How to be Prepped for Winter in NYC

Winter is fast approaching and anyone who has lived in New York from November to March knows that it can get brutal. Temperatures often dip into the numbers, wind chill can be painful, and snowstorms can be incredibly destructive. Still, many people live in New York year-round and have developed strategies to get through the winter without too much trouble. These tips and tricks will make the season bearable and maybe even fun under the right circumstances. So grab your snow jacket and boots. It’s time to get ready for winter!

Preparing your home for winter

Keep the cold out

Whether you have a radiator or central heating, you want your home to be insulated. This means all your windows are closed, any cracks or holes in your walls are sealed, and the doors to your home are not left open for too long. For a little extra warmth, consider getting blackout curtains or insulated blinds, which will help keep the heat from escaping. If you still feel a bit chilly in the air, it’s time to start dressing in layers and getting the blankets out. Rugs and carpets will also help keep your floors toasty warm. Heaters can also be useful here, but make sure you have a fire extinguisher as they can be a fire hazard.

emergency supplies

It’s good to have emergency supplies, like a flashlight, fresh water and canned food, and extra batteries for smoke detectors ready in case the power goes out. Ice storms can wreak havoc on New York’s power lines, sometimes leaving people without power. It’s good to be prepared if and when this happens, so it’s always a good idea to have a few extra supplies. Making sure your phone is charged, you have a wind-up radio, and extra blankets are also a good idea. You want to be fed, warm and able to receive new information. It’s better to be safe than sorry. If you have pets, consider their needs as well.

Watch out for salt

People spread road salt during the winter to help keep sidewalks and roadways free of snow and ice. Unfortunately, this salt can stick to your shoes, damage floors, and even be dangerous to pets. It’s good to have a place to wipe your shoes at the entrance to your house. Having a designated space for shoes or wipes to clean them is a great way to save your floors and keep your pets from eating that dirty road salt.

Prepare for winter

Dress in layers

The cold and wind chill in New York City is no joke. When locals tell you to dress in layers, they don’t just mean a sweater and a coat. That means thick or multiple socks, long johns under your pants, multiple layers of shirts and sweaters, and even face coverings. A nice pair of thick gloves will also be extremely useful. People who find themselves outside in winter will thank their lucky stars for having enough layers to keep warm. Many will also bring extra layers in a backpack, just in case.

Get a pair of sturdy boots

The snow in New York is tricky and can go through many changes in a short time. It usually starts out powdery and white, turns into a gray slime, and quickly turns to ice. These considerations can all be dangerous for different reasons, but a sturdy pair of boots can be the answer. You want a pair with good traction, waterproofing, and ideally material to keep your feet warm. Winter in the city will beat these shoes, so you’ll probably need new ones every few years. That said, it’s one of the best investments you can make.

Download emergency alert apps / Keep track of the subway

In most cases, the metro system will not shut down completely. However, many lines and stations will face difficulties during the winter months due to cold weather, snow and other issues. It can be extremely annoying trying to navigate the city when your station is closed, so it’s good to keep track of all the stations you’ll need throughout the day. Again, the whole system is unlikely to shut down, but it has happened before. It’s worth checking out what works and what doesn’t. You can sign up for Notify NYC by calling 311, or you can follow emergencies by following on Twitter.

Prepare your car

Preparing your car for winter is extremely important for those who drive in New York. You will need emergency supplies in case you get stuck. These supplies include kitty litter (which helps melt snow and ice), tire chains, emergency blankets, portable shovel, jack, jumper cables, flags or reflective triangles and a snow brush/ice scraper. If you leave your car parked outside, try to find a garage to leave it. In too many cases, cars are buried in snow due to a storm or a snow plow. Always make sure your tires are good and don’t drive in dangerous conditions if you can avoid them. Driving during the storm is a good way to total your car, or worse.

Tips for wintering in New York

Get to know your neighbors

Winter in New York can be dangerous, especially if you try to do it alone. This is why getting to know your neighbors can be extremely beneficial, especially if you are well prepared and want to spread the wealth. Helping out your elderly neighbours, or even just making a new friend, can help make the winter months much more bearable, so knock on some doors and share information with your neighbors. There is safety in numbers, and nothing beats building community with the people in your building.

Avoid very touristy places

Winter in New York can be dangerous, but it’s also one of the busiest times in the city. People love to come to New York to fulfill their dream of living in a romantic comedy, and the number of winter attractions here is staggering. That’s why you should avoid places like Rockefeller Plaza and Times Square if you can avoid it. Large crowds mean crashes are more likely and there’s a higher chance of catching a seasonal bug. If you want to join in the festivities, go ahead. However, if you don’t care about tree lighting, it’s best to go around these places.

Don’t stay out too long

There are plenty of places to visit and things to do in the city, even in winter. However, staying outside too long in extreme cold can be incredibly bad for your health. Temperatures can drop into the single digits, and wind chill on top of that can create a deadly situation for those caught outside for too long. Even if you dress in layers, try not to be outside for more than 20 or 30 minutes. Similarly, if you see someone homeless in these conditions, call 311 and ask for help. No one should be outside in these conditions.

Find a bright spot

Winter can be an extremely dark and lonely time for people. The sun sets at 4 p.m. and no one likes being in the dark and cold. That said, businesses, bars, and restaurants are still open, and many of them have great deals that will leave you warm and comfortable. There are plenty of places with heated dining shells and igloos, bars will start making hot drinks, and shops will host special events that will make you forget about the cold. Find a base in one of these locations and you’ll be fine.

Remember that winter will end

Winter in New York may seem like the longest season of the year. Most of the time it won’t warm up until March, which can be a huge disappointment. However, the season will eventually pass, so keep that in mind. Even when it seems endless, spring and summer will always return, so there is light at the end of this extremely cold tunnel.

Winter in a big city can be tough, especially if it’s the first. Making lists and preparing the right things can make living in New York in the winter a lot easier and maybe even a little fun. The season is long, so make sure you have enough clothes, food and things to do to keep you entertained. Winter in New York is tough, but it can also be magical if you let it. So put on your snow pants, grab a hot drink, and face the New York winter cold like a champ.

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