New Yorkers toughed out the coldest temperature for the day in more than a century with gusto — and their customary grit.
The city turned into a runway of unstylish clothing Tuesday, with one aim: to ward off the deep freeze exacerbated by wind gusts of over 40 mph.
In self-styled ways, denizens of the country’s biggest city braved the 4 degree morning temperature that set a record low, breaking the previous mark of 6 degrees in 1896.
In her 26 years working for the city sanitation department, “this was one of the worst days,” said Spunkiy Jon, taking a break in the cabin of a garbage truck waiting to drop off refuse at a Manhattan recycling plant by the Hudson River.
“It’s brutal out here,” she said facing the wind by the water, which made the spot even colder than the rest of the city.
While loading the truck, “your fingers freeze off after 3 minutes, your cheeks feel as if you’re going to get windburn and you work as quick as you can,” said the 58-year-old Brooklyn resident.
“I love this cold weather,” said a hatless Annie Allen as she walked her two golden Labradors, Yoyo and Luca, in Central Park. “I think the cold air, when it’s not wet, is good for the circulation.”
A native of subtropical southern China, the Manhattan resident said she grew up in weather that never got even close to the freeze in the nearly empty park.
Besides, said the 41-year-old stay-at-home mom, “I needed to get out of the house to get some fresh air.”
The air was more than fresh all morning, with degrees counted on the fingers of one hand.
Joseph Clement got up at 2 a.m. at his Staten Island home to start his 6 a.m. Manhattan shift on the coldest day he’s ever worked outdoors.
The 49-year-old Trinidad native geared up for the sub-freezing temperatures by creating layers of clothing. “I got tights, I got sweatpants, and I got insulated jeans.”
A scarf covered his mouth and nose under a woolen mask. An employee of a contractor revamping a roadway by the West Side Highway, his job was to direct bicyclists, pedestrians and motorists so they didn’t get hit by construction trucks.
He planned to take a hot shower when he got home. “But not right away,” he said, explaining that the body must first warm up at room temperature “because otherwise, you get sick.”