New York City rain

I am in New York on a rainy day. The rain isn’t heavy, but the wind renders the umbrella fairly useless—at times you can’t keep it up because of the gusts; when it does stay up, it simply doesn’t provide enough coverage since the rain is coming from different directions.

On a day like this at home we might put on a rain jacket before going out to walk the dogs, tend chickens, or whatever activities can’t be postponed. We don’t use an umbrella (unless the rain is torrential), and if we put on boots at all, they are very unfashionable garden boots, good for mud. Aside from constantly drying off dogs, we really don’t give weather like this much attention.

Not so for New Yorkers. Walking down West End Avenue this morning, I passed person after person (mostly women, but not all) in the high rubber boots that are de rigueur, long rain coats, and umbrellas. A New England fisherman in a Nor’easter wouldn’t have better coverage. Getting off the subway, I had to avoid the rapid popping of umbrellas that opened without regard to the safety of so many eyes.

What is it with New Yorkers and rain? I was born in Manhattan, but I don’t remember a hyper-sensitivity to rain as I grew up. So when did so many thousands of people get so worried about getting wet? This is what I wonder every time I am in New York in the rain. I have no answers, just a constant bemusement.

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