By Ben Fractenberg and Patrick Hedlund
MANHATTAN — New Yorkers basked in balmy temperatures Tuesday to mark the first day of spring, but it was difficult to tell the difference between the new season and the winter it followed — the second warmest in city history.
Temperatures averaged 40.5 degrees from December through the end of February, making it New York’s second-warmest ever, according to the National Weather Service.
Additionally, last month was the warmest February in city history, with an average temperature of 40.9 degrees — 5.6 degrees above normal.
The mercury was expected to rise about 20 degrees above average through the end of this week, topping out at an expected 80 degrees on Thursday — 28 degrees above the normal temperature, according to AccuWeather.
The city's warm winter was second only to 2001-2002, when temperatures averaged 41.5 degrees.
Fans of the pleasant weather flocked to places like Washington Square Park to soak up the unseasonably high temperatures.
"This was the first winter I was like, 'I can do this,'" said Lauren Mayer, 25, who moved from Miami to Chicago five years ago, and then again to New York prior to last year's snowy winter. "I didn't have to pull out my long, ugly jacket."
Others lauded the mild weather, regardless of its causes.
"It's really important to enjoy global warming while it's here," said Eno Freedman, 19, a student at New York University. "The winters [in New York City] are so impossibly brutal that people are loving it."