The only thing that isn’t frozen in Albany is the budget.
Temperatures plummeted in the Capitol Region this week with highs barely cresting above 10 degrees and lows bottoming out at one degree Fahrenheit. Legislators are reaching for their thermal gloves, scarves, and overcoats to combat the frigid conditions, which are starting to bother them.
“The Albany cold has gotten the better of me and given me a bug of some sort,” said state Sen. Daniel Squadron. “It was inevitable.”
State Sen. Michael Gianaris said he would try to “stay indoors as much as possible and use layers,” and state Sen. Jose Peralta found himself rushing into buildings as quickly as possible. Freshman Assemblyman Joe Borelli had to borrow a pair of gloves from the University Club to prevent frostbite.
“I definitely need to invest in some type of head gear,” he said. “It was brutally cold, and I was in Poughkeepsie for four years in college. I can’t remember it being this cold.”
Fortunately, many governmental buildings are connected through a series of underground tunnels so public sector workers can park their car in a garage, dash into the Concourse, and pop up into their offices like prairie dogs. But that’s cold comfort – pardon the pun – for people who have to be outside.
Assemblyman Joe Lentol, who has served in the legislature since 1972 when the temperature once dropped to -16 degrees Fahrenheit, suggested to “keep your head down and run.”
“I don’t own a pair of long johns but I do have a scarf, a wounded warriors cap, a warm pair of insulated gloves and a warm overcoat – that should do the trick for anybody,” he said, adding. “I don’t think it’s a good idea to drink coffee outside. I doubt the coffee would freeze if it were hot, but I would think it would be difficult to have a drink in cold weather.”
That sounds like a wager to us. So we put a hot cup of coffee on a windowsill at the Capitol building on Thursday afternoon and checked how long it would take to freeze solid.
The result? Longer than we expected. It took two hours and 45 minutes to turn a cup of coffee into a frozen cylinder, or about the time it takes to watch “Zero Dark Thirty.”
The legislature’s newest member, state Sen. Cecilia Tkaczyk, has some different advice for coping during a cold snap – try to get used to it.
“You have to enjoy being outside when it’s cold and do some physical activities,” she said. “I like to ski. If you don’t enjoy doing something outside in the cold, you’ll be pretty miserable.”
See you on the slopes.