Yesterday was the first day of fall in New York. The air was crispy, the trees still wore their leaves, the people were partly bundled up – the peace of a different era was lingering in the atmosphere. When floating down the streets towards Prospect Park I had mixed feelings of both fear and sadness but also joy when looking forward to a new season and a fresh beginning.
Technically fall is supposed to start September 23 all around the Northern Hemisphere, and when I came back from my trip on the 18th, I was surprised at how chilly the City had gotten. However, we still had our share of repeated warm stretches in the past two weeks and last Friday I was out in a T-Shirt – just like back in May, the beginning of summer. Sunday was finally our last nice day, as we enjoyed warm rays of sun shining down on us and triggering thoughts of how this summer should never end.
When I woke up Monday morning and stepped out of my door, I was tempted to go back in and snag my hat from underneath the pile of winter clothes lying around in my closet. It was unexpectedly chilly! Today was indeed the first day since March during which I’ve worn my wool hat again. While last week I had still walked around in open sandals and flip flops, this week made me want to go look for those winter boots I haven’t touched in over six months. The extreme change of weather is so typical for this city.
This will officially be my second fall in the Big Apple. As I remember from last year, fall in New York never lasts long. It’s the same with spring. Those two seasons do not get enough attention here, weather-wise that is. They seem to be going on for only a month or one and a half and then either winter or summer marches in with its extreme temperatures. The two seasons I actually love the most in Germany for they symbolize action and change are sort of forgotten and left out over here. I guess you have to enjoy every single day of fall here to say you have experienced it. Because once you’ve finally acknowledged it has come around, that summer has secretly disappeared and that there will be nothing stopping the inevitable, once you’ve done all that it will already be winter. Typically this weather only stays for a short period of time. In less than six weeks it will most likely be freezing cold outside and time for a true winter jacket. Yes, it goes quick here, the turn to winter.
Another true problem aside from the length is the fact that no one knows how to dress during this season. Yesterday I saw a mixed group of people: The summerlies and the winterlies. The summerlies bravely shoved their feet into open-toed-shoes and flip flops, showed bare legs in short khakis and skirts, and only threw on a sweater, as it “was surely not that cold.” The winterlies bundled up in scarves, boots, and jackets almost as thick as winter coats while marching down the street. I’ve decided to go with a mix of both: A thin wool hat, a fall jacket (yes, I bought it in Germany), ballerinas, and long pants. Maybe I’ll be able to wear this outfit for another four weeks until it gets too cool.
Aside from all the aforementioned drawbacks, this season is one of the best. My hair is feeling the difference in humidity already and on dry days it is easily tamable (oh all those summer months that had made me desperate to fix these sticky strands of hair which stubbornly ignored all of my attempts to straighten them out). Also, the heat has not yet been turned on in our apartment, so my skin does not fear the dry air we have during winter times. Our office has already unpacked their heater and when we got in today it was irritably hot compared to the outside temperature. A forewarning to what I can expect in the next 5 months….
What I am afraid of the most during fall season is the awfully cold winter that will always follow it. Last year’s December was already packed with icy cold temperatures that I thought I’d never make it through January and February (as you can tell, I did, but to what degree?! Certainly not completely undamaged!). No more tanning at the beach, no more watching Salsa groups at Coney Island, no more enjoying drinks on an open rooftop, heck, no more rooftop parties on my own roof. How sad. Officially a bit less than 8 months until I can go for a swim again, at least in New York.
Back to the gist: Fall is truly awesome! It is just the right time to start with the habits you almost forgot about during the summer: Brunching is more fun insides and more justifiable during this type of weather. Bloody Marys taste better on a chill fall day. You can still linger outside without being annoyed by the cold wind blowing in your face. You can go for a stroll in the park and see how the leaves start to change. You can visit museums and not feel like you are missing out on the outdoor weather. The air is surprisingly fresh and the people are still peaceful enough to not annoy you. The grumpiness starts way later, so you still have hope that this fall might bring a different winter with it. You start considering different paths and rearranging your life. To me fall brings opportunities. New York has many to offer.
Now, let’s not talk about those 80 plus degrees Germany had on the weekend! Despicable! How could they have warmer weather than we do?!