Posted tagged ‘Weather’

People Watching at its Best

June 24, 2008

Karma is going to get me for this one. I already know it but I just can’t help myself. In keeping with my accidental theme of playing weatherwoman to the Upper East Side (but in a much more entertaining way I hope) I am yet again blogging about the conditions.

I am sitting in my little neighborhood coffee shop and from the comfort of my window seat I am having way too much fun people watching. Five minutes ago it was sunny day deserving of spaghetti straps and extra long lunch breaks in the sun. Then, bam! Out of nowhere the wind starts blowing, trees start swaying maniacally and the rain starts coming down.

The normally calm, put together New Yorkers start scattering like ants, seeking shelter and attempting to turn parts of their wardrobe into umbrellas. One man in a business suit dumped the contents of his plastic shopping bag onto a bench and proceeded to hold the bag over his head and rip it apart. The resistance of the plastic bag turned this into a dramatically slow movement reminiscent of The Hulk ripping off his shirt.

It is especially fun to witness the states of emotions the people on the street experience before conceding to the fact that the rest of their work day will be spent in shoes that ooze water in squeeky little bursts every time they walk. They are first shocked as they scramble to put their newspapers, their shirts, anything they have in their hands over their head. Like that is going to protect them from the rain that seems to be falling everywhere but straight down. After a few seconds of trying in vain to shield themselves from the elements, I watched as one by one, they suddenly got extremely pissed off. How dare you rain on me! Let me talk to your manager! They look angrily at the sky, at their soaked suits, before they finally set aside their pride and scurry across the street, dodging cars and puddles, and ducking into any dry area they can find.

Like I said, I will most definitely be struck down by lightening or caught in a similar downpour when I’m on my way to a particularly important event just for posting this from the comfort of my window seat, but I just can’t help myself. I just saw a really angry woman in four inch heels and two inches of concealer duck into the hardware store next door. Then a few seconds later, as if she’d rather brave the rain then whatever might be lurking in there, she dashed out again, actually looking a little bit sheepish for stepping in such an establishment. How can you not love this city!!

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The Day the Sun Won

June 18, 2008

Last week, during the second day of the crippling New York City heat wave that inspired this post I think the sun managed to singe my brain because I was getting a little bit loopy. Since I moved into my apartment just last September, I only had to suffer through a few weeks of the smelly New York summer before October came around, allowing me to open my windows and let the cool air flow in. Being a Florida girl, I knew very little about these things they call window units (I think that’s the technical term) and had never even seen one until I caught a Law and Order rerun that centered around a little girl who was crushed by a falling unit. So I didn’t have a very positive or clear image of window units, nor had I ever needed one until now.

I survived day one of the heat wave by alternating between my neighborhood coffee shop and my room, where I sat propped up in my bed with my tiny fan blowing directly at my face. I briefly wondered if my pose might be reminiscent of a supermodel’s but then the sweat started pouring defiantly down my face and my hair blew back and wound itself into one big rat’s nest. Thank god I’m not in a profession that requires any sort of attractiveness.

Day two I awoke at five that morning because even at that hour, my apartment was already baking in the 90 degree heat. My survival skills told me I had to take a cold shower and get somewhere that had air and a plethora of outlets to feed my computer.

sunny ny

Sometime after my third soy latte (Woody Harrelson convinced me to stop eating dairy, but that’s a story for another time) the rumbling air conditioner that had been keeping my little coffee shop cool and dry seemed to suddenly pause to consider the odds of fighting against this incredible weather, and just like that, it gave up. The brief sputtering that gave way to silence should’ve been my cue to relocate, but I continued on, happily puttering away on my computer, oblivious to the heat that was moving in. Three hours later, the caffeine wore off and I was hot and incredibly grumpy. I get kind of feisty when I’m in a bad mood (also when I’m drunk) so I decided I was going to stop hiding from the weather and embrace the beautiful sunshine: a sort of valint challenge to the sun.

I packed up my computer and headed over to Central Park. The four avenue walk seemed to take forever and my tank top was sticking to my back by the time I made it to Sheep’s Meadow, which was completely desolate compared to the last time I was there on Memorial Day. But the fact that this field, which was usually bustling with sun bathers, Frisbee throwers, and illegal beer vendors selling Milwaukee’s Best for $5 a can, was still and quiet, did not deter me. I pulled out my bottle of baby oil (again, I’m from Florida), took off my shirt (I had on a sports bra) and took a nap. It was almost four by the time I got to the park so I figured I couldn’t get in too much tanning trouble.

You might think this story ends with me getting a 2nd degree burn and hideous sports bra tan lines, but it doesn’t. My southern skin fared fine, it was the rest of me that didn’t do too well. I woke up two hours later and saw some creepy looking dude staring at me from under a tree. Time to go. The walk back was even worse and I actually had to do something I’ve only seen very obese people and tourists do and stop to rest on my way home.

Once I made it up my six flights of stairs I had cold water and my not so sexy spot in front of the fan. But my apartment was not much of an escape. I still didn’t have one of those deadly window units and every Upper East Side place that might deliver one to me was closed by now. I considered going to a movie for a two hour, $12 escape, but that didn’t solve the dilemma of how I was going to survive the night. I couldn’t get Chris Brown’s “No Air” out of my head and my skin was probably still soaking in all that heat from the park. It was time to call in reinforcements.  I got my man friend, Chris, on the phone and started reminding him how guilty he would feel if I died in my sleep when he had had the chance to come to my rescue. I could tell he was less than pleased with the prospect of coming into the city to bring and install an air conditioner when he had to be at work in New Rochelle at seven the next morning, but when I threatened to fake illness so I could spend the night at Sloane Hospital down the block I think he started to feel bad for me. And when there was a brief silence in our phone conversations and I told him it was because I might have passed out a little, he audibly sighed but was quickly on his way.

In a truly heroic move Chris drove 30 minutes to deliver and install my very own window unit, which can cool my little room in less than 60 seconds. And although I have only used it a couple times since, he can now say that he potentially saved my life, a statement which will be especially useful when he sees my father again, who likes Chris just about as much as any dad likes the man who dares to date his daughter. My dad likes to grill potential suitors on what they are doing with their lives, and at least Chris will have a good answer this time: saving my life. Now that I think about it, I was the one who actually did him a favor. So Chris, I’d say we’re even.

Weather or Not

June 13, 2008

nyc central park sheeps meadow

 

Nearly anywhere else in the world, talking about the weather is a total cliché, a verbal recognition of an awkward silence or a lack of anything else to discuss. But here in New York City, the weather is always relevant. It affects us in our cramped apartments, where central air is as non-existent as extra closet space. It affects us every time there is a heavy rain that prompts bugs to seek shelter in our already overcrowded dwellings. And worst of all, it affects us whenever we leave for work and don’t have a cushy car waiting for us, ready to keep us cool, or warm, or dry, in those blustery downpours that take the lives of expensive shoes and cheap umbrellas all at once.

 

 

You can predict the conversations as easily as The Weather Channel predicts the seasons. We’ve been complaining about the cold since November but as soon as the heat comes sweeping in, those of us who can’t run away to The Hamptons or our country club’s pool easily shift into whining about the heat. Maybe it’s not actually our fault. Maybe its global warming’s fault that we can’t live at a perfect 75 degrees for more than three days a year. But while Al Gore works on that, we continue to complain. 

cutestkideverrr2

We’re all guilty of it. Gawker does it , Jossip did it, even respected publications like The New York Times blog about the weather, most especially this horrendous heat wave we’ve been experiencing. And for some reason two out of three decided to accompany their posts with pictures of half naked old men. Of all things. Not little kids playing in fountains or eating ice cream or cute couples tanning in Central Park. Nope. Wrinkly old half naked men.

 

 

To oppose that I decided to I wanted to collect pictures of buff young men who were excited to show off the muscles they’d been cultivating all winter long. But as soon as I got the courage to break New York’s public code of ignoring one another and ask strangers if I could take their pictures, the weather turned and men lost their excuse to walk around half naked. When its 100 degrees women walking down 5th Avenue in bikinis are socially acceptable, but now that it’s down to the 80’s there is not as much to oogle and the city streets are verging on boring again. No expanding sweat stains to stare at or camel toes to try not to stare at. No excuse to call in sick because you absolutely have to spend the entire day outside, soaking it all up, or inside, huddled next to your window unit, depending on your skin tone. No excuse to put on those short shorts that are trashy on any other day or make four separate trips to Tasti in one day. And there I go complaining about the weather again.