snowed A LOT this winter. And this year was part of the aforementioned snowier-than-usual trend that we’ve seen for the past five years. But as much as it might’ve felt like it was the coldest, fiercest, snowiest winter on record when our toes were going numb during our daily commutes, it wasn’t the worst we’ve seen. Not even close.
Looking for something to do now that the winter is (hopefully) over? There are still a couple of our Spring Events yet do go down, and the warm weather is always a good reason to check out one of NYC’s impressive (and free) parks for a productive springtime workout!
New York is always changing, and the Brooklyn getaway once known as “America’s Playground” is no exception. Once considered past its prime, Coney Island has recently transformed from a shadow of its former self to an entertainment destination worthy of its legendary name. As the springtime thaw warms up the city, many are likely to find themselves drawn back to NYC’s great beach escape. These are just a few of the exciting recently-established attractions that await them.
Coney Island Museum
This neighborhood is good for much more than a day at the beach. This museum, operated by the Coney Island USA nonprofit, houses artifacts of the old Coney Island and in their words, “defends the honor of American pop culture.” Here, Coney Island’s truly unique character shines through in collections and exhibitions that show off the creative character that has made this beachfront area a beacon for artists and sunbathers alike for over 100 years.
Ford Amphitheater at Coney Island Boardwalk
Nothing draws in visitors like a good show, and this cutting-edge venue, opened in 2016, has already brought in some star-studded attractions far from the clubs and theaters of Manhattan. With room for 5,000 fans and proximity to plenty of public transportation, it’s no wonder the Ford Amphitheatre has already carved out a place among the best music venues in NYC. The Beach Boys, Daddy Yankee, and Willie Nelson among many others, took the stage over the amphitheater’s first two summers to thrill thousands of fans, and this year’s slate is sure to keep the thrills coming for music lovers of all types.
Thunderbolt Roller Coaster
Anyone who knows anything about Coney Island is surely familiar with the famed Cyclone thrill ride, but some may not be aware of its once-great predecessor. The original wooden Thunderbolt, built in 1925 and dismantled in 2000, shares only a name with the new kid on the block: a modern steel coaster featuring all the loops, corkscrews, and dives that present-day riders love. Since it went up in 2014, the Thunderbolt has lent the Coney Island ‘skyline’ a reminder that the area’s prime years of amusement are not behind it.
Coney Island Brewery
Right in the shadow of MCU Park (home of the Brooklyn Cyclones) sits one of the city’s finest breweries. Their beers are on tap citywide but there’s no place like the source itself, especially on a hot summer day right off the boardwalk. Perennial beer lovers need not worry, for even during the cold Coney Island winters this destination is open for business. That means any time of the year is just fine for visitors to warm up with a pint or two at the Brewery.
NYC is already a foodie paradise-with more restaurants than you could visit in a lifetime-but who’s to say you can have too much of a good thing? More and more developers across the five boroughs are opening food halls, dedicated spaces featuring a variety of food options under one roof. These are 3 of our favorites!
Dekalb Market Hall – Downtown Brooklyn
Sited in the basement of the remodeled Albee Square Mall, CityPoint features a new Target, Century 21, and Alamo Drafthouse movie theater, but the biggest attraction sits in the basement. This bustling hall holds 40 vendors representing the spectrum of Brooklyn eats, from tacos to pierogis and everything in between. Perhaps the most enticing option are the mile-high pastrami sandwiches from Katz’ Deli-available outside of the Houston St. original for the first time ever.
Hudson Eats – Battery Park City
Underneath the picturesque Winter Garden Atrium in Battery Park City’s Financial Center, Hudson Eats boasts perhaps the city’s most massive food hall, with big names suitable for the enormous space. Mighty Quinn’s BBW, Dos Toros Taqueria, and Blue Ribbon Sushi are just a selection of the top-quality fare to be found in the shadow of the Freedom Tower, located just across West Street.
Shops at Queens Crossing – Flushing
Arising from a former mall food court, the Shops at Queens Crossing feature a major upgrade from the fast food of yesterday. Appropriately enough for the majority Asian neighborhood, Flushing’s brand new food hall features foodie-grade bubble tea, Hawaiian poke, Japanese sushi, Chinese dim sum, Thai ice cream, and even some French and British options. For New York’s most diverse borough, it’s only right that an international flavor is in the offering.
Springtime means baseball season is in full swing (among other things), so fans can settle in for another summer of hardball action in all corners of New York City. Whether at Yankee Stadium, Citi Field, or one of the hundreds of sandlots and park diamonds around the five boroughs, New Yorkers can’t get enough of America’s Pastime. With a rich history spanning the very earliest recorded games to the present day, New York has been the site of some of the most thrilling and memorable happenings in the major leagues. Read on for our list of the 5 biggest baseball moments in NYC history.
The Shot Heard ‘Round the World
Before they packed up for the West Coast, the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants continually gave National League fans all the entertainment they could hope for–without having to trek to Broadway (or the Bronx). The Polo Grounds in Harlem, the Giants’ home turf, was the site of this rivalry’s most unforgettable moment. With the 1951 League Pennant (the big prize in those days) on the line, this final game of the season came down to the most famous home run in history, as Bobby Thomson crushed Ralph Branca’s pitch down the short left field line, cementing the Giants’ snatching victory away from the then-dominant Dodgers.
Bums No More
Brooklyn’s Dodgers may have been perennial National League champs, but when it came to the subsequent World Series against the American League’s number one, the Yankees had their number. The Bronx Bombers beat out Brooklyn’s “Bums” in 1941, ‘47, ‘49, ‘52 and ‘53, leading many an Ebbets Field regular to wonder if they’d ever bring the trophy home to 55 Sullivan Place in the neighborhood of Flatbush. Appropriately enough, it was 1955 when manager Walter Alston, star second baseman Jackie Robinson, and the rest of the Dodger squad finally toppled the Yanks in 7 hard-fought games to attain the crowning achievement: a World Series championship for Brooklyn.
A Miracle in Flushing
Once the Giants and Dodgers fled for California, National League fans didn’t have to wait too long before a new squad popped up to rival the AL’s Yankees. Unfortunately, what they got (initially) was a series of disappointments. The expansion-team Mets set a new standard for hopelessness, losing an MLB record 120 games in their 1962 debut season. By 1969, the Flushing, Queens-based team had shockingly turned things around, culminating in a thrilling Fall Classic showdown with the Baltimore Orioles. Led by Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Seaver, the newly nicknamed “Miracle Mets” pulled off one of the greatest upsets in World Series history over the previously dominant Orioles, winning the Series in 5 unforgettable games.
Mr. October Goes Deep
After a (relatively) long championship drought, the Bronx was itching for a winner. Fiery manager Billy Martin and star outfielder Reggie Jackson had brought plenty of drama to NYC’s tabloid back pages, but it was in 1977 that this pairing finally paid off with a championship win for the pinstriped Yankees. The Los Angeles Dodgers gave them all they had, but it wasn’t enough to overcome Jackson’s legendary Game 6 breakout. His three home runs in the game are still a World Series record and an undeniable feat in baseball history that has yet to be matched.
Two New Cathedrals
In a city that sees new and spectacular structures built on a seemingly daily basis, it may have been a little surprising that no major sports facility had gone up in New York since the current Madison Square Garden opened in 1968. By 2009, it was time for NYC to get a double dose of modernity, as the new Yankee Stadium and the Mets’ Citi Field both opened their doors for the first time. Replacing the House that Ruth Built and lovable Shea Stadium in fan’s hearts would take some time, but if any group can handle change, it’s the loyal baseball fans of New York City. Less than a decade later, each building is solidly home for each franchise, having hosted a World Series apiece with many more sure to come.
A day at the park doesn’t have to mean leisure time. Many New Yorkers, eager to make the most of their workouts, hit the city’s many parks to get and stay fit all throughout the year. These are four spots across the city where fitness freaks can get an intense workout while enjoying the city’s best green spaces.
Running Track – Van Cortlandt Park
The Bronx’s showcase (and third largest park in NYC), Van Cortlandt Park is home to a golf course, cricket pitch, bocce court, and even a Gaelic football field, but those looking to work up a solo sweat will find it in the park’s southwest corner, just south of the tennis courts. The Van Cortlandt Stadium on Broadway between 240 and 242nd street is the perfect staging area for cardio at any level, from marathoners to weekend warriors. Test out your speed on the 400 meter track, or run up the concrete stadium steps for a vertical element to your workout.
Swimming – Flushing Meadows Corona Park
If you’re looking to burn some calories and build muscle without getting drenched in sweat, the pool is where you belong. Queens’ biggest park is home to a state-of-the-art aquatics center with an Olympic-sized pool, with all levels of swimmers welcome. A nominal membership fee (much lower than typical gym fees) will get you in for swimming year-round and seasonal ice skating at the attached rink-the best of both worlds in recreation and fitness.
Hanging Bars – Tompkins Square Park
Alphabet City’s green oasis is also home to one of New York City Parks’ most well-known and tough public fitness areas. What at a glance might look like a garden variety jungle gym is, in fact, an adult-ready set of steel frames to test even the most accomplished pull-up champ. Bring your A-game to this array of multi-colored hanging bars in the northeast corner of the park, or risk getting squeezed out by the park’s ultra-toned regulars.
Watersports – Marine Park
If your interests tend a little towards the unexpected (for NYC, at least) a ride down to Marine Park for some kayaking and paddleboarding is well worth the trip. This far-flung Brooklyn neighborhood’s namesake park (reachable by car or bus, but not subway) features not only 530 acres of grassland, but the Gerritsen inlet, a purpose-built launching spot for small boats and watercraft. Bring your own or rent one from a nearby kiosk and get your blood pumping while enjoying a day on the water!
The snow is finally melting and that means one thing across New York City: a multitude of great springtime festivals that cater to every interest. As we look for more reasons to spend time outside, there’s no shortage of great events to plan those longer days around. Here are just a few of the offerings at hand for the warmer months ahead.
While NYC’s many art museums are generally open year-round, Frieze New York is a weekend-long festival that offers the chance to see high art while simultaneously enjoying the spring weather, a rare opportunity. While it’s primarily a showcase for collectors and dealers, this tented art fair on Randall’s Island welcomes art lovers of every stripe to enjoy the thousands of works on display. More than a simple market, the Frieze Fair features site-specific and groundbreaking new works. For NYC’s rapidly evolving art scene, nothing less will do.
Stretching all the way from 42nd to 57th Street (Times Square-area to Columbus Circle-area, roughly), this long-running food fest has enough room for the best tastes from around the globe. From French Crepes to Indian Curry to South America Pupusas, New York’s international character perhaps sees its best representation in Ninth Avenue’s bustling yearly fair. If the good isn’t enough to entice you, there are vendors and games to keep you around even after you fill up on the goods.
March 25 – April 8
Nothing says spring like flowers, and nothing says NYC like Macy’s, so what better way to celebrate the season by enjoying the best of both? Macy’s isn’t just the host of the annual Thanksgiving Day Parade down 5th Avenue, but their cherished flower show festoons the aisles of their landmark Herald Square location with a spectacular array of fresh flower arrangements from floor to ceiling. This parade-worthy display is only up for two weeks, so hop on the train and pay them a visit-no purchase necessary.
For 5 years running, this celebration has drawn the crowds looking for the most creative takes on breakfast’s favorite cocktail. Featuring live music, food tastings and more, this event promises the best brunch of the spring. This year’s event will host 17 masters of the Mary at Park Slope’s regal Grand Prospect Hall, so feel free to dress in your Sunday best as you sip the finest vodka-and-tomato juice cocktails the city has to offer.
Since the 1870s, New Yorkers have shown off their finest at this Easter celebration where too much decoration is almost never enough. This solemn holiday celebration has morphed over the years into a colorful display of creativity with bonnets with every color and ornamentation imaginable, even with live animals festooning some of the more outlandish designs. Centering (naturally) around St. Patrick’s Cathedral on 5th Avenue and 50th Street, the festival is just part of a larger parade that runs up to 57th Street. Even if you can’t make it into Mass, getting to the church is enough to take part in or simply witness the festivities.
Sometimes the greatness of a city can be measured by what we don’t see rather than what we do. The infrastructure of the biggest cities often entail fascinating worlds of their own, hidden completely out of sight for everyday citizens. It might not be something most of us think about often, but NYC generates garbage and waste on a nearly unimaginable scale, requiring a force of nearly 10,000 to take care of everything busy New Yorkers leave behind. Known as NYC’s Strongest, the Department of Sanitation (DSNY) is responsible for the estimated 12,000 tons of refuse and recyclables that New York discards every day. Here are 5 fascinating facts about one of the city’s grittiest and most essential agencies.
They Took Over a City Besieged by Trash
Before modern sanitation systems, the city’s streets and waterways were New Yorkers’ sole repository for garbage and waste. This means, yes, that the sidewalks (especially in poorer areas like Manhattan’s Lower East Side) were piled high with unthinkably unsanitary messes. The existing Street Cleaning Bureau was dreadfully inadequate, and a new streamlined Department of Street Cleaning was established in 1881. The current name was applied in 1929.
Their Giant Salt Crystal Houses the City’s Supply
At the western end of Canal Street, adjacent to the West Side Highway, sits one of the city’s most visually remarkable buildings. With no windows, you might guess this 70 foot high jagged, ultra-modern building was an art gallery or cutting-edge condominium rather than a municipal storage facility, but the Spring Street Salt Shed is the rare utilitarian building with high-art aesthetics. This unmistakable structure, completed in 2015, was designed specially to house the 5,000+ tons of salt the city keeps on hand for dispersal when snow strikes.
They’re Not Alone in Fighting Garbage Growth
While the Sanitation Department’s (mostly) white trucks are ever present in the city, it may surprise the uninitiated to know that they don’t collect nearly all of the waste created here. In fact, the Department’s collections are limited to private homes and buildings. 248 private collection companies supplement the work done by the DSNY by picking up the garbage created by private businesses from office skyscrapers to mom-and-pop bodegas.
They’ve Inspired Top Designers
It might sound like someone’s idea of a joke, but the world of haute couture is no stranger to the Strongest’s fashion sense. In 2016, designer Heron Preston introduced a line inspired by Sanitation workers’ uniforms just in time for New York Fashion Week. Eager trend-hoppers lined up around the block for Preston’s unique rollout at the Spring Street Salt Shed, with entertainment provided by the DSNY Pipe and Drum Band.
They’re Unlikely to Remain Underappreciated for Long
The ranks of the Sanitation Department aren’t strictly comprised of office workers and trash haulers. Since 2006, NYU Anthropology and Environmental Studies professor Robin Nagle has served as the agency’s official anthropologist, an unpaid position dedicated to studying the impact and future of refuse collection. Her work includes performing research on the waste-management ecosystem and acting as custodian of DSNY’s culture, with an Oral History and Museum of Sanitation in the works. Soon enough, thanks to Nagle’s work, the Department of Sanitation will have the citywide recognition it so richly deserves.
The history of New York City often lays unnoticed in the names of the streets and avenues that comprise it. From its origins as a colonial trade outpost to its current status as the cultural capital of the world, the oft-traveled thoroughfares of the five boroughs are a living history of the area’s influences and interests. These are just a few of the fascinating street name origins that have probably gone under your radar.
A one-of-a-kind street in Manhattan, the Bowery’s name has meant plenty of different things to different eras of New Yorkers. From the punk rockers of the 1970s and 1980s to the chic types who populate its hip bars and restaurants today, no street’s denizens better exemplify the rapid speed of change in NYC. Perhaps that makes it strangely ironic that the name comes from the first and oldest use of this avenue, which was full of quiet, pastoral farmland. In fact, the name comes from the Dutch word for farm: bouwerij. The spelling was anglicized after the Dutch left town and has remained that way ever since.
Manhattan’s most famous thoroughfare, like the similarly named Bowery, comes from the language of the city’s Dutch founders. Brede weg, simply meaning “wide road,” was an appropriate enough name, and remains so to this day. While it’s best known for being the home of the Theater District, the street doesn’t end on the island. While there are separate Broadways in Queens and Brooklyn, only the Bronx can say their version is truly part of the prominent one in Manhattan. In fact, the street runs even further north than that, extending 18 miles into Westchester County, finally ending in the town of Sleepy Hollow.
Modern visitors to this Chinatown thoroughfare are awash in traffic and aggressive handbag sales but had they visited about 200 years ago they’d more likely be traversing this block in a canoe. Yes, similar to Wall Street to the south, Canal Street got its name from an actual canal, built to handle runoff from the swamps and marshes that occupied this area before urbanization. By 1820, the swamps were gone, and the canal had been paved over to become the island-spanning street we know today.
One of Queens’ oldest and longest roads, Kissena Boulevard connects Flushing and Jamaica while running directly down the center of the borough. The name comes from the Chippewa word meaning “it is cold,” derived by the lake of the same name found in Kissena Park. The street is not only an important landmark for New York City travelers but Rock and Roll historians as well. According to legend, Queens-born KISS guitarist Paul Stanley got the idea for his band’s name by shortening that of the street he traveled on as a child.
New York is truly a city constantly in flux. Among the most exciting recent changes to the NYC landscape have been spaces fallen into disuse and reimagined into homes for the most thrilling music the world has to offer. These are the city’s latest and greatest major music venues, each borne from an old building transformed into something more vibrant and new.
The latest venue opened by Bowery Presents (owners of the Bowery Ballroom, Webster Hall, Terminal 5 and others), this former steelworks factory in East Williamsburg has been converted into the mid-sized concert hall of Brooklynite’s dreams. No longer will trips into Manhattan be necessary to see the likes of Elvis Costello, MGMT, and Godspeed You! Black Emperor on their NYC tour stops. The site’s repurposed metal fixtures, exposed pipes, and rugged factory-grade windows and ceiling fans are a reminder of what once was while giving big-name bands the Brooklyn edge they’re looking for when they swing into town.
Forest Hills Stadium
Named for the cozy Queens neighborhood it calls home, Forest Hills Stadium has a history matched by few venues in the five boroughs. Once host to shows by Frank Sinatra, the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Diana Ross, and countless other megastars, the stadium fell into disuse by the 1990s, necessitating a full renovation to get it back to its past glory. That happened in 2013, and reopened with a rousing show by Mumford and Sons to signal that Queens was once again a destination for music’s hottest acts.
The crown jewel of Flatbush Avenue, the Kings Theatre finally reopened in 2015 after a meticulous renovation. Formerly a vaudeville theater turned movie house, crowds came from around Flatbush and surrounding neighborhoods to enjoy the regal building until it was shut down in 1977. A renovation plan approved in 2010 and completed in 2015 restored the Theatre to its rightful place among the city’s finest seated music halls, even serving as host for Mayor de Blasio’s State of the City Address in 2018.
NYC style isn’t restricted to the bands that pass through town. Read our guide to 5 Architectural Styles that Define NYC or Public Artworks that New Yorkers Must See to Believe for more on the aesthetics of the city.
From the Statue of Liberty to the Washington Square Arch, public art is an inextricable part of the NYC landscape. Outside of these established landmarks, there’s never a shortage of intriguing and thought-provoking pieces popping up across the five boroughs. These are a few public artworks currently on display around the five boroughs that help keep New York a vibrant center of culture, showing you don’t always need to visit a museum to get in touch with the world of art.
The sometimes controversial Chinese dissident’s latest piece uses the entire city as its canvas. At sites across Manhattan and Brooklyn, Ai Weiwei’s Good Fences Makes Good Neighbors serves as compelling commentary on the borders and separations that define our lives. Consisting of steel fences and pictorial banners strategically placed across the city, this piece is just the latest example of global artists using the city’s streets to make a vital statement.
On the more lighthearted side, this bright yellow construction consists of just two letters that carry a multitude of meanings for countless people. The 8-foot tall aluminum piece, depending on where on the Williamsburg’s North Fifth Street Pier and Park you’re standing, reads “YO” as in “I” in Spanish, or the slang “hey” salutation familiar to just about all New Yorkers. From the other side, the two letters read “OY,” perhaps a nod to the city’s many Jewish residents. Either way you choose to look at it, this piece by Deborah Kass is worth experiencing in person.
A highlight of the City Parks Department’s Art in the Parks initiative, Flying High for Equality sits perched on the southern slope of Joyce Kilmer Park along East 161st Street in the Concourse Village neighborhood in the Bronx. A flock of multicolored sparrows representing the varied communities found in the city overlook the colorful neighborhood adjacent to Yankee Stadium.
Another piece sponsored by the Parks Department brings vivid color to the green parks of New York. Queens’ Rufus King Park in Jamaica already stands out thanks to a colonial manor central to the park, and Common Ground brings a more down-home feeling to the compact park space. Brightly colored benches featuring mosaic designs comprise this utilitarian piece of art, providing a place that encourages park visitors to come together and enjoy friendship and camaraderie any time of year.
The work of Polish-born artist Fitzhugh Karol, this highly interactive piece forms steel silhouettes into something new. Part public art, part playground, these works invite visitors to play and enjoy them while offering a highly unique aesthetic to Stapleton’s Tappen Park. Drawing inspiration from the freighters in nearby New York harbor, Eyes combines steel material with bright color.