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We Measured Subway Temperatures and It Wasn't Pretty

By Kathleen Culliton | August 12, 2016 4:45pm | Updated on August 14, 2016 12:49pm
 Karim Bouffay fanned his wife Virginia with a fedora as they waited on the 42nd Street uptown A/C/E platform, which felt like 107.5 degrees.
Karim Bouffay fanned his wife Virginia with a fedora as they waited on the 42nd Street uptown A/C/E platform, which felt like 107.5 degrees.
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Kathleen Culliton

Mayor Bill De Blasio warned New Yorkers today that the heat wave constituted an emergency and could make it feel like 110 degrees in certain areas. If those areas are subways, it’s already happened.

DNAinfo New York staked out Manhattan’s biggest subway stations, for the second year running, to find out which platforms were the hottest, muggiest and most humid on this particularly hot, muggy, humid day.

We measured heat and humidity on 17 subway platforms, and used those numbers to calculate the “apparent temperature,” or how hot the humidity makes you feel.

The award for most unbearable subway platform went to Times Square, proving once again that it is one of the hottest places in New York City.

“It feels like a 110 degrees in here,” said Zakir Hossain, 40, who was lugging boxes of soda into the 7 train platform’s newsstand, where he works all day.

He wasn’t exaggerating. At 89.2 degrees with 81 percent humidity, according to the National Weather Service heat index calculator, it felt like 111.2 degrees.

“It’s hot and sweaty, but we’re poor,” said Hossain. “We have to make a living, no matter how hot.”

On the platform for the Times Square uptown A/C/E trains, DNAinfo measured a temperature of 89.6 degrees and a relative humidity of 74 percent, making it feel like 106.6 degrees.

“It’s hot and nasty,” said Kenny Rodriguez as he waited on the Queens-bound N/Q/R trains platform, which clocked in with 88.5 degrees and 78 percent humidity, making it feel like 106.6 degrees.

“It smells like soup — not a good one.”

Grand Central and Union Square were runners up for worst platform heat. The Grand Central's 7 train platform felt like 99.8 degrees and the Union Square L train platform felt like 95.7 degrees.

“It’s muggy, just muggy,” said Noelle King, 22, who was on her way to work at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. “It smells like sweat and I feel sticky all the time.”

Relief could be found deeper underground. The temperature on the downtown B/D/F/M platform at West 4th Street, which is well below street level, felt like 85 degrees. And the uptown B/D/E platform at the 7th Avenue station, which is four flights beneath street level, felt like 82.9 degrees.

To find out how your (least) favorite stations measure up, check out the average temperature, humidity percentage and apparent temperature for each:

► Times Square–42nd Street/Port Authority Bus Terminal: 89 degrees; 77 percent; 107 degrees

► Grand Central–42nd Street: 87.5 degrees; 64 percent; 96 degrees

► 7th Avenue: 82.9 degrees; 77.5 percent; 95 degrees

► 14th Street–Union Square: 87.1 degrees; 58 percent; 92.8 degrees

► Fulton Street Station: 86 degrees; 58.3 percent; 90.6 degrees