There is something magical about winter in New York City, especially when it snows. Of course, the genetically blessed people skating around the ice rink in Central Park as the snow falls softly on their faces is perfect in the movies, but the reality of living in a cold place is very different and unfamiliar to most Aussies. Are you ready for winter in New York? If not, fortunately those of us who have survived and thrived through the New York winter have plenty of good tips.
In the winter, it’s easy to spot the Aussies who have just arrived in New York. They’re the ones who didn’t understand how cold it was going to be and who thought their regular winter coat and a baseball cap would be fine. New York winter temperatures tend to fall well below zero degrees Celsius, but it is the wind that will cut through you like a knife. New Yorkers are famously fashion-forward, but once the big chill starts, they abandon their style cred and become a whole lot more practical: big puffer coats, gloves, hats and even ear muffs.
Luckily, you are now living in the shopping capital of the world and there are plenty of stores that stock what you need to keep you warm. This is what you’ll need before the winter hits:
- Invest in a warm coat. The overcoat you have in Australia will not cut it here. You need something with ‘down’ or ‘fill’. A general rule of thumb, if you try it on in the store and you are NOT hot with the jacket on inside, then it is not warm enough for winter outside! Most coats feature duck or goose down filling, often times mixed in with feathers. Pay attention to the fill /down percentage and go for the higher fill/down number for maximum warmth. You can buy coats in all department stores like Macy’s, Bloomingdales, Saks. There are also some great discount stores including Century 21, Burlington Coat Factory (they sell all kinds of clothes, not just coats), TJ Maxx. Or you can go to a specialized shop like Northface or online at canadagoose.com. Make sure it is waterproof and a hood is a bonus! Most hoods detach. Remember, you want (and need) to be warm before you worry about how good you look!!!
- Snow boots are essential. There are lots of choices, but be sure to get a waterproof shoe with a thick rubber sole and insulation for keeping your toes warm. Well-regarded boots included Sorel, NorthFace, Ugg (not the slipper style, the proper snow boot). Again, all the big department stores sell many different brands.
- Layers, layers, layers. As soon as you get inside a building, shop or subway, you will need to take off your big, expensive coat because everywhere is well heated. Wearing lighter layers under your coat will help.
- You will also need beanies, gloves and scarves. All are easy to buy here as every clothing store sells them, and plenty of street vendors sell them as well.
- For little bubs in strollers you need to invest in a footmuff: a big sleeping bag that the kids can sleep or sit in to keep them warm in the stroller, sometimes referred to as “bunting” or a “stroller sleeping bag”. Most stroller brands sell their own footmuffs to perfectly fit the stroller. If not, there are plenty of generic ones that fit all strollers. You will find them online at Amazon and at all baby stores; e.g Buy Buy Baby, Albee Baby on the Upper West Side, Giggle, Peurobaby etc.
Now you have your essential winter clothes sorted you’re ready for winter in New York. You can go out and enjoy all that NYC has to offer during those long cold months while staying warm!