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Some cooling centers in NYC closed for Juneteenth holiday amid scorching heat

Juneteenth forces closure of some NYC cooling centers amid high heat
Juneteenth forces closure of some NYC cooling centers amid high heat 02:00

NEW YORK - As New York City grapples with scorching heat, more than 200 cooling centers were closed Wednesday because Juneteenth is a federal holiday

Some New Yorkers were locked out of libraries that ordinarily serve as cooling centers during hot summer days. 

According to city numbers, 41% of its cooling centers were closed Wednesday - 239 of its 555 centers, which includes 179 libraries. 

New York City Comptroller Brad Lander says the city needs to come up with a better plan to keep the centers available. 

"If it's going to be this hot, and you're telling people, you've got to get to a cooling center, then your cooling centers have to be open," Lander said. "The heat is the deadliest killer of the climate crisis."

On social media, OEM Commissioner Zach Iscol called Lander's remarks about closed cooling centers a "pretty significant misrepresentation," adding New York City has "hundreds of cooling centers open across the city." 

Most libraries will reopen as normal Thursday and they will serve as cooling centers. 

Some people change plans due to closures

Some people had to change their plans after learning their cooling location was closed for the day. 

"Right now, we are going to the beach... to beat the heat and soak up the sun, " Harlem resident Yenni Cabrera said

"That's wrong. It should be open. It's hot," Woodcrest resident Louis Ramos said.   

"The post office and stuff, I understand. But the library? No, it should be open," Harlem resident Patricia Broome said.   

"Even though it's a federal holiday, we have to be considerate about the weather," said Hell's Kitchen resident Ricardo Ramirez.   

Mayor Eric Adams discusses NYC's plans for the heat

"Please check on your neighbors and loved ones during this heat advisory," Mayor Eric Adams said.   

Adams' office said, technically, New York is not yet dealing with a heat wave, which requires three consecutive days of temperatures over 90 degrees. 

"It's not a level of concern. We are prepared," Adams said. "We are going to make sure as rapidly as possible to open pools, sprinklers, beaches. If there is a need to expediate, we are more than willing to do so."

New York City pools are not scheduled to open for the season until June 27. 

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