The Windiest Spot in New York: Downtown Brooklyn?

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NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 24: People bundled up against the cold stand on a sidewalk in Manhattan on January 24, 2013 in New York City. Polar air settled in over the northwest U.S. Wednesday, with temperatures in the teens and twenties. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

A few years ago, during a cold snap much like this one, Daily Intelligencer asked readers to suggest the windiest (and therefore coldest) spot in New York. They did, and the 96 suggestions were as varied as our readership: The West Side Highway and the stretch of Madison Avenue between 89th and 90th streets in particular got lots of mentions, but suggestions came in for everywhere from Long Island City to Battery Park. On Thursday, though, the New York Times followed some amateur meteorologists who believe the coldest spot in town is the intersection of Court and Montague streets in Downtown Brooklyn, an area suggested by only one of our readers. One of them, author Robert Sullivan, posits that it's a "wind vortex."

"I think of wind in terms of water, and I think of Cadman Plaza as a place where there’s whitewater," Mr. Sullivan said. "We have this wind coming off the East River, and Robert Moses got rid of Walt Whitman’s neighborhood of crannied streets, and what was left was a steppe. And the wind smacks against Borough Hall. If you watch the trash blowing around, it circles like something in Fantasia."

Of course on a day like this, wherever you're standing probably feels like the coldest place in New York, sometimes even if it's inside. According to the New York Daily News, the city received 2,850 complaints about heat in its buildings on Wednesday, when the temperature hovered around 14 degrees, compared with 293 on Sunday, when it averaged 43 degrees. At least in the wind vortex you can get warm chasing down your hat.