New York City had braced itself for up to 20 inches of snow on Tuesday and was put into a state of emergency in readiness for the late winter storm.
But despite schools being closed, shops being shut and flights being cancelled, only seven inches of snow was recorded in Central Park.
"Mother Nature is an unpredictable lady sometimes," said New York governor Andrew Cuomo.
Fears over the expected ferocity of the storm led to the first meeting between US President Donald Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Washington being delayed until Friday.
Even though the storm was not as bad as it expected, New York still remained in a state of emergency until midnight on Tuesday, due to high winds and icy conditions.
The city's Mayor, Bill de Blasio, warned New Yorkers: "Stay off the roads; stay off the sidewalks to the maximum extent possible."
The National Weather Service (NWS) told travellers to avoid any standing water or slush which they warned would re-freeze due to the freezing temperatures.
The United Nations headquarters closed for the day, and US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, tweeted: "A great day to binge watch The Americans" - a reference to the TV thriller about Russian spies embedded in US suburbia.
The hit Broadway show Hamilton refused to go dark due to the storm, and sold off cancelled tickets to eager theatre goers happy to brave the snow.
Above ground, the subway was restored by early evening and schools reopened on Wednesday.
However, it was a different story in other parts of Northeast America, from Pennsylvania to Massachusetts, where the snowfall was much greater.
As much as 30 inches of snow fell in Damascus, Pennsylvania, and more than a foot fell in Worcester, Massachusetts.
More than 200,000 homes in the Northeast lost power due to the extreme weather conditions.
Storm Stella is expected to hit Britain at the end of the week, with the northwest of England forecast to bear the brunt of the strong wind and rain.