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New Yorkers Try to Stay Cool in Extreme Heat

By DNAinfo Staff on July 21, 2011 10:48am  | Updated on July 21, 2011 4:55pm

By Andrea Swalec and Tuan Nguyen

MANHATTAN — City agencies are advising New Yorkers to keep themselves and potentially vulnerable loved ones cool as temperatures soared into the 90s Thursday and the heat wave showed no signs of relenting.

The city's Office of Emergency Management issued an excessive heat warning from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday and an air quality health advisory from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Senior citizens, children under 5 years old, people with chronic medical conditions and people who are overweight are at particular risk of illness during heat waves, OEM Commissioner Joseph Bruno said at a press conference Thursday morning. 

“We are asking every New Yorker to take common sense steps to stay safe during this extreme heat event,” Bruno said. “Look out for your own health, check in on vulnerable neighbors and listen to your utility company’s appeals for energy conservation.”

The OEM is asking residents not to call 911 except in the event of an actual emergency.

Manhattan residents and their four-legged friends are trying their best to stay cool as temperatures hit blistering highs.

Pooches took a plunge in a doggy pool filled with cooling water at the Leroy Dog Run, in Hudson River Park near Pier 40, on Wednesday.

Klebber Bezerra of the West Village said he's bringing his 10-month old pit bull, Fritz, to the pool almost every day to stay cool during the heat wave, which is expected to peak at 101 degrees Friday.

The OEM is advising New Yorkers to wear loose, light-colored clothing, drink plenty of water and use city cooling centers if necessary. Information on cooling centers is available on the OEM's website or by calling 311.

Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Cas Holloway asked New Yorkers not to unscrew the caps on fire hydrants without the use of approved spray caps, no matter how tempting it may be.

"Improperly opened hydrants can hamper firefighting operations and harm small children," Holloway said, adding that hydrants release water at a rate of 1,000 gallons per minute.

Approved spray caps for fire hydrants are available at firehouses.

Workers in Manhattan had to find other ways to beat the heat. Times Square street performers were out despite the rising mercury, but tried to stay in the shade.

Michael O’Sullivan, 23, passed out fliers for "Rain — A Tribute to the Beatles" wearing a  long-sleeved, bright pink military-style outfit à la Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band on Thursday morning.

"Sometimes you feel dizzy working long hours in the sun," O'Sullivan said.

In Central Park, pedicab drivers kept pedaling Thursday despite the heat.

"I came early because I was hoping it would be cooler, but it's the same," pedicab driver Dilshod Orifov said. "Right now I'm sweating already, and I didn't take any tour yet."

The Central Park Conservancy tweeted Thursday afternoon that "Belvedere Castle has been closed as a result of the extreme heat. Stay cool out there! #heatwave." They also tweeted information about sprinklers and fountains in the park.

The heat wave has taken its toll on the subway system's countdown clocks, NY1 reported.

The MTA said the clocks were not working in at least 12 stations in Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx because the communications rooms where the equipment that operates them is housed reached temperatures as hot as 120 degrees, according to NY1.

And on Pier 45 in Hudson River Park, sunbathers found relief in a sprinkler for grown-ups. Brooklyn resident Blair Blanchard, 30, said he sunbathes on the grass-covered pier three times a week, and steps into the outdoor shower to cope with the heat.

The heat isn't expected to relent before Saturday.

Additional reporting by Tuan Nguyen