New Yorkers, it is not spring yet. Don't pretend like it is.
A funny thing happened around noon on Wednesday. It started to snow in New York City. It wasn't a wallop of an April snowstorm, like the one we had in 2003, but it was still snow and it was still April and that in and of itself made it strange.
From the looks of the people on the subway, I could tell they felt let down. This past Sunday, for many of us, seemed like the beginning of something wonderful. Just three days earlier it had been warm enough to don short sleeves or go without a jacket. Sunlight had finally appeared, and it wasn't coming with a sub-zero temperature or a cold, whipping wind.
New York isn't known for its weather. If people didn't already think it was the Greatest City in the Universe, I don't know why anyone would come. Los Angeles has all the sun and pretty scenery. Paris has the culture. Even the most random coastal city in Mexico can give you enough cheap cerveza and beach resorts to last a lifetime. New York just has a lot of big buildings, an antiquated subway system that miraculously still runs and bars that close at the crack of dawn. It's cold here in winter and really hot in the summer. If you live here and your air conditioner works, consider yourself very lucky.
Yet, when the clouds pull away and the sun shines through, New Yorkers come out of their basement hovels for a fix of Vitamin D. We'll climb out on rooftops for a more direct hit or brave a slow-moving F train out to Coney Island, just to make fun of the place.
We'll go anywhere to get this sacred sunlight. On a day such as this past Sunday, Central Park was filled with people. This tiny patch of nature that we New Yorkers hold so dearly turns into a parade of parents and strollers and overgrown frat boys playing frisbee. Some people take even the smallest of nice days too far. You know the ones. There's always that one guy in a speedo with a copy of the New Yorker over his face or some chick in a bikini, slathered in tanning oil -- and it's only 75 degrees.
And oh, the ladies. There really is no better indication that warmer weather is upon us than to look to the fairer sex. I've never met a guy in this town who didn't say that his favorite part about spring and summer was ogling all the random, half naked chicks. The half naked part is key, because women will use the slightest bit of sunshine and use it as a reason to wear less. Skirts and tank tops come out of closets as days become balmy, no matter for how long. The true litmus test is pantyhose. When stockings become a dying breed, it's a sign that it may soon be appropriate to wear white again in public. The rub, however, is that the women who are running around without nylons are usually the last ones who should be doing so. Let's do the math: When you go at least six months without direct sunlight onto your body, you will be quite pale. You would want to show yourself off like this, because...?
Bah. It's no use. Adulthood leaves us little to look forward to, now that we know that Santa and the Easter Bunny are a sham. Holidays become expenses to absorb. Work is just that, work. The dawning of spring and eventually summer seems to give us something to look forward to, like that feeling we all had on the last day of school, right before the eternal sunshine of summer vacation lay before us. As New Yorkers we can't take off for weeks on end (there is astronomical rent to pay) but we can at least wear flip flops on the subway to work. It's the small things, people.
Dispatches from NYC is a bi-weekly commentary on America's largest city and its impact on the wider world.