Sushmita Roy

New Yorkers appear to be happier in the spring

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Photographer: Tarishi Gupta (


As the temperature goes up, Brooklyn Bridge spreads its warmth in welcoming the locals and the tourists. After all, what better place can one think of, to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and glare at the sunset over the magnificent skyline?
The weekend marked the beginning of spring, whether the weather agrees or not, and even though New Yorkers might not have their jackets off, they do wear one thing they are infamous for – a wider smile.
And Patricia Dos Santos cannot agree more. Hanging out with her girlfriends at the bridge, she admits that she gets more excited as spring sets is, “As soon as spring arrives, I am down for everything; I am as happy as happy can be. You can spot guys with shirts off- on their bikes- with their bellies hanging out and that is so exciting and funny.”
Santos confirms that she becomes bubblier as the temperature rises and quite the contrary as fall begins to set in, “In the winter, people are just trying to get things done more quickly. They just want to stay in.”
So what makes you happier in the spring than in the winter? What is this phenomenon, if not SAD (quite literally)?
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, the winter does bring with itself a series of problems that could lead to a type of depression and bipolarity. The disorder called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) comes and goes with the seasons, typically starting in the late fall and early winter and going away during the spring and summer. The report suggests that people who suffer with this disorder are incapable of regulating their serotonin (hormone affecting emotions) and melatonin (hormone affecting sleep) levels, leaving them more lethargic and depressed with lower levels of energy during the fall and winter seasons.
“I definitely feel lazier in the fall,” says Yenssy Bernasdez while walking down the bridge and sharing a hearty laugh with her friends. “In the spring, people get out to get in shape and everything feels a lot more cheerful. I definitely hang out more with my friends. In the winters we stay in and watch movies and drink beer, but in the spring we like to get out and explore.”
A study recorded with the National Center of Biotechnology Information suggests that the mean prevalence of SAD is two times higher in North America compared to Europe. This makes New Yorkers more prone to seasonal affective mood changes resulting in crankier moods in the fall.
Pritpal Singh, a student at Pace University, agrees that everything to him seems fresher in the spring, “In the winters, it just feel like people are more in a rush, like they are running to catch something. Yes, I am happier in the spring, except Mondays obviously when I have early morning class.”
But Pritpal may or may not agree with how happy New Yorkers really are, “There could be a difference, it may be better in the spring if I think about it now, but New Yorkers are generally neither happy nor friendly,” he says while turning his back towards the bridge, and rejecting all that it has to offer.

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