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As NYC faces its hottest day of the year, some libraries have broken air conditioning

Amid high heat, some NYC libraries have no air conditioning
Amid high heat, some NYC libraries have no air conditioning 02:03

NEW YORK - New York City is under a heat advisory Friday, all the way through the weekend. 

The Big Apple is expected to hit 93 degrees Friday, but the humidity is going to make things feel like it's even hotter. The last time New York City hit 93 in Central Park was September of last year, during the last official heat wave New York City experience. While it has been very hot and humid in and around New York City for the past few days, a heat wave only occurs when we have three days in a row of temperatures above 90 degrees, which hasn't happened yet this year in the Big Apple. 

Either way, New York City is expected to have its hottest day of the year so far Friday.  

And the heat is not expected to let up this weekend. New York City is under its first heat advisory so far this year. A heat advisory is issued when the National Weather Service determines that the heat index is forecast to hit 95-99 for at least two days in a row, or when the heat index expected to hit 100-104. The current heat advisory lasts until 8 p.m. Sunday. 

Some libraries have broken air conditioning

At least five public libraries in New York City are unable to provide relief. Two on Staten Island and one in Queens are completely closed. The city's library system said it's unable to implement almost $1 million in necessary repairs since October due to budget cuts

"As cooling centers, we want them open every single day," City Councilmember Carlina Rivera said. 

The Bronx Library Center was open, but just wasn't cool enough to be a cooling center. 

"The possibility that seniors may come here and they could actually get injured, you know, thinking they're coming to a cooling center, but they're coming to a hot place where they could possibly injured," Bronx resident Manuel Sanchez said. 

In fact, one visitor needed an ambulance to be treated for heat-related distress. 

"It kind of highlights the whole idea of second-class citizenship. Like, this probably isn't happening in Manhattan," Sanchez said. 

A City Hall spokesperson said libraries manage their own budgets and "there are numerous ways to stay cool in New York City, including hundreds of cooling centers in addition to libraries." 

New York Public Libraries said in a statement budget cuts will "further diminish our ability to address emergency maintenance and repairs." 

Heat symptoms to watch out for

Gov. Kathy Hochul and Mayor Eric Adams have been warning New Yorkers for days: High temperatures can pose serious health risks like heat stroke. Symptoms include dizziness, headache, rapid heartbeat and confusion. Some 350 New Yorkers die each year due to heat-related or heat-exacerbated illness. 

Experts say it's crucial to stay hydrated, avoid strenuous activity, and remain in air-conditioned environments as much as possible. Stay indoors or in the shade as much as possible during peak heat hours. 

Other tips: 

  • Drink plenty of water
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine, which can lead to dehydration
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing
  • Never leave children or pets in a parked car, even with the windows down. Temperatures inside a vehicle can rise rapidly, leading to fatal heat stroke
  • Check in on vulnerable people. Ensure elderly family members, neighbors and people with chronic illnesses are staying cool and hydrated
  • Remember pets are vulnerable to heat. Ensure they have plenty of water, are kept indoors or in shaded areas, and avoid walking dogs on hot pavement which can burn their paws

New York City is experiencing increased demand for electricity as residents use air conditioning. Con Ed is urging residents to conserve energy where possible, and is asking people to avoid running washers, dryers and other high-energy appliances during peak hours. Keep blinds closed, and set thermostats to a higher temperature when you're not at home. 

For those who do not have air conditioning, the city has numerous cooling centers, and an interactive map where you can plug in your zip code to see nearby locations. 

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