My Week in ‘New York’: My Life As a Snowless Man

March 4, 2023:
De La Soul, the banality of TikTok trend stories, and the best dive in Brooklyn
A view of New York City during a foggy day after its biggest snowfall of the season on February 28, 2023.    Photo: Selcuk Acar/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Benjamin Hart is an associate editor at Intelligencer.
Never miss a story from your favorite editors. Subscribe now for unlimited access to everything New York.
It has been a relatively quiet news period — you know it’s slow when the Bidens’ matching dinner entrées spawn a mini news cycle — so this is an appropriate time to focus on one of my favorite subjects: the weather. (Our recently published etiquette guide noted that, despite its reputation as conversational filler, the weather is actually an excellent small-talk topic.)
For a lot of people, this winter, with its abundance of freakishly warm January and February days, has been a blessing. For me, it has been a bit of a bummer. The climate-change implications are obviously unsettling, but the whole thing also feels wrong. And I don’t think this is just the native New England masochist in me talking. Cold weather is crisp, bracing, invigorating. It imbues dark evenings with a sense of coziness, and it throws spring into sharp relief, making the first signs of warmth feel genuinely special. Yes, the Northeast winter does tend to drag on, but real seasonality is a beautiful thing, in my opinion. Its absence is keenly felt.
There has been a conspicuous lack of snow this year — a story line I’ve been tracking feverishly at Intelligencer all winter long. I was excited that we at least got a little wintry precipitation this week. But the flakes only lasted a few hours, then it was back to the same old 48-degree tedium. I hold out hope for a late-March snowstorm, and spring will be delightful — as it always is around here. But next year, I hope the universe restores at least some balance. Okay, rant over.
One Thing I Loved This Week
The baseball pitch clock. I hold a special place in my heart for baseball and have always appreciated its leisurely pace. But it has become grindingly slow in recent years. Now MLB has instituted time limits between pitches, and judging by the (sometimes wacky) results coming out of spring training, this simple change will make a sport struggling for cultural relevance much more watchable and fun. As Will Leitch put it, “The Baseball Clock Is Good.” Yes, yes it is.
One Thing I Did Not Love This Week
Endless TikTok trend stories. Lately, it feels like the observation “Hey, some people on TikTok are doing something!” is the basis of way too many articles. (Did I mention that the news has been a little slow?) Just this week, there were stories on TikTok financial advisors, women who chronicle their dating misadventures on TikTok, and what “Workplace TikTok” looks like during layoffs. Make it stop!
What I’m Listening to This Weekend
After many years of delay, De La Soul’s music, including the mold-breaking hip-hop classic 3 Feet High and Rising, is finally on streaming services. The group, with their sunny aesthetic, smart and playful lyrics, and sample-heavy beats (some of which weren’t technically legal, hence the decades of delay), were sui generis when they debuted — and basically still are. Their digital rebirth is bittersweet, considering the death of Trugoy the Dove last month, but the music remains great.
I Finally Got Around To
A Childhood: The Biography of a Place. I’d been meaning to read Harry Crews’s memoir, which chronicles his childhood in poverty-stricken Georgia in the 1930s and ’40s, for years. Digging into this book transports you to a U.S. that feels like another planet in some ways (the level of privation and physical precarity on his family’s farm is astonishing) and very familiar in others (optimism still flickers beneath all of the brutality). And Crews’s prose is just sparkling.
If You Only Read One Thing
In 2022, New York documented the lives of young Ukrainians as Russia invaded their country in one of my favorite recent issues of the magazine. A year later, several of our reporters caught up with some of those Ukrainians for this week’s Group Portrait. It’s mostly a photographic feature, but the capsule summaries of how the subjects’ lives have been upended, physically and emotionally, really got me.
New York’s Hottest Dive
Good lighting, solid soundtrack, friendly bartenders, and a steady stream of live music and comedy offerings in its backroom: Freddy’s Bar in South Park Slope is still terrific after all these years.
You Must Try …
Given my opinions on winter, it will come as no surprise that I enjoy a hearty Central European–style dinner. My girlfriend made this skillet chicken with mushrooms and caramelized onions last weekend, and it was pure comfort-food goodness.
Next Week in New York
Next week’s newsletter will be helmed by Chris Lee, a Vulture senior reporter who covers Hollywood and has recently written about labor and the VFX industry.

Categories: Lifestyle

Leave a Reply