How to Beat the New York City Heat

| June 17, 2024

By Peter Aronson

According to weather forecasters, New York City is about to experience a hotter than average summer and it may, in fact, be one of the hottest on record.

AccuWeather projects that the city likely will experience 21-26 days this summer of at least 90 degrees, double from the 2023 total of 12 days.

Maps at show New York clearly in the bright orange category for “above” average temperatures for June, July and August, with the “most above” burnt orange color getting closer as the calendar moves through July and August.

This comes on the heels of summer 2023, which was the Northern Hemisphere’s hottest on record. While New York City had a hot summer, it was and always is exacerbated by the scientifically-named urban heat-island effect (UHIE), which raised temperatures in 2023 by at least 10 degrees for 3.8 million New Yorkers. According to an article in The City, more than six million NYC residents, about 78 percent of the city’s population, experienced temps at least eight degrees above normal. In simple terms, the sidewalks and buildings surrounding us act as sort of a sponge and absorb the heat, while the buildings restrict air flow, thus intensifying the air temperature. That’s why it sometimes feels like a furnace when you walk the streets of New York City on a 90-plus degree day. You can feel the heat radiating off the sidewalk.

“When an environment is made up of mostly dark, impervious, human-made materials like cement and pavement, incoming solar radiation is absorbed and heat is trapped,” the NYC Department of Environmental Protection explains on its website. These surfaces, including rooftops, reflect less and absorb more of the sun’s energy than grassy and tree-lined areas, thus temperatures are lower in suburban and rural areas.

Green areas – parks, forests, trees, plants – perform a service known as evapotranspiration, which helps cool surrounding areas.  

“Trees and vegetation absorb water through their roots and emit it through their leaves—this movement of water is called ‘transpiration’, ” the DEP explains on its website. “Evaporation, the conversion of water from a liquid to a gas, also occurs from the soil around vegetation and from trees and vegetation as they intercept rainfall on leaves and other surfaces. Together, these processes are referred to as evapotranspiration. Evapotranspiration cools the air by using heat from the air to evaporate water.” 

New York City is preparing for a hot summer, and is warning New Yorkers to be prepared. On May 30, Mayor Adams announced NYC’s Beat the Heat program, to protect New Yorkers against excessive heat and extreme weather events.  

The city is trying to stay ahead of the curve, saying that “Each summer, an estimated 350 New Yorkers die prematurely due to heat and other extreme weather incidents …”

We encourage all New Yorkers who are concerned about the coming heat to go to the city’s Beat the Heat website. It outlines what to do if extreme heat is coming, how to recognize signs of heat sickness and urges individuals and families to plan in advance.

The city is “in the crosshairs of climate change,” said Deputy Mayor for Operations Meera Joshi, “but we are getting ahead of it” by planning and by opening more cooling centers and offering free air conditioners and cooling kits for New York City residents.    

The city encourages all New Yorkers to sign up for weather emergency notifications, which can be done by calling 311 or going to this NYC link.

New York City has increased its number of cooling centers and at the cooling center map you can locate one near you.

The city has more than 1,700 parks, playgrounds and recreational facilities, and they can be located at this NYC parks website.

The city has 79 free outdoor pools, which open June 27, and 12 indoor pools. They can be located here. 

And New York City is trying to improve park access. According to NYC’s Green Space initiative, the city is striving to build new parks so that 85 percent of all New Yorkers live within walking distance of a park by 2030. It’s well documented that tree coverage lowers the heat island effect. To read more about this, go to

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