60 Degrees and Snowed Out: NYC Parks Make the Day

A high of almost 60 degrees did not stop New York City Department of Parks and Recreation from turning Central Park into a winter wonderland Saturday, January 27. From 11 to 3p.m. Central Park was filled with artificial snow, ski slopes, games and vendors. Winter Jam brought park goers from all boroughs and walks of life together for a snow filled, action packed day.

“The people are receiving it well, everyone is out together, a lot of diversity and people just enjoying Central park on a Saturday,” said Reggie Simpson, a Brooklyn Resident.

Partnered with Lake Placid and I SKI NY, Winter Jam brought the opportunity for city dwellers to experience the mountain life right here in Manhattan.

Matt Yaniro, a Ski instructor from Lake Placid explained, “It’s a good opportunity, especially for people who can’t make it to the mountain, or who have never even thought about trying it out, to put on ski’s and try it out. And who knows, maybe it will turn into something they truly love.”

While the lines were long and the slopes suffered on January’s warmest day, the opportunity to try on a pair of ski’s was well worth it for Harlem resident Lorisa Thomas and her 10-year-old son, Avion, who had never tried skiing. “It’s a really long wait, but it’s worth the wait. It’s an awesome idea, "Lorisa Thomas said. “Bring it mainland so more people can have exposure. I love it.”

Next to the slopes and ice games were New York’s Park Rangers, offering classes on mulch, fire making and wilderness survival skills for New York’s younger generation of park goers.

“The kids love it, even something like this simple craft, it’s a lot of fun. Kids get so happy and enthused about it. It’s good to see kids connect with nature,” said Park Ranger Rob Mastrianni.

But Winter Jam is but a small part of a larger effort by NYC Parks to provide interesting opportunities for people to learn, especially kids.

“There’s so much you can learn in the park and that’s what our job is as rangers, is to teach people, we are educators and teachers, but our classroom is outside in the park. With our curriculum we got them in the parks to learn, they don’t think of the parks as just a place to go play in the playground or play sports, it’s another place to discover and explore. You can learn about the trees, birds, different insects, and that’s basically our mission and job. It’s a fine job,” Mastrianni explained.