News & Politics

New Yorkers, Be Thankful: This Will Be Just Our Second #Snowsgiving Since 1938

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You probably didn’t expect to spend Thanksgiving eve in snarled traffic or trudging through ankle-deep snow on your evening commute, but meteorologists say that’s just your luck this year.

According to forecasters, a coastal storm will bring a blend of snow and rain to the city today (have you been outside? It’s already here). The sloppy conditions are expected to complicate travel plans for New Yorkers who plan on escaping for the holiday. This will be just the second time since 1938 that New Yorkers have celebrated a white Thanksgiving. The first one, on November 23, 1989, broke Thanksgiving snowfall records, dumping 4.7 inches of snow on Central Park, according to a New York Times report from that year.

Thanksgiving ’89’s snowfall did a lot of damage, too: Horse races were canceled, football games were postponed (the horror!), airport traffic was slowed, and one inflatable Bugs Bunny wound up deflating with a hole in its side during a gusty Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade appearance.

But tough-as-nails New Yorkers and vigilant tourists still braved the elements for the parade. One Phoenix man went as far as wearing plastic trash bags between his socks to keep his feet warm.

Barbara Alper, a professional photographer who experienced the record snowfall in 1989, remembers how “extremely” cold it was. Mostly, she felt bad for people taking part in the Macy’s parade. “A lot of them are almost naked,” she says today. “It’s torture, but they do it anyway.” The participants’ resilience inspired her to capture four band members keeping warm underneath layers and plastic raincoats.

The snowfall beat the previous record, which was set on the exact same day 92 years earlier, when 2.3 inches of snow fell in the city.

Unlike the holiday in 1989, which was celebrated amid chilly 20-degree temperatures, this year, thermometers aren’t expected to dip below the 30s. But all five boroughs in the city are expected to experience at least some snow, according to the National Weather Service.

Email the author: icnwoye@villagevoice.com
Follow on Twitter: @irenecnwoye

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