What Was It Like for Students on the Coldest Day of One of the Warmest Winters in Recent Memory?

Third-floor crosswalk view of blue sky, blustery cold. Picture by Kira Scott.

January has been the warmest month on record for many cities in the northeastern region, according to Accuweather, with the average temperature at 43.5 degrees Fahrenheit. Meteorologists said the cold wave originated from a mass of cold air from Greenland that migrated west to New England and New York. This cold air mass passed through quickly because there wasn’t anything blocking it in the atmosphere.

The abnormally warm winter has been perplexing and is one of the reasons the early February arctic blast that passed through the Tri-State Area Friday, February 3rd and Saturday, the 4th, surprised students interviewed for this article. Sara Macwan, a political science major with a minor in gender studies, wearing a puffer jacket, a scarf and boots, said she and a friend were so bundled up that they didn’t feel the wrath of the deep freeze.

It’s true that other Northeastern states experienced much colder weather than New York City. According to the New York Times, the core of the Arctic air mass that caused this frigid weather was mostly “over northern New England, but New Yorkers, too, were preparing for wind chill readings below zero.”

Said another student, Kyle Gutierrez, 18 : “Sometimes the wind was so bad that it felt like I was being pushed over.” The first-year student who hasn’t declared a major or a minor dorms at Hunters Brookdale campus on the lower east side.

It wasn’t cold in this area of the Hunter Library. Picture by Kira Scott

Just to go to the store to buy a bagel, he wore five layers of clothing on that frigid Saturday. The store was just as cold inside as it was outside. “I felt so bad for the people working there,” he said.

After canvassing the campus to learn about students cold wave experiences, it became clear to this reporter that those who chose to stay home rather than go to class were at peace with their decisions.

Said Zaria Jill, 22, a media studies major, who attended class Friday, February 3rd: “Even though I say I like the winter, that was just too cold!” At the time of her interview, she wore multiple layers, including a turtleneck, a sweater, leggings underneath her sweat pants, Ugg boots, a scarf, earmuffs and her “big old black jacket.”

She did leave her Bronx apartment to go to a supermarket but “regretted” going outside.

Unfortunately, not everyone had the luxury of retreating to the warmth of their homes during this time. In preparation for the weather, Mayor Eric Adams announced that a “code blue” would be in effect in shelters. According to the Coalition for the Homeless, this policy is imposed when the temperature is expected to be at or below freezing. Under code blue, shelters have to accept as many people as the building restrictions permit.

Some were willing to brave the cold in lite wear; others hooded up. Picture by Kira Scott


Kira Scott can be reached at kira.scott00@myhunter.cuny.edu