Winter has returned in full force. Bodies have disappeared under puffy coats. Until the spring we shall all be shapeless blobs squishing ourselves together on trains. Everyone takes up more than one seat in the chill of the early year whether you keep your knees together or not. Winter in NYC means freezing on outside train platforms, your toes starting to hurt from the cold and then immediately needing to take off a layer as soon as you are on the train. There is no personality in winter. Everyone looks the same with their chins buried in the collars of their coats. Footwear differentiates the prepared from the uncaring from the jaded from the poor. Heavy work boots with steel toes. Flimsy sneakers. Hiking boots. Rag-bound feet. At times you can even pretend that you are in a Sci Fi movie and that the person nearby who you can’t see because their hood extends almost half a foot in front of their face is from another planet, but alien or not they are just as cold and tired and bitter with the MTA. People still talk and read books and play on their phones, but in the winter there is an increased dazed quietness as people hunker down and try to conserve their body heat and sanity. How many more dreary months? How many more commutes doubled in time because of “severe winter conditions” when it has not even started snowing or when they have already had a full twelve hours to clear the snow?
But the winter sunrise painting the skies over Brooklyn as we cross the bridge into Manhattan is always beautiful.