NEW YORK(CBSNewYork) — Just days before Christmas, it felt like spring had sprung in the Big Apple.

The high reached 71 degrees at 9:15 a.m. Sunday, CBS 2 Weather reported.

The previous record for the day was 63 degrees, set in 1998. Even after midnight Monday morning, it was a degree higher than that.

As early as 2 a.m. on Sunday, temperatures tied a record high at 63 degrees in Central Park, by 5 a.m. that record had been broken at 64 degrees, 1010 WINS reported.

Many were overjoyed at the temperatures.

“The weather! This is incredible! Short sleeves, no jackets — it’s an amazing place to be right now on December 22nd,” said Valerie Venturella of Carmel.

As CBS 2’s Steve Langford reported, Central Park was jammed with joggers clad in T-shirts and shorts Sunday afternoon. Kids were running around in September, and ice skaters trying to avoid puddles.

Zamboni operator Isaac Claxton was doing his best to keep up.

“Yes, there’s water on the ice,” he said.

Just outside the park, one shopper was dressed like he was at the ballpark. And a man selling scarves and hats was not exactly feeling the holiday spirit.

“They not buying like yesterday, or last week was real cold,” said vendor Pedro Delgadillo. “We was, like, doing like much better than today.”

But as the rarely-heard opening bars to Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas” remind us, Christmas still happens in Beverly Hills, when “the sun is shining, the grass is green, (and) the orange and palm trees sway.” And with similar climes hitting New York, if only for one day, the holiday spirit remained as strong as ever.

Carolers were heard singing “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” in Central Park as busy shoppers made their way around Midtown.

“This is crazy,” said Christmas shopper Fred Mayer. “I’m wearing shorts in December. Who would have thought?”

Holiday music was also blaring at the Rockefeller Center skating rink where it was so warm that squeegee men had to follow skaters around to keep water from pooling.

“It is fantastic. We never expected this we are so lucky. This is the best,” Eric from Virginia told 1010 WINS’ Glenn Schuck.

And no one had to put on extra layers to jog in Prospect Park either.

“We’re getting a little cabin fever inside,” said Jen Goodman of Brooklyn. “This is amazing. I’m wearing short sleeves.”

But some suggest the wonderful winter weather gift might just be a lump of coal from the Grinch of global warming.

“Maybe it’s the end of the world,” said Justin Winslow of Prospect Heights. But he laughed while saying so.

And the warm blast wasn’t expected to stick around for long, as a high of 35 degrees has been predicted for Tuesday.

Meteorologist Dave Dombek called the weather pattern unusual, 1010 WINS reported. He attributed the balmy temperatures to warm air in southern states that has been pushed north by winds coming from an approaching storm system and cold front.


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