Save Us, Winter in NYC

Illustration by Anaika Mehta ’27

As the last leaves surrender to the gentle tug of gravity, a hushed anticipation fills the air. 

Mother nature prepares to unveil its wintry masterpiece, a canvas adorned with the touch of snowfall. The world, wrapped in a quiet stillness, awaits the ballet of snowflakes pirouetting gracefully from the clouds. 

On Tuesday, Nov. 28, during a school fire drill, the student body was focused on one thing: the light snow trickling down on them. What seemed like an ordinary winter experience captivated the hearts of students and staff, creating a brief moment of unity amidst the chaos within the fire drill. The blasting sound of the fire alarm seemed to fade in the background as a shared awe overcame the hustle and bustle. 

Some students were asked to calm down as they jumped with glee. But why did the students share so much excitement? 

Last year, New York City experienced a drought of snow. It was the least snowy winter in over 150 years, with a recorded snowfall of less than three inches in Central Park. Central Park has now gone 653 days without a recorded inch of snowfall

Due to El Niño, an above-average sea surface temperature in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean, New York City will experience another rainy winter this year. However, there might be a few occasions for major snowfall

Sally P. ‘26 is enthusiastically looking forward to “seeing snow, since we didn’t have any last year.” Unfortunately, her wishes might not come true, as this winter, there might not be any. 

Even though there might not be a lot of snow this winter, there are still many meaningful ways to celebrate the advent of this chilly and enchanting time of the year.

Many classrooms around the school have started decorating by putting up festive lights and holiday decorations. Sammantha Farkas-Furniss’s door is covered with sticky decorations of Christmas trees, Santa, and menorahs, all reminding students of the upcoming holidays. 

Some students, however, have not been in the festive cheer of winter due to the prolonged and stressful period between Thanksgiving and winter break. This year, the first day of winter break is Dec. 23, a week later than students are used to. Despite this late start, there are still many things that stray beyond the life of school that welcome holiday cheer and should be commemorated. 

On Nov. 29, the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree celebrated its annual lighting ceremony with Kelly Clarkson hosting and performing. The Wall Street Christmas Tree also celebrated its annual lighting, with this year marking the tree’s 100th lighting. As a result, they went all out for their performances and hosted booths with warm apple cider and doughnuts to keep the watchers warm. However, Rockefeller Center has  something that Wall Street does not: an ice-skating rink with breathtaking views of 30-Rock, and many more iconic New York City landmarks. 

Another New York City tradition is The Winter Jazz Festival, a nine-day musical festival in early January that started in 2005. In various locations, more than 700 artists will perform over one wondrous week in various locations. 

Speaking of musical performances, another iconic winter New York City performance is the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall. The show’s dancing, music, and visual effects bring winter excitement and jolly spirit. 

Another attraction, within walking distance of both Grace Church’s campuses, is the Union Square Holiday Market. Hundreds of booths, filled with various treats, are lined up throughout Union Square. From hot chocolate to stuffed animals, the Holiday Market is home to eccentric items that make great holiday gifts. 

Another holiday market, slightly further away from Grace, is the Bryant Park Holiday Market. Similarly, the market is home to dozens of booths with extravagant treats. The Bryant Park Market also has a great variety of food stands. From warm, freshly baked apple cider doughnuts to doughnuts filled with Roquefort cheese, the market is clearly not shy to provide their shoppers with an extravagant plethora of flavors. 

Bryant Park is also home to another New York City ice skating rink, serving as a  great place to spend quality winter time with loved ones. 

After its two-year hiatus last year, the New York Botanical Gardens’ celebration of old-timey trains returned with the holiday train show. The MTA collaborates with the New York City Train Museum to display vintage holiday trains, painted in all different colors, with old cushioned seats and ceiling fans. This attraction will surely be a great place for photo opportunities and a sense of nostalgia. 

These experiences are even better when they are shared with someone you love. Antonia A. ‘27 says she looks forward t, “seeing my sister, who I haven’t seen in a while.” 

Winter makes Romy C. ‘25 “very happy.”  She is looking forward to “spending time with my mom’s family, who I see so often, that being apart from them feels sort of like I am out of place. I really love all my cousins and especially my grandpa and uncle, because they show me old movies, and introduce me to art that inspires me a lot.” …Holiday times bring us closer to our families and loved ones. 

Even though the weather might not be “wintery,” New York is prepared to make every winter magical. The city transforms into a dazzling spectacle of lights, with streets adorned with decorations. From the iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, to the New York Botanical Gardens, New York City is prepared to ensure its winter activities are spectacular. 

Cassie Ball ‘26, the author, is a staff writer for The Grace Gazette.