We hope you've stocked up on bread and milk, because the much-anticipated first snowstorm of the pandemic era has begun. As predicted, atmospheric water vapor that has frozen into ice crystals have started falling in the form of light white flakes and sticking to the sidewalks, buildings and streets of New York City. It doesn't get more real than this folks.

Papa, where did the Empire State Building go?

So how much snow are we going to end up getting? According to the NWS forecast, there will be accumulations of 8 to 14 inches in the New York City area. This could end up being the largest snowstorm in NYC in December in a decade. They add as of 4:21 p.m., "Roads are quickly becoming icy out there as the snow picks up in intensity. Use extra caution if you must travel this evening. Snowfall rates will increase through the evening."

This week, the city decreed that all outdoor dining is suspended in roadways and next to curbs until at least Thursday evening, but sidewalk dining is strongly discouraged as well. However, they were NOT required to remove their outdoor structures if that was too difficult to do.

Tomoe

In lower Manhattan, restaurants were starting to prepare for the storm, but acknowledged that there's only so much they can dismantle now. "We went out and bought 6,000 pounds of sand [to weigh down the barriers] this summer to follow the city guidelines, we can't move this thing now," one East Village restaurant told Gothamist.

Another restaurant worker at Carbone in Greenwich Village didn't think they were going to dismantle their dining room, but said, "I pity the fool who would have to take this down. It's just nuts and bolts, but it's a LOT of nuts and bolts." 

Carbone

And over at Vic's on Great Jones Street, workers were installing a corrugated plastic roof to their curbside dining room so the snow would slide off more easily.  

Vic's

Regular New Yorkers have been preparing in their own ways as well. Annie Barrow, the owner of Alphabet City Wine Co, said the store had seen a spike in sales ahead of the storm. “People are stocking up!” Barrow told Gothamist. “Mostly whiskey and red wine. Whatever’s warming.”

Find out everything you've ever wanted to know but were too afraid to ask about this week's snowstorm here; check out our three tips for ordering takeout during hazardous weather here. And check back in this post for more updates tonight.