March 2, 2015

Today New York City unfroze. You probably noticed. I’ve been away for a good part of 2015; when I got back home at the beginning of February, the terribleness of the winter was already a point of conversation. By last week it had become philosophical news.

There were icebreakers on the Hudson and some spectacular photography like this AP shot:

But the rivers never completely froze over. I’m blue from cold, but a part of me wants to see that. I want to walk along Riverside Park, look out towards Jersey, and get an eyeful of this:

Or some version of it. And just the term: ice bridge. It has happened plenty of times, much more often on the shallower East River than on the Hudson. The increased salinity and big ships (and the relative warmth?) make it almost impossible these days.

Here, for perspective, is a rundown of all the major times you could walk between Brooklyn and Manhattan on solid ice, as reported by the New York Times since its founding.







For even more perspective, that last ice bridge was from the East Coast blizzard of 1888, the only one in American history called “Great.” The snowdrifts in Manhattan reached 30 feet.

But enough of winter. We’ve unfrozen. It’s March, the month of my favorite New York City weather phenomenon, one without a name. It’s the morning you walk out and notice that, although certain trees have been quietly budding for days, now is the precise moment when there is a green tinge to the general air. My money’s on March 29.