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Manhattan Temps Hit Record 104 Degrees

By Amy Zimmer | July 22, 2011 10:03am | Updated on July 22, 2011 5:05pm

By DNAinfo Staff

MANHATTAN — New York's sidewalks and subways are a sweaty mess once again with temperatures hitting 104 degrees in the city on Friday — breaking the city's record-high of 101 degrees set back on July 22, 1957.

The unbearable heat reached a searing 104 degrees in Central Park just before 2 p.m. according to the National Weather Service. And the boiling temps fell just shy of the all-time record of 106 degrees.

"This, we think, will be the most stressful day on the electric grid in recent history, maybe ever," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Friday morning during his weekly radio sit-down with WOR’s John Gambling.

He asked residents to keep their air conditioners down to no cooler than 78 degrees, which he acknowledged would be “a little bit uncomfortable. But not having electricity would be a lot more uncomfortable.”

An excessive heat warning has been issued by the National Weather Service and will remain in effect until 10 p.m. in the city. Saturday's temperatures were expected to reach 99 degrees with a heat index of 103 degrees, officials said.

The mayor's office asked New Yorkers to remember to check on their neighbors, especially seniors and the disabled. Cooling centers will be open around the city once again. City officials urged New Yorkers to conserve energy as much as possible by keeping window blinds closed, making sure air conditioning units are clean and by shutting off lights and appliances.

"We want people to conserve, conserve, conserve," Office of Emergency Management Commissioner Joseph Bruno said. "We are not anywhere out of the woods yet."

Swimming was barred at four city beaches were because of the raw sewage spewing into the Hudson River after Wednesday's fire at Harlem's North River Wastewater Treatment Plant.

"It's too hot," said Kirit Patel, 46, who works in a newsstand at the corner of West 52nd Street and Broadway.

He drank 15 bottles of water to keep cool on Thursday and had water ready for Friday's heat. "Last year it was better," he thought. "It was cooler."

Kazi Shafitqullah, 35, who sells shirts and bags near Patel, was sweating profusely while setting up for the day. "Business, like the weather, is very bad," he said.

Bloomberg said the city has been running some of its buildings on generators to reduce the demand on the power grid.

Con Edison has extra crews on stand by to respond to heat-related outages.

There were scattered outages in Manhattan on Friday including a swath of buildings — 81 meters — around 14th Street and Seventh Avenue.  There were at least eight businesses on 14th Street that had lost power and five shops on Seventh Avenue.

"I estimate that I'll lose $2,000 to $3,000," said John Chung, of the Red Spoon deli, who was quickly losing sandwiches, ice cream and other perishables at his store that lost power just before 2 p.m. Con Ed workers told him he would be without power for 7 to 10 hours, he said.

Several shopkeepers and residents said this was the third year in a row this block had seen a summer power outage. Eldad Shaar, of Fat Sal's said the gradual turning on of power last year burned out some of his appliances. He estimated last year's outage cost it him $1,700.

Con Ed reduced voltage to parts of Central and East Harlem. Roughly 37,000 customers between West 147th Street and West 110th Street from the East River and Seventh Avenue to the west were affected.

The utility company had said Friday's electricity usage hit a new record of 13,182 megawatts surpassing the company's record stands at 13,141 on Aug. 2, 2006, Con Ed officials said.

Con Ed also reduced voltage for roughly 121,000 customers in five neighborhoods in Queens and Brooklyn due to problems with electrical equipment serving those areas. Another 60,000 customers in Staten Island were affected.

Many New Yorkers were looking for ways to flee the sweltering city, which has been mired in a heat wave for seven days. 

"We’re avoiding this New York heat wave and leaving town!" tweeted @DuexLuxbags.

"Leaving this NYC heat for Montauk," @konigi wrote. "Glad I won't be here when it hits 100 tomorrow. See ya in a week. Stay cool NYers."

Some New Yorkers suggested creative ways to deal with the scorching temperatures.

"NYC companies should give heat days," @chelseabethh offered. "With all the walking and subway platform waiting we do, extreme heat seems as dangerous as snow & ice."

Perhaps hot yoga has answers to staying cool.

"After leaving hot yoga class in 110deg room," tweeted @lstylchicnvegan. "NYC summer heat actually feels cool & breezy."