#7: The sun, the sun!
This may seem obvious, but the sun, and the gorgeously warm summers, are one of the best things about NYC — and, of course, other parts of the US. Basically, in the summer it is hot, and this makes New York utterly different from the country in which I grew up. Ireland is famous for its green fields, but if you know anything at all about the place, you’ll also be aware that the sky there is almost always grey, and that much of the time a soft drizzle hangs in the air. Seasons don’t really exist, and instead you get mild alternations between cold and wet, and chilly and wet. It’s something many people would find depressing, and I am one of them.
New York has a pretty ferocious winter, but its summers are truly glorious. Restaurant tables spill onto the streets, laden with satisfied, sunglass-wearing customers. Everyone is happy because no one could feel grumpy under such a clear sky. If you’re waiting on an outside platform (for instance, in Queens), it no longer seems to matter much when your subway is delayed by 20 minutes. Life starts to feel like a holiday, which is probably because my only other experience of warm weather has been on holidays.
At times the heat can be too much. Last Tuesday, which was especially muggy as the temperature soared towards 90, I saw a man collapsed on the street, his limbs waving helplessly in the air like a daddy longlegs. He had fallen from his bike. He seemed (I hope) to be ok, but an ambulance swiftly took him off. In 2010, several people died from heat exhaustion.
Even so, I’m a total heat junkie, so much so that I don’t have air conditioning, preferring instead to experience NY weather as it really is (I do have a fan). I love when the benign warmth seeps blissfully into my bones. If I leave the city and return to London — which is warmer than Ireland, but not much — this is the thing that I’ll miss most of all.
Summer came late this year, and it was just last week that the heat truly began to bloom. I hopped around in light clothes without a jacket and cycled in the breathy sunlight towards the cafe where I do most of my work. When I called home, my mother told me what she’d been doing that day — sitting by the fire.
[Part of my series of what I love about New York. I’m going to make it to ten, at least.]