On my way to New York City this weekend - packing advice for COLD?
February 13, 2014 7:13 AM   Subscribe

Coming from London UK. Need to travel light - what must I bring to wear to deal with the cold and snow? I am familiar with winter - but what will I regret not taking if the current weather situation continues across next week?
posted by Hugobaron to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (22 answers total)
Best answer: By this weekend, it won't be snowing, and the roads should be largely plowed. Wear good waterproof boots in case you have to stomp through puddles or snow banks, have a good hat and warm gloves and coat, and you should be fine.
posted by Tomorrowful at 7:15 AM on February 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Proper boots - warm, waterproof, high enough for walking in massive puddles and snow piles, good soles for walking on ice. Also warm gloves, preferably 2 pairs to layer if it stays this cold and you're going to be outside a lot, a hat, and a scarf that can cover your face. And I'm sure you know you have to wear a warm coat...
posted by DestinationUnknown at 7:19 AM on February 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: +1 on waterproof boots. The cold is not too bad-- I've been wearing a normal winter coat, gloves, and hat, nothing out of the ordinary-- but waterproof boots have been a lifesaver over the past couple weeks.
posted by matcha action at 7:20 AM on February 13, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Seconding the waterproof boots, coat, and gloves.

Also, it'd be wiser to think in terms of dressing in layers rather than just "dressing warm". The frustration of many New Yorkers is that it may be cold outside, but a lot of business and apartment buildings overcompensate when it comes to heat - so much so that some people often have to OPEN WINDOWS in the middle of winter because it is just so bloody hot inside their apartment. So think more in terms of a lot of layers, so you can adjust.

Case in point - today I have on a button-down shirt, a cardigan, and an oversized scarf which I can also use as a wrap in a pinch if it gets cold. I can take the scarf off if I get hot, or use it as a wrap if I need the extra warmth. Or I can take the sweater off if I go into an especially warm place. If it were colder out I'd have worn a thin longsleeve shirt under my button-down. So I can move easily from my office (which is actually pretty comfortable) to the outdoors (with my coat, and my wrap done more securely about my neck) to a restaurant after work if I want (where I can adjust depending on their heat) to home easily.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:21 AM on February 13, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Every street corner in Manhattan is a challenge! Waterproof boots are a must, and with treads, too, as it's unexpectedly icy in patches everywhere. Also, I love a turtle, with all the walking we do, I like to protect my moneymaker, I mean, face -- it's been stinging windy.
posted by thinkpiece at 7:22 AM on February 13, 2014

Best answer: Bring what you would wear in London in December and January. There is no need to over prepare, you can buy extra clothing very easily (and inexpensively) in NYC. As mentioned, waterproof boots are nice because there tend to be big puddles of slush. That said, I have always just worn regular shoes.
posted by BabeTheBlueOX at 7:35 AM on February 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: You'll be fine, and many things will be cheaper in NYC anyhow.

That said, waterproof boots and long underwear are huge pluses.
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:56 AM on February 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks everyone - understood! I appreciate dry feet so thanks for the heads up...
posted by Hugobaron at 8:00 AM on February 13, 2014

Best answer: You can partly gauge this on how much you plan to be outside and walking around, though I do find that I walk around outside more in NYC than some other places. So, waterproof boots (or at least waterproof shoes with a good tread) that fit well would be a priority to bring or wear.

Wool socks. Warm coat of course, and bring one additional easily removable layer you can wear underneath the coat if needed, like a wool vest or sweater. Also, bring a good close fitting hat, insulated gloves and I would recommend also bringing a wool scarf, as you can also use it to protect your face if it is windy. Long underwear is nice, but you can probably get away with just wearing wool trousers, especially if you bring a coat, not just a jacket.

When I went to Maine (very cold there!) recently, I saved space in my suitcase by wearing most of my bulky warm outerwear for the trip. So, I wore the heavy ankle height boots and coat, and had the gloves and scarf stashed in the pockets of the coat. That left room in my small suitcase for other things. As others have said, it will be very easy to buy something additional to supplement what you bring with you if you are cold.
posted by gudrun at 8:01 AM on February 13, 2014

Best answer: As of this writing the forecast for next week looks like daytime highs ~ 28-30 F. But we have had an unusually cold winter with daytime highs between 7-16 F the last few weeks. Strongly recommend having a neck gaiter.
posted by mlis at 8:23 AM on February 13, 2014

Best answer: I'm just back from a holiday to NYC from London.

For walking around I wore, good waterproof shoes with grip, jeans, three layers on top and a coat. Then hat and gloves. And good socks. When the wind came up, scarf or something for my face would have been good. If you're down by the water or walking the bridges that gets cold very fast so bundle up for that.
posted by eyeofthetiger at 8:30 AM on February 13, 2014

Best answer: As everyone has said waterproof boots/shoes are a good idea. This Sunday is forecast to be the coldest day of the week with a low ~ 15F and a high in the upper 20s. Warming takes place after that and daytime highs should be in the lower 40s by Tuesday (which is about normal for late-February) and lower 50s by Friday. There is absolutely no chance that we will see highs in the teens. Tuesday is currently the only day for which rain is expected.
posted by plastic_animals at 8:47 AM on February 13, 2014

Best answer: It's a good idea to have mittens to put over gloves if you are going to be outside for any length of time without needing to use your fingers. Much warmer. Your face and your hands are the really susceptible bits.

it's going to be slightly warmer this weekend (nearly up to freezing point, I think!) which means yes, the snow and slush will be formidable.
posted by gaspode at 8:50 AM on February 13, 2014

Best answer: Note: While it makes sense to buy winter gear while here rather than carting it across the ocean, there is a snow boot shortage currently, so you may have trouble finding those.

LAYERS LAYERS LAYERS. The temperature change from side streets to blustery intersections, to subway platforms, to subway cars, to buildings is quite erratic. You need to be able to adjust your layers to cope with the varying temps (a good tote or messenger bag to stuff your layers in is also helpful). If you'll be doing a lot of walking outside, longjohns are a necessity. If you check your coat anywhere, don't check your hat/scarf/gloves with it, there's a >50% chance they will not be there when you go to claim your coat (due mostly to carelessness not theft).
posted by melissasaurus at 9:28 AM on February 13, 2014

Best answer: I left London for Princeton, NJ, last Sunday and will be off to New York tomorrow. I have found these boots to be absolute life-savers. Well, feet-savers. I wore them on the plane and got odd looks, but hey.
posted by bebrogued at 9:28 AM on February 13, 2014

Best answer: I'm from the UK. I live in New York. Anyone telling you to wear what you would wear in the UK at this time of year is wrong. You will be much happier in waterproof hiking-style boots or even legit snow boots.

Other than that, what your need for the cold depends on how much time you're likely to spend outside and your tolerance level. The forecast looks mildish and, as has been said elsewhere, buildings and subway trains can be uncomfortably warm. For what it's worth, I wear regular underwear, jeans, a shirt, a sweater, a wool coat, and a scarf. So don't go out on the town in a tshirt like you might in the UK, but don't go nuts and buy climbing gear.
posted by caek at 9:47 AM on February 13, 2014

Best answer: A wooly scarf and/or ear warmers. You can get these from guys on the street, but keep your ears and head warm!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 10:10 AM on February 13, 2014

Best answer: Pro tip: If it warms up, you need the boots even more, in order to ford the avenues and byways.
posted by thinkpiece at 11:52 AM on February 13, 2014

Best answer: As a corollary to the waterproof boots: extra socks. Waterproof boots often are merely water resistant and once your feet are wet, a pair of dry socks is a godsend.
posted by sciencegeek at 1:51 PM on February 13, 2014

Best answer: I live in Maine, am currently traveling in the American southwest in areas where it's warm during the day, colllld at night. Layering means - long-sleeved tshirt or turtleneck, wool sweater, fleece vest, windbreaker, jeans, wool socks, warm footwear, wool scarf, fleece hat (wool makes my forehead itch), gloves. Carry a backpack with dry socks, and to hold stuff as you peel off when you're too warm. Wool is warm, fleece is light and pretty warm and neither stops the wind, so you need something that will. There are many places in NYC to get tea or coffee to warm up. Have fun!
posted by theora55 at 2:26 PM on February 13, 2014

Best answer: If you need some help visualizing what we mean by slushy streets, take a look at the photos in this Gothamist entry. The language is over the top, but you can see how treacherous the crosswalks get when there's rain on top of snow and why waterproof boots are a must.
posted by oh yeah! at 4:31 PM on February 13, 2014

Response by poster: Thanks so much to all for the great advice. I am on my way west now.

With big ass boots.
posted by Hugobaron at 2:53 AM on February 14, 2014

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