NEW YORK CITY — With soaring temperatures threatening to reach triple digits Thursday, New Yorkers scurried for air conditioning to beat the heat or stripped down to soak up the rays.
The mercury was expected to hit at least 97 degrees, but it would feel closer to 102 degrees with the heat index, according to AccuWeather. The National Weather Service issued a heat advisory, warning people to be careful when outside.
"Take extra precautions if you work or spend time outside," the Weather Service warned in the advisory. "When possible...reschedule strenuous activities to early morning or evening."
It also advised to look out for signs of heat exhaustion and stroke, to wear light and loose-fitting clothing and to drink plenty of water. The city has 450 cooling centers, which were open Thursday, officials said.
The high temperatures were taking a toll on the city's power, too, as Con Ed was forced to reduce voltage levels in several sections of Queens and Brooklyn Thursday.
Citing problems with electrical equipment, Con Ed said eastern and southeast Queens, as well as central and eastern Brooklyn, had to deal with less power.
Con Edison was asking all customers in those areas to turn off non-essential equipment, including computers, and air-conditioners, particularly if people aren't at home.
Con Ed spokesman Mike Clendenin said customers can report outages at www.coned.com or call 1-800-75-CONED.
Despite the high temperatures, some in Manhattan got their morning exercise in before the mercury really rose.
"I'm already sweating and I haven't even started," said Enrique Guadalupe, of the Lower East Side, while jogging along the East River. "Now is the perfect time to get a workout in. After 11 or 12, you won't be able to do it."
Tanja Yhdigegn, 27, of the East Village, spent the morning strolling along the East River with a friend before heading back to her native Denmark.
"Nothing could keep me from this walk today," said Yhdigegn, who spent the last year living in the city. "Not even the heat."
But NYC Park Advocates, a nonprofit organization that focuses on the city's parks, said artificial turf fields can skyrocket to more than 170 degrees — temperatures that can burn children in playgrounds. It warned park-goers to avoid unshaded black safety surfacing, slides and artificial turf fields, among other warnings.
The Parks Department posted signs at synthetic turf fields "cautioning the public about heat-related illnesses," a spokesman said.
The city has also discontinued using black crumb rubber as infill in new artificial turf fields and installed water misters to cool the benches at turf fields, the spokesman said.
Others hits the city's beaches to cool off.
"It's a good day to be out in the beach," said Mitch Magalhaes, 50, of Dyker Heights. "We're not used to this kind of weather, especially for the start of the summer."
Erica Wessmann, 27, a sculptor, headed to the High Line to try to catch a breeze.
“I didn’t react [to the heat] that much, but my basil plants did," she said. "They’re totally shriveled.”
Some tourists said the heat reminded them of home.
"It's very good today — I love the sun," said Monica Romano, 34, from Sao Paulo, Brazil, who is vacationing in New York for the month. "The weather here is similar to Sao Paulo, it goes up and it goes down."