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Officials Urge Caution As Deep Freeze Blankets NYC In Frigid Temps

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Arctic air continued to blanket the Tri-State Area with record-low temperatures Saturday morning, as officials reiterated pleas for residents to stay safe during the bitter stretch.

As the snow from Thursday's storm turned to slush which has since turned to ice, New Yorkers can't escape the deep freeze.

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"I've been working here for ten years and it's the coldest weather I've ever seen," one man said.

Whether driving around town or simply walking down the block, the ice has created hazardous conditions everywhere. On Friday, an 83-year-old woman slipped while crossing the street and was struck by a car in Queens.

More: Bitter Cold Follows Massive Winter Storm

The dangerously low temperatures are cause for concern for emergency room physicians.

"Number one is exposure," Dr. Robert Glatter from Lennox Hill Hospital told CBS2. "Being out in the cold and not wearing the proper clothing to begin with. Not covering skin, for example in your fingers." 

Dr. Glatter says people are at risk for hypothermia after as little as 15 to 20 minutes, and it's vital to look out for children.

"When you start to see their cheeks being red, that's an early sign that they could be at risk," Glatter said.

The NYPD also put out an alert, warning New Yorkers about the signs of hypothermia, including slurred speech and dizziness.

New York City schools' attendance was just over 53 percent on Friday, with many parents choosing to keep their kids at home during the arctic blast. On Wednesday, the day before the storm, attendance was at 89 percent.

Despite all the warnings, some families have decided to make the most of it.

"This is my first time, I builded a snowman," one little girl exclaimed.

Eight-year-old Ray Zhang's parents dressed him up in ski gear to go for a stroll in Central Park near West 67th Street late Saturday afternoon. They told CBS2's Lisa Rozner one hour was the limit.

"Cold, frigid, freezing," he said.

"I don't feel much. The little skin I have is just numb," dad Jin Zhang added.

Another woman had just arrived from Germany, packing only a thin pair of gloves.

"Yes, but it's not enough," she said.

Rudy Mizel, of Paris, was visiting his girlfriend from New Jersey, who was a little more prepared.

"It's freezing here, it's really freezing," he said.

"I have two or three layers of pants on, and three socks, a pair of gloves, a fur hat – I'm bundled up completely," she added. "I'm pretty warm."

Jon Ratchik, of the Upper West Side, loved it.

"I wish it was like this all winter," he said.

Others made sure to get their daily run in despite the ice-slicked walkways.

Paula told WCBS 880's Kelly Waldron she wasn't about to stray from her three-day a week running routine down on the Jersey Shore. She made sure to have a little extra protection from the elements, with a facemask and scarves wrapped around her gloves.

"Triple layers, lots of layers," she said. "You have to keep moving."

Later Saturday night, the cold wasn't stopping people from catching a Broadway show.

"I literately have my ski wear on," a woman named said while she waited for the theater to open its doors.

The show must go on, and the dip in temperatures didn't deter people.

"It's his birthday, so we're excited," said another woman.

The usually packed Crossroad of the World hosted only a handful of people snapping photos.

"It's good, I got a selfie stick," said one woman, adding she just bought a pair of gloves so she could feel her hands.

As long as you're safe about it, experts say it never hurts to have some fun if you can handle it until the deep freeze thaws out at some point next week.

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