By Sarah Tan
MANHATTAN — Let it snow!
The white stuff began falling overnight as part of the 3 to 5 inches expected to blanket the Big Apple during the morning and early afternoon, according to the National Weather Service.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg spoke about the snowstorm at a press conference Saturday morning, urging New Yorkers to call or text 311 with any issues related to the weather and plowing of streets.
“Enjoy the outdoors,” Bloomberg said, “but it’s slippery. Help your neighbor.”
The mayor added that the city has nearly 1,500 snowplows at the ready, noting the plows aren’t usually deployed until about 2 inches have accumulated.
The snowfall was accompanied by wind and chilly morning temperatures, with an expected high of just 33 degrees Saturday, according to AccuWeather.
It is forecast to drop to a frigid low of 23 degrees at night, with a high of 37 and sun expected Sunday.
Forecasters said the snow will be replaced by sleet after about noon Saturday, with the conditions easing through the afternoon and evening.
Many on the Upper West side expressed delight at the snow — even those who had to shovel it.
Fernando Ruiz was clearing a sidewalk on West 109th Street Saturday morning, but admitted he still enjoyed the winter flakes.
“Well somehow I'm happy,” Ruiz, 55, said. “We were all prepared, I thought it would be a horrible winter since it snowed so early.”
Rashad Williams, 26, a recent California transplant, said the snow caught him off guard this morning when he went out to get coffee.
“I wasn't expecting it at all — I'm from California, and this is a lot of snow,” he said. “I've lived here before, though, and it usually started snowing in November, so maybe I thought it wasn't going to snow this year or something.”
However, the West Coast native admitted that he likes seeing the snow, and that he was hoping for even more once he got into warmer clothes.
Native New Yorkers felt like they had been kept waiting for the white stuff.
“I'm not surprised by the snow today, I've been wishing for it!” said Jimmy Johnson, 47. “In my lifetime, there's always been a weird winter. It's like every 10 years or so, it's cyclical.”
Ilya Kofman, 41, who came out to Riverside Park to sled with his sons, said that they were also happy it had finally snowed.
“We're thrilled, we're just sad it's so late in the season,” Kofman said. “This is their favorite hill, we've been coming here for 8 years. We're hoping by the end of the day it'll get more snow. It needs more ice for it to be perfect.”
Jill Davis, 44, was also out enjoying the weather and sledding in Riverside Park with her son.
“I'm delighted, we love the snow,” she said. “It almost felt like it wasn't going to happen this year.”
Riverside Park is one of a number of parks across the city that will be taking part in “Snow Day” activities hosted by the Parks Department.
The events will take place at Riverside Park in Manhattan, Hunts Point Recreation Center in the Bronx, Prospect Park in Brooklyn and Juniper Valley Park in Queens. Sleds will be available for use, and there will be music, hot chocolate, and snowman and snow angel contests from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m.