SOMERVILLE, NJ - A pop-up snow squall, single-digit wind chill temperatures and cheek-numbing winds this week accompanied the arrival of a pop-up igloo village on Division Street erected in the shadow of the borough's Christmas tree.


The calendar does say that Saturday, Dec. 21st is the first day of winter, which happens to be the day the igloos will be open to the public.

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Talk about timing.

Available for immediate occupancy, courtesy of the Downtown Somerville Alliance:

Five centrally-located single-story igloos, lightweight metal frame sheathed in heavy-duty clear plastic, supported by wooden platform covered in a layer of artificial turf, access through zipper door, electrical service, heated, decorated, furnished with padded chairs and tables offering a 360-degree view of storefronts and passers-by on Division Street, food and beverages available at several establishments within easy walking distance.

Creating the pop-up igloo village enables the DSA to leverage the popularity of Division Street through all four seasons, according to Natalie Pineiro, executive director of the DSA. In previous years, activity dwindled after Santa came to town to light the tree in early December. The igloos are expected to draw the lunch crowd to their cozy confines, as well as couples and families.

Beginning in the spring, extending through the summer months and into the fall harvest season, Division Street attracts out-of-town visitors, locals and 9-5 workers who are drawn to the pedestrian mall to sit at its brightly-colored tables in the shade of red umbrellas, sipping their coffee, enjoying lunch, with groups of friends absorbed by conversation, or solitary visitors absorbed by their laptops, tablets and cell phones. 

Pineiro is confident the family-friendly igloos will be just one more element that will contribute to the vitality of the pedestrian mall, a magnet for weekly art shows, live concerts, evening cinema on the big screen, ethnic fairs, beer and food festivals, a reception in May for "Girls' Night Out,"a Halloween "Spook-tacular" and other events during the spring, summer and autumn months.

The igloos are free and available on a first-come, first-served basis, with occupancy limited to one hour for each group of visitors, according to Pineiro. No reservations will be taken. Table games will be available in each igloo to keep visitors entertained.

A sign listing the rules is adjacent to the igloo nearest the Christmas tree.

Guests are welcome seven days a week through mid-March. Hours are Sunday-Wednesday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m., and Thursday-Saturday, 11 a.m.- 9 p.m.

There are a few rules to follow:

- No smoking allowed;

- Do not remove any furniture, items or games;

- Food and snacks are allowed but keep it clean and remove all garbage;

- Do not tamper with any electrical cords, lighting, etc.;

- Watch your step entering and exiting;

- To report any problems or broken items call (908) 524-0104 or email;