Rockettes stand in their iconic kickline at Radio City during their Christmas Spectacular

Watching the Rockettes Christmas show - also free with the Stern CACE program.

As an international student from a tropical climate, a “white Christmas” seemed exclusive to movies and TV. So, moving to New York City for college, the winter seemed incredibly daunting, and I wasn’t sure what to expect. If this sounds like you–not to worry! Through trial and error, I have come up with a few tips and tricks for your first semester at NYU and how to survive a New York City winter!

1. Get Yourself Winter Ready

The key to enjoying your first NYC winter is having the proper gear. This seems like a basic tip, but this means investing in lots of warm clothing, not just a good coat! Everyone tells you to buy a coat, which I did, but I truly did not know how to layer during my first winter. So, not just a coat, but a hat, gloves, and boots to protect you from unforgiving elements. Earmuffs, scarves, and wool socks for good measure – listen to your mom; she knows what she’s talking about.

Or, you can test your tolerance and be that person who can walk around in the snow in a T-shirt and shorts!


Kitan makes a snow angel
Attempting to make my first snow angel! And nicely bundled up in my new winter gear.
2. Let the Subway be your BFF

Walking around the city sounds like a great idea, but trust us, you’ll want to use the subway when the weather takes a turn. It’s cheap, fast, and can get you anywhere you need to go. Plus, it’s a great way to stay warm and cozy.

3. Find Your Favorite Cozy Study Spot

The winter weather can make it hard to focus and get stuff done. But, have no fear. Plenty of cozy cafes and libraries around the city offer a warm and inviting atmosphere. Perfect places to study, work on projects or chill during winter. Some of my favorite spots on campus are Kimmel 7th-floor and the Stern 4th-floor lounge, and off-campus I love going to Pause Cafe in the Lower East Side.


A student checks their phone while a french press sits with coffee on a cafe table
My friends and I warming up with some tea at a local café
4. Embrace Winter Fun

To me, this is the most important one! It’s easy to become a hermit in the winter and snuggle under your blankets till the spring. But just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean the fun has to stop. NYC has many outdoor ice-skating rinks and ski slopes where you can enjoy winter sports and activities. Get outside, get active, and have a blast in the winter weather!

Two students strut across a snowy crosswalk
Enjoying one of my first cold and snowy days in the city!
Bryant Park Ice skating rink
Ice skating in Bryant Park - free with NYU!

In conclusion, surviving and thriving during your first NYC winter is about being prepared and taking advantage of all the city has to offer. So, bundle up, embrace the chill, and enjoy your first winter in the Big Apple!


PS: Winter lasts a long time, I thought the sun would come out by February, but be prepared to be bundled up till April!

Rockettes stand in their iconic kickline at Radio City during their Christmas Spectacular
Watching the Rockettes Christmas show - also free with the Stern CACE program.

Kitan (she/her) is a senior at the Stern School of Business, concentrating in Finance and Data Science with a minor in the Business of Entertainment, Media, and Tech. Born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria, she compares the hustle and bustle of New York City to her hometown. When not working as an Admissions Ambassador, she is involved on campus as the president of her Panhellenic sorority, Delta Phi Epsilon, and as the vice-president of Stern’s diversity initiative, SEAD. You can usually find her ordering a strawberry açai refresher at Starbucks, or at the purple couches on the 4th floor of the Stern building, updating her list of favourite restaurants in the city!