What to Do During a Heat Wave in New York

image courtesy of Timeout NY
image courtesy of Timeout NY

New York is currently experiencing one of its seasonal heat waves. Yes, those kinda days were you’d rather not leave your house but you somehow have to. Heat waves are defined by “3 or more days of 90 degrees Fahrenheit (30 Celsius) and above” (wiki). Well, there is also another way to define it: Melted make-up, puffy hair, and useless deodorant thanks to sticky shirts. The subways are blasting the AC full on while the underground stations are as air tight and humid as only can be at this time of the year. I made a point in finally installing my window unit after more than 2 weeks of constantly sweating indoors.

Now, summer in the North East of America might not be as bearable and dry as elsewhere in the country but it certainly still has its appeal. And during a constantly heated climate like this, the only thing you probably want to do is cool off somewhere close to a lot of water or wind. Preferably both. Luckily, there are several ways to keep your cool in a city as caged in and humid as New York. Let’s start with the most obvious ways:

Fire Island Beach
Fire Island Beach

1) Beaches
By now you should have figured that this is one of my favorite spots to hang out at. Unfortunately, due to the Sandy disaster, a few beaches have remained closed this season. Public funds never made it in time, therefore you will find the sparse sands we have to be heavily overpopulated.
Well, aside from Coney, which has always been way too crowded, no matter what year. The Far Rockaways in Queens have become more and more part of a hive for Hipsters and families. But nothing beats Far Rockaway Taco! Oh, and Riis Beach, which is an extension of the Rockaways but only accessible by bus, car, or bicycle. Just knocking out the subway in the equation seems to scare of a large amount of hordes. But yes, it still gets crowded.
Beach life so close to “home” is simply great because you don’t have to take a weekend trip somewhere and can see some really cool spots just by public transit. Now, if you’re seeking more of an adventure, I know that Montauk, Fire Island, and the Hamptons are also great for an extended trip. And of course the Jersey shores, but those are in another state.

2) Pools
Here you have a few options: Public and private. Public pools are easily accessible through this web site. McCarren Park in Williamsburg is well populated during the summer months thanks to the Hipster-area surrounding it. And I wouldn’t recommend Dumbo’s Pop Up Pool on weekends, either. My friend and I actually stopped by here last Sunday, ready to hop into the cold water. But we weren’t so eager after finding out that the wait would have taken us one hour or more. On top of this, it also limits its space to 60 people in 45 minute cycles. Why? I do not know!
Private pool parties are going on at the Gansevoort and of course the Standard Hotel. You can also just spend a few thousand dollars a year for a year-long pool membership at chic houses. But is it worth it? I’m not sure.

Lovely Prospect Park
Lovely Prospect Park

3) Parks

Prospect Park, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Central Park, Corona Park in Queen … The list is endless! Parks are actually a nice alternative, especially when they are shaded by lots of high trees. I’ve been spending the last few days in way too many parks but it has helped me bunches. Just having a quaint picnic or BBQ (in designated areas) helps to get the summer groove going and not feel melted in the open sun. It’s also a great option for larger groups (instead of having to fight for a spot on the beach you will have more room on the green grass) and special events, such as birthday parties. The plus side of parks is that you can also get your fitness going on. Plenty of people ride, jog, or run during this outdoorsy time of year.
While you don’t want to be in the sun too much when walking over there, iced drinks help in staying cool.

4) Stay inside

… and give Con Ed a reason to yank your electricity bill up 200 percent. If you can afford it. If not, other air conditioned rooms are also helpful. I’ve been seeking out public space lately, such as libraries or museums. Or simple stores without splurging too much and wasting money.

So, in conclusion, this is a pretty sweet city to be in when summer comes around. Adding to another reason why I really love NY: Even though you might have to travel a bit, at least you have great options to get outside of the blistering hot streets surrounded by encaging sky scrapers. My friend in Paris is constantly complaining about how public pools are grossly overpopulated and no other option seems available. Even London appears to be a good 2 hours away from the coast. I guess Berlin has a few man-made lakes. But this city has all combined in one spot! High five to that!

Oh, and wherever you decide to go, don’t forget your sun screen!


4 thoughts on “What to Do During a Heat Wave in New York

  1. There has been a heat wave here too which especially sucks considering the lack of AC. I miss having a beach near by. If this keeps up I’ll have to see what options there are here for staying cool.

      • Haha that would give me something to blog about if I can find something. Fortunately it’s rained a bit over the last few days so it cooled down to being more comfortable.

        I know right. I have seen standing air conditioners but they’re ridiculously expensive, and also verboten in air force housing so I just try to pretend it doesn’t exist. Fortunately this place has a ceiling fan in the living room and a balcony so I keep the door open with a fan in front of it. So it’s not too bad most days.

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