The question on everybody’s chapped lips amid the ongoing snowstorm battering New York City is this: Do you think Staten Island Chuck is gonna see its shadow Tuesday morning?
And not even a winter storm will prevent the city’s official prognosticating rodent from making its annual prediction over whether the five boroughs can expect an early spring, or six more weeks of winter misery.
The Staten Island Zoo will hold a virtual Groundhog Day celebration on Tuesday morning, broadcast on its Facebook page beginning at 7:45 a.m. on Feb. 2. Though it’s usually as grand a spectacle as the Groundhog Day wakeup call for Chuck’s more famous Pennsylvania pal, Punxsutawney Phil, the Staten Island celebration has been moved to a virtual event only due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Even with the blizzard, the zoo reported on its Facebook page that the virtual festivities will go on — as zookeepers and dignitaries will pull Chuck from its comfy home and interpret the prediction from its Groundhog-ese.
Staten Island Chuck will make its prediction at exactly 8 a.m. during the virtual broadcast, sponsored by Investors Bank. Last year, Chuck said New York City would get an early spring, and he was sort of correct; the 2019-20 winter turned out to be one of the mildest and least snowy seasons on record in New York City.
Groundhog Day grew out of a Pennsylvania Dutch legend which suggested that if a groundhog sees its shadow and runs back into a hole on Feb. 2, the area could expect six more weeks of winter. However, if the groundhog doesn’t see its shadow, it likely means that spring weather would arrive earlier than normal.
Punxsutawney Phil, named for the northwestern Pennsylvania town where it resides at Gobbler’s Knob, has the most famous Groundhog Day celebration in the country. It inspired the 1993 comedy “Groundhog Day,” starring Bill Murray as a weatherman caught in a crazy time warp in which he repeatedly relives the holiday.