As a New Yorker (Rochester area), DON'T touch the windows! NY won't say anything about them being covered over with ice as long as you still have your outside mirrors.
I dusted as much of the top off before driving as I could, not because of any law, but because it is courteous to other drivers. But yes, there have been a few times I've just hopped in and let the wind clean it off (occasionally punching the soft-top from within to knock free the heavy stuff).
I've had a foot-and-a-half of heavy snow up there and the stays won't bend.
I will say, however, that the zippers quickly corroded from the road salt. The rear window especially, the zipper on the left side got so bad I could no longer remove the rear window. I just unzipped both sides upward and rolled the window up if I wanted to put the top down.
Never could find a decent product to protect the zippers.