A Winter Wonderland

My smugness back in November at how tame the New York winter was shaping up to be has been well and truly brought into check over these past few weeks of incessant snow, subzero temperatures and icy winds. The pavements are treacherous, icicles drip from tree branches and crossing the streets requires sturdy boots and a very good sense of balance to make it through the piles of ploughed snow. Americans cheerfully comment that I must ‘feel like I’m right at home’ in this sort of weather – apparently England is perpetually freezing in the American imagination- not so! It is chilly, and grey, and damp – there is a difference. It doesn’t snow much in London. And when it does, everything stops anyway, and I get to stay in on the sofa with a cup of tea because I can’t get to work. New Yorkers are more hardy, and you have to go to work even when in order to get there, you have to wade knee high in snow. I do like this blitz spirit, but at the same time, I would like to see the sun again some day soon.

What makes it all bearable, however, is how beautiful the snow makes everything look. I’ve been for some lovely walks through Central Park, which has been transformed into a Narnia-esque winter wonderland; all black and white shadowy tree limbs, muffled footsteps, frosty statues and iced over ponds. The Lions outside the Library are wearing little snowy caps, and avenues of snow draped trees line the streets. It’s lovely, really, until you end up on your bum in a pool of slush in the middle of Fifth Avenue!


  1. Lol! Yes, I would be one of those Americans who thinks everything is colder in England. (But, it really is colder there than Texas!) You are getting an unusual winter, even for NY, though. Be careful out there! The pics are beautiful, btw. Thanks for sharing with us!

    1. Well that’s true, Susan! I’d love to be in Texas right now!

      I know – so I hear. It would be the winter I pitch up, wouldn’t it?! I will, don’t worry – I have sturdy boots and I am doing better at balancing!

      Thank you – you are welcome! I’m glad you enjoyed them. πŸ™‚

  2. I love your photo of the library lions in the snow — it does remind me a bit of Narnia! I wonder if Britain’s also been getting an extra dose of snow. We might even get snow here in south Texas tonight.

    1. Thanks Karen! I know, it’s quite a resemblance isn’t it?! I haven’t heard any horror stories from home – my parents thought they had it bad until I told them about my experience in the blizzard! Snow in England isn’t like snow here!

      I hope you don’t get snow! Stay safe!

  3. I love how you called it a Narnia-esque winter wonderland. That library lion could be the one that Edmund scribbled spectacles on with the stub of a pencil he found in his pocket.

  4. I love your picture of the library lion. It makes me want to drive down to Chicago and take a picture of the lions in front of the Art Institute, but, too cold and snowy for this ol’ gal. I’ll just think about Aslan and Narnia. We are rather used to snow here in the midwest and it takes a blizzard like Tuesday’s to close things down.

    I admire your spunk and fortitude, Rachel, and it has been so much fun to see NYC through your eyes. I can’t wait to read about spring.

    1. Thanks Penny! I wouldn’t be driving anywhere in Chicago right now – you stay inside safe and warm! I know I shouldn’t complain really – the snow you have had makes the snow here look like a dusting!

      Thank you Penny, you are so sweet! I can’t wait for it to BE spring!

  5. This reminds me of the weather we had here from the end of November till the beginning of this year! Beautiful, but treacherous! Gorgeous lion. Such a sweet face! He seems to be enjoying the cuddle! πŸ™‚

    Be careful! We don’t want you falling and hurting yourself! Though it would give you more reading time……… πŸ™‚

    1. Beautiful but treacherous indeed! I hate walking around in icy weather!

      Hehe yes he does! They’re more used to having tourists draped over them I think!

      I am being very careful don’t worry, though six weeks on a sofa with a broken leg and a pile of books doesn’t sound that bad to me!! πŸ™‚

  6. Your lion photo could be in a calendar, it’s gorgeous! There is a certain ‘badge of honour’ mentality to finally whipping off your heavy coat come Spring. ‘We made it’ can be heard along with a sigh of relief and it really does make those first glimpses of bulbs and buds all the sweeter.

    And it’s funny how sometimes ending up on your bum feels like it’s in slow motion and at other times you don’t know what just happened!

    1. Oh thanks Darlene! I thought I got quite a good shot there if I don’t say so myself! πŸ™‚

      Oh yes…I will be whipping that coat off as soon as I can and cavorting around in bare legs and a cardigan!

      I know! I’m just glad I don’t get embarrassed easily!

  7. Lovely pics, my fave being the library lion:) I do love this weather and don’t wish for spring anytime soon (if my family was reading this they would tell me to bite my tongue). I only wish there was a snow shoveling fairy that would put my walk and drive to right so I could stay under the covers a little longer. I believe James Herriot did quite a bit towards creating a perpetually frozen England but those are my favorite parts of his writing.

    1. Thanks Stacy! I bet you have quite a bit of snow out in Pennsylvania! I think I would enjoy this weather more if I was in the countryside. Having to rush around and get to work and be inconvenienced by slippy pavements and delayed trains etc makes me annoyed, whereas I know if I lived in a quiet country location and could enjoy nice walks in the woods etc I wouldn’t mind a bit!! I’m glad you can enjoy the weather though. πŸ™‚

      I’ve never read any James Herriot – I must address that!

  8. Rachel, have you read Jack FInney’s Time and Again? It is a marvelous time travel novel that takes place in New York – his apartment is in the Dakota building, and your picture of the park made me want to read it again. Do read it while you are in New York.

    I feel I misled both you and Jenny about the mild NYC winter! The last time I remember snow and cold like what you are having was about 45 years ago…I was in 3rd grade.

    Love your pictures, and your description of NYC. If you need some sunshine, you should come to Baton Rouge for a week or so – wish you and Jenny could come for Mardi Gras. (Not that anything on earth could make me go to New Orleans during that week.)

    1. No Mumsy I haven’t!! It sounds wonderful and I will make sure I do read it!

      Yes you did! But it doesn’t matter. I am having fun anyway. And I have a VERY warm jacket. And so does Jenny. Don’t you worry about us!

      Thank you! I am desperate to come to Louisiana! πŸ™‚

  9. Beautiful writing, beautiful pictures! Normal NYC winter snow amounts range in the area of 14-18″. This year, the city has been hammered, coming in at almost 60″ of snow so far. No end in sight either…look out Thursday into Friday of next week!

    Texas is experiencing very unusual weather as well. Highs this past Sunday in Houston hovered near 70 degrees…they are experiencing cold, snow, frozen pipes right now. I lived in Texas for 17 yrs. of my adult-life, never in my teaching career there did we take an inclement weather day for snow (hurricanes, yes; snow, no)…they have one today! I live back “home” now in PA…we’ve seen monster snow this year too!:)

  10. Ah, but who wouldn’t want to be in Fifth Avenue, even on their bum!
    We’re having a very long, cold and dreary winter. The mist outside reminds me of home – which is one way of looking positively at it. Homesickness pushed away.
    What a lesson you are to us with your positive approach!

    1. Well this is true, Chrissy! It’s a good place to fall if you’re going to fall down!

      Dreary is the word, isn’t it? Sometimes the winter seems never ending. Chin up, the daffodils will be coming soon!

  11. I know snow is a pain in the butt, but for me it’s the best thing about winter, so you have no idea how much it pains me to currently live somewhere that is mostly snow-free during this season! To me, a deep snowfall is the one time when cities truly quiet and things just get so tranquil. To me, it’s the closest I ever get to feeling like time has frozen still for a tiny bit.

    1. That’s a lovely way of looking at it, Steph! I love it when it first snows, but it’s the aftermath of ice and grey piles of frozen snow blocking the crossings, and general dinginess and slipperiness that I hate. Central Park is still beautiful though, as it doesn’t matter that it stays covered in snow, and you really get that lovely muffled quietness feeling.

      Want to swap places? I could do without snow for a bit!

  12. I’m sure after awhile the snow gets to be a pain in the rear, but it looks so beautiful in the photos. Gosh, if you find a lamp post in the park, start looking for fauns.
    Americans’ ideas of England would make a fun topic. I know it’s wrong, but early on my imagination settled on dark, damp, entrancing Baskerville-like castles. The image refuses to go away
    I’m in Hawaii myself so this is all fascinating.

  13. Here in the Midwest I have felt like I was in Narnia for days. Your picture of the snowy lion just about proves it. We were literally snowed in for two days. Our lane is just under a quarter mile long and it was under three foot drifts. It took my husband on his tractor about five hours to get us out. We had some good neighbors at the other end helping too. Your photos are lovely. I love the snow especially at sunrise and sunset. The colors are amazing and you photographed it well. Never fear, spring is on its way. You will have some more beautiful views when it does

    1. Oh Janet, you poor thing! Hope you are nice and warm indoors! Thank you – I did my best to be a good photographer that day! I know, I know…can’t wait for sunshine and blossom and daffodils!

  14. I have fallen UTTERLY over, though not on Fifth Avenue so far. I have fallen down on the way to the subway from home, though, and it was very embarrassing. I have proper snow boots, and I should be able to balance on the ice!

    I do miss the sun, although the longer days have been rather cheering even without the sun. Every time I see the sun shining on a part of the sidewalk where I am not, I put down my hood and cross streets to go walk in that teeny bit of sun. :p

    1. Oh Jenny! It’s just so tricky getting around in this weather, isn’t it?! We’ve all done it!

      Yes, the longer days are making a difference. Being able to get up and it not be pitch black is lovely, as is having a bit of light when leaving the office!!

  15. One of my former students now lives in London with her Mother. She just sent me a message that she had seen all of our snow pictures and that she really likes London but she misses weather drama. She is twelve years old. I thought you would appreciate her comment even if it is my second one. By the way, I have been quite warm and cozy except when I wanted to be outside.

  16. I’d have to say snow is my favourite weather (and we’ve had quite a lot of it in the north of the UK this winter). I love how, when you wake in the morning, you just know it’s snowed in the night – there’s a particular light and a muffling of sound that comes after a fall of snow. That’s not to say I don’t recognise the hazards that come with!!

    1. Yes – the muffled sound and the beautiful dazzling whiteness of snow in the morning is beautiful, and there really is nothing like it. I just wish I could go from beautiful to normal without the awful slushy icy falling over bit in between!!

  17. You do have my heartfelt sympathies – the weather is exceptionally bad this year . Its been snowing non stop in the mid west too and its getting to be really exhausting. Just a month more and spring will be here !

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