The heatwave is a reminder of NYC’s best activity: Staying inside


In other cities, they water flowers.

Here in New York, however, we water the sidewalk to rid our front doors of the putrid smell of garbage that has been rotting in the sun for hours. 

Mmmmm! That’s the ubiquitous fragrance of summer in NYC (well, other than pot), which officially began on Friday. 

New Yorkers love crowding onto expensive, sweaty rooftops. Stephen Yang

But you wouldn’t know that the scorcher season’s just started from the past several days — it’s practically August already.

Our current heatwave, which has walloped sweaty citizens with daily highs into the mid-90s, is a useful reminder of where the best place to be in NYC is all year long.


Try though we might to delude ourselves into thinking we’re a storybook European village with dreamy street cafes, mouthwatering markets and bucolic bike rides, fresh air here in a misnomer. A better phrase would be acrid steam.

Al fresco activities, by and large, are either unpleasant or combative. Often both. 

The smells of summer in New York City include sun basked garbage and marijuana. AFP via Getty Images

Take our most bizarre new fixture: outdoor dining. I’m always perplexed whenever I see someone consciously choosing to sit in those cramped ugly sheds or at randomly plopped street tables when there are open spots inside with free AC and some semblance of normalcy.  

But those sun-loving customers perch on folding chairs with their espressos, close their eyes and pretend they’re in Paris gazing relaxedly upon the Seine.

And then — crash — 100 motorcycles with the “pop! pop! pop!” of a machine gun drive by. Another sip and a lunatic walks right up and screams some obscenities in their face. Here comes a garbage truck!

In the summer, NYC parks are jam-packed. David McGlynn

Instead, how about a grassy picnic in the park? They lug their basket of food onto the train only to arrive and realize that New York green-spaces are as jam-packed as Lollapalooza with no famous musicians.

Once they do get lucky and snag their four-by-four plot with a sliver of shade, fit people start ripping their shirts off and make them feel self-conscious. Their Italian sub goes uneaten.

Maybe, they figure, a respite will finally come via a New York staple: Rooftop bars. Au contraire! Getting cocktails in the sky is a bloodsport in this city, whether at the Wythe in Williamsburg or La Bain in the Meatpacking District.

Tennis players arrive before 5 a.m. to attempt to secure a coveted court slot. J.C. Rice

They line up forever, they awkwardly ram their body onto an elevator and then wait an eternity for a watered-down drink that costs $20. A dip in the itty bitty Soho House pool is essentially wading into human soup. 

The simple act of hitting a ball back and forth is ruthless. The Post reported that professional tennis coaches are hogging taxpayer-funded courts downtown for wealthy clients, while wronged rule-abiding players queue up from as early as 4:30 a.m.  

Ebikes and scooters run a red light on 45th and 9th. J.C. Rice

Hell, even a should-be relaxing walk around the block to clear your head is a veritable game of Frogger. Other pedestrians body-slam you. Citi Bikes, eBikes and scooters lawlessly zoom past in all directions. Your shirt gets drenched with sweat.

Without even realizing it, the lovely stroll has become a stressful jog.

As they do every year, the rich have already abandoned ship. They’re off in the Hamptons, on Fire Island, Cape Cod, Provincetown. Places with a cool breeze and without nightly rat raves. 

For the rest of us, head to New York’s hottest summer destination: Literally any enclosed building with a working air conditioner.

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