2013-07-03 / Front Page

City Opens Pools, Cooling Centers

By Liz Goff

Meteorologists are warning the public that it will feel like hell on earth this week, as the mercury soars over 90 degrees for at least three days in Queens.

Temperatures will reach a body-roasting 92 degrees on July 3 and July 4, as soaring temperatures remind us that it really is summer in the city.

The heat is certain to force many Queens residents to stay indoors, where those with air conditioners can blast cool air, and others can head to the pool, beach or a show while they wait for the heat to fizzle, city officials said.

City officials said New Yorkers can be expected to consume an additional 1.5 billion gallons of water on the first day of the heat wave. Whether you choose tap or bottled water, make sure to keep plenty on hand – and carry some chilled water with you if you venture outdoors, city health officials said.

If you are planning to stay outdoors for some time – shopping, swimming, walking, taking the kids to a playground, - whatever your plans call for, here’s a tip to keeping bottled water icy cold for long periods of time, officials said.

Freeze bottled water and place it in a cooler to take to the park, beach or other outdoor activity. Place frozen water in a plastic bag and stash it in your purse when you’re heading out to the supermarket or outdoor shopping centers. Most of the ice will be defrosted by the time you’re ready to take a drink, officials said. Any the remaining ice will keep the water nicely chilled until you are ready for another drink. It’s the inexpensive way to drink bottled water while you’re on the go, officials said.

As in any extended heat wave, Mayor Michael Bloomberg is pleading with city residents to conserve electricity over the upcoming July 4 holiday weekend.

“We need people to turn their air conditioners to no cooler than 79 degrees, if you can do that,” Bloomberg said.

Officials at Elmhurst Hospital Center are ready to meet the needs of Queens residents with heat-related symptoms. Hospital officials are turning two of their “decontamination trailers” into treatment centers for people suffering from heat exhaustion, dehydration, and breathing problems.

A hospital spokesperson told the Gazette the trailers, which are designed for use in case of a biological terror attack, provided cool showers for overheated Queens residents, along with adequate space for treatment.

Swimmers can take refuge in the pool at Astoria Park, where Parks workers pour pounds of ice chips into the water. Braver souls grab the ice chips and pour them over their heads to cool down as they take turns in the city’s largest municipal swimming pool, a parks worker said.

Seniors and families without air conditioning can head to cooling centers established by the city to take advantage of cool temperatures and a variety of activities available at the centers.

“We can’t stay at home anymore when it’s so hot,” Cheryl Dunne said. “This is supposed to be brutal, so we are planning to spend a lot of time at a cooling center..” she said.

For locations of city cooling centers, pools, playgrounds and parks in Queens, call 311 or go to www.nyc.gov.



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