Text by Alissa Fleck
Photos by James Kelleher
Our Town Downtown hit the Washington Square Park area to find out how New Yorkers are dealing with the stifling heat, which reached a high of nearly 100 degrees this past weekend. We wanted to know if they had some cool ideas in the event of another blackout, a la 2003. Despite the heat, the park was full of people finding ways to chill out and make the weather work for them.
Robert & Jeff, studio musicians in their mid-40s who sometimes play in the park, were relaxing underneath a tree.
Is this the hottest New York City summer you can remember?
Robert: I’ll tell you, last week I felt like I weighed a thousand pounds.
Is there anything you like to do in this weather?
NAME?: We like to come down to the park in our off time, meet new friends and gamble.
Helen Hope, an 18-year-old model, was reading in the shade.
What are you doing to stay cool in this heat?
I’m staying in the shade and drinking lots of water. I’m also eating a lot of Pinkberry.
Is there anything you like to do outside in this weather?
I like to hang out in the park and stay very still.
What are you reading?
I live in a women’s residence and an old woman was handing out books so I took this one [Five Quarters of the Orange].
Reed Dunlea, 25, who works at WNYC, was eating french fries in the park.
What do you like to do to beat the heat?
I like to go swimming—this past weekend I went to two beaches in upstate New York. I’ve also been to the McCarren Park Pool.
Did you witness any violence at the McCarren Park Pool?
Ron, 72, is retired and was tanning on a park bench in jean shorts with a bottle of cold juice and a bag of kettle-cooked potato chips.
What do you do to stay cool in this heat?
I drink Crystal Light and stay hydrated, unfortunately it’s frozen right now.
Is this the hottest summer you can remember here?
It’s not the hottest summer but it’s definitely one of them.
Is there anything you like to do outside in this heat?
I like to sit in the sun. I’ve been coming here since I was 9 and it’s basically the same.
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