NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — It may say Dec. 25 on the calendar but it sure doesn’t feel like it outside.
Residents woke up to record high temperatures across the region on Christmas Day, making this the warmest ever for New York City. The National Weather Service said temperature readings at Central Park reached 66 degrees at 12:31 a.m. Friday. The previous record was 64 degrees in 1982.
On Thursday, New Yorkers in shorts and t-shirts turned a winter morning into a summer day, embracing temperatures that soared into the 70s.
A noontime temperature in Central Park of 72 degrees Thursday crushed the previous record of 63 degrees, set in 1996. National Weather Service meteorologist Carlie Buccola said 72 degrees was only 3 degrees cooler than it was on July Fourth.
Buccola attributed the warmth to a jet stream keeping cooler temperatures in Canada.
A line stretched out the door in the late afternoon at a frozen yogurt shop on the Upper East Side.
It was hardly traditional Christmas Eve fare, but “the weather made my friend want to get it,” Talia Raven said as she waited in line.
“I keep feeling like I’m forgetting something — my coat,” she said.
Dozens of people in shorts and tank tops went running in Prospect Park.
Rupert Warwick, of Cornwall in the United Kingdom, said the temperatures were similar to what he was used to in December in the southwest of England.
“I came here with my daughter expecting to have that typical New York Christmas, which would be cold, snow, frosty weather,” he said.
For Gavin, visiting New York City from Singapore, Christmas is typically warmer than this.
“It’s hot and humid. Hot and humid,” he told 1010 WINS’ Roger Stern.
Instead of chestnuts on an open fire, people are enjoying the warm weather on the beach in New Jersey.
As CBS2’s Meg Baker reported, the boardwalk in Belmar has been busy all morning with people walking and jogging with very few layers on.
No shirt shirt, no shoes — no problem this Christmas in Belmar as surfers rode waves, some without full wetsuits because it’s so warm out.
“(Baker: How was the water?) I wasn’t wearing gloves today so, it was like 52 degrees I think,” said one surfer.
While some surfed, others played a game of volleyball.
“No better way to start Christmas Day off than with my new volleyball that I got for Christmas and my buddies,” said one man.
“This is not a normal Christmas,” said one volleyball player on the beach. “Normally I’d still be sleeping or wrapping some last-minute presents. But this is probably the best Christmas present I’m gonna have.”
Eddie Cologie started off his Christmas like he starts most summer weekends — with flip flops, shorts and cigar in hand
“My mother would be turning over in her grave if she saw what I was wearing on Christmas Day,” Cologie said.
Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty rode his bike over to the boardwalk to chat.
“I’ve been out riding my bike with my daughters all morning — their new Christmas gifts,” he said.
Doherty said the warm weather holiday is a gift to the local economy too, bringing more people outside to the boardwalk at to the shore.
“Whenever there is more people coming to our town, it’s always good for our small businesses,” he said.
Warmer-than-usual temperatures are projected to extend through January. For December, average temperatures just over 50 degrees are about 12 degrees above normal.
At the weather service in Upton, New York, Buccola recalled the chilly temperatures of the past two winters, when numerous snowstorms swept across the state from December through February.
“It’s kind of like this is our little gift for the last two winters,” she said.
Christmas evening on the Highline in Chelsea felt like an balmy spring evening, with flowers in bloom along the elevated park.
“It’s so nice out you can take a walk, where you would normally not want to be walking in winter on Christmas,” John Kurzynowski, of Brooklyn, told CBS2’s Valerie Castro reported.
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