By Alex P. Vidal
“The most amazing thing about the winter is that even a frozen world may be perceived as a heaven!” ― Mehmet Murat ildan
NEW Yorkers felt frozen over Christmas weekend as a sprawling storm emptied airports and shut down major highways even as death toll reportedly rose to 17 as of this writing.
Tens of thousands of residents remained without electricity as of December 25 (US time) evening. We’re lucky in the Big Apple electricity wasn’t interrupted and our portable heater served us well for straight 72 hours.
I monitored the storm’s wrath on news channels where I heard New York Governor Cathy Hochul describe the storm as “worst of the worst.”
Since December 23 (Friday), I “sought refuge” in the Lower Manhattan and although we certainly had to bundle up, the temperatures recorded over the weekend still reportedly were far from the coldest ever in New York City.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul and Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz reported 12 deaths in Erie County that ranged from people ages 26 to 93 during a press conference December 25 (Sunday) evening. Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia told the Buffalo News later on another four deaths were confirmed in the city to bring that total to 10 fatalities.
New York City did experience record cold temperatures on Christmas Eve but it only hit 16 degrees Fahrenheit at John F. Kennedy (JFK) Airport, Laguardia Airport (LGA), Islip and Bridgeport, according to the National Weather Service (NWS) as reported by PIX11.
In Newark, NWS said, it only reached 17 Fahrenheit. Those were all record low maximum temps for Dec. 24. In Central Park, the high was 15 Fahrenheit.
The coldest day ever in Central Park, New York City was on Feb. 9, 1934, according to the NWS. On that day, a temperature of -15 degrees Fahrenheit was recorded.
That February was actually the coldest month ever in New York City, with an average of 19 degrees Fahrenheit in Central Park over the course of the month.
Outside of the five boroughs, temperatures have gotten even colder in New York. On Feb. 18, 1979, the National Weather Service station in Old Forge, recorded a temperature -52 Fahrenheit.
Highs in the 20s and wind chills in the teens are forecast for the area around New York City for Christmas Day. Conditions were expected to be a bit warmer December 26 with more seasonable temperatures returning December 27.
A 27-year-old man was also killed in neighboring Niagara County after he was overcome by carbon monoxide from snow blocking his furnace, WGRZ reported.
The number of storm-related deaths could keep reportedly growing.
I found this very interesting piece, a Merry Christmas greeting in different languages, in an email (not the social media) message sent by a friend in 2011:
Portuguese – Feliz Natal!
French – Joyeux Noël
Italian – Buon Natale!
Arabic – I’d Miilad said oua sana saida
Chinese – (Mandarin) Kung His Hsin Nien bing Chu Shen Tan
Croatian – Sretan Bozic
Danish – Glædelig Jul
Dutch – Vrolijk Kerstfeest
Filipino – Maligayang Pasko
Finnish – Hyvaa joulua
German – Fröhliche Weihnachten
Greek: Kala Christouyenna!
Indonesian – Selamat Hari Natal
Irish – Nollaig Shona Dhuit
Japanese – Shinnen omedeto. Kurisumasu Omedeto
Korean – Sung Tan Chuk Ha
Maltese: IL-Milied It-tajjeb
Russian – Pozdravlyenie s Rozjdyestvom i s Novym Godom!
Swedish – God Jul
Samoan: La Maunia Le Kilisimasi Ma Le Tausaga Fou
Urdu – Naya Saal Mubarak Ho
Welsh – Nadolig Llawentworthy
From Christina Engela: “Death was right on time. He staggered backward on legs of ether. He could see it—a dark shadowy shape. His stomach turned with terror. What remained of the bridge lighting seemed to be fading away. It was there—not the frightful illusions the others had seen—but the thing itself, unmasking itself to its last victim. Somehow the reality was much more frightening. It advanced on him, the rhythmic click of Death. If he were to start screaming now, he knew he would go irretrievably mad. Instinct had left him cold, frozen.”
(PG 13) Super-lover Casanova (1725-1798) used condoms to protect himself from disease and to avoid getting his lovers pregnant. They were made from animal guts and tied in place with a pink ribbon. Yes, condoms existed even before Jose Rizal was born.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo.—Ed)