New York in particular should be prepared for what meteorologists have somehow settled on calling a "bomb cyclone," coming in throughout the East Coast this evening and Thursday morning. As of 5pm, New Jersey, Long Island, South Carolina, and even Florida have all gotten snow. Boston is also expected to get about a foot of snow.
The term "bomb cyclone" refers to the storm's sudden drop in atmospheric pressure, which is rare. According to a detailed description of the incoming weather from Mashable, this sort of storm hasn't been common in at least the last 30 years.
Slow, sleet, and freezing rain are already under way up and down the coast, along with tons of flight cancellations and school closings (congratulations, school kids of New York).
Obviously, be smart about the storm. Bundle up, stay balanced, and call 311 (or your city's equivalent) if you see anyone stranded outside. After it's all over and you've warmed up, try to give a little back to the parts of your community less prepared for these events. This winter isn't likely to let up, and it's easier to help out if you've already made yourself a regular at places that need you.