Outdoor Workers Brave the Elements During Second Day of Record Highs
By Ben Fractenberg
MANHATTAN — Thousands of workers had to hit the streets Wednesday to do the jobs that keep the city running, despite warnings from officials to stay indoors and out of the record-setting heat.
“I was sweating all day. You lose a lot of weight doing this job,” said 24-year-old Matt Sevil, who pedals a pedicab through Central Park.
Sevil said he burns 3,000 calories a day in the course of continuously riding a five-mile path around the park.
William Talentino, 37, lugged boxes of Smart Water from his delivery truck to a Hell’s Kitchen bodega.
“My head’s getting water blisters from the sun,” said Talentino, who has been delivering beverages to stores around the city.
Talentino said he delivered 800 cases Tuesday over a 12-hour shift. Wednesday he expected to go through another 640.
Cecelia Garza, 27, stood on Ninth Avenue in Hell’s Kitchen around noon trying to raise money for an animal rights organization.
“I’ve been doing this for a year,” said Talentino. “I’ve worked through blizzards; I’ve worked through heat waves.”
A group of five construction workers ate lunch around 1 p.m. under an awning on West Broadway a few blocks north of Ground Zero.
“It was brutal — oh my God,” said construction worker Colm Burke, 55, about working in the heat Tuesday.
When asked if they got any extra breaks, the men just started to laugh.
Salvador Sanchez, 27, said he turned off the pilot light of his coffee machine to try and cool down his food cart on Eight Avenue and 58 Street Wednesday morning.
“It’s like 110 degrees in here,” said Sanchez. “Every five minutes I have to get out.”
When asked if he thought about staying home today Sanchez just started to shake his head.
“We need to work,” said Sanchez. “We don’t have a choice.”