How to Stay Cool in and Around NYC During a Heat Wave

How to Stay Cool in a Heat Wave in NYC
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How to Stay Cool in and Around NYC During a Heat Wave

Summer is officially here, and the heat is on. Last week, NYC experienced a 4-day heat wave or “extreme heat event,” with triple-digit heat indexes and temperatures into the 90s. We are also set to experience more of this heat this week. The city defines extreme heat events as periods when the heat index is 100°F or higher for one or more days or 95°F or higher for two or more consecutive days.

The New York City Emergency Management Department and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene issued a warning to New Yorkers to be on alert throughout the week by checking in on elderly neighbors and other vulnerable people, and taking steps to ensure their family’s health and safety. 

Psst… Read our Guide to Staying Safe in the Sun This Summer

Hot weather can be very dangerous, and is sometimes considered a silent killer. Heat waves pose a threat to not only the elderly, but also to infants, young children, people with asthma, heart conditions or other health issues, and pregnant women. Assess the risk to your family by staying informed.  The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shared a new HeatRisk Map displaying heat intensity across the United States for the week ahead. You can also check the UV Index Scale posted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for info on the temperature in your area.

Places In and Around NYC to Stay Cool 

Heat waves can be a bummer, but so is staying home when it’s sunny out. Here in NYC, your family can cool down at any number of  places in and around NYC while also having fun. Pack the sunscreen and swimsuits and head to any of these spots where a dip or splash in some cold water will keep you cool as a cucumber all day long.

Sprinkler Parks

NYC & Long IslandStaten Island


Indoor WaterparksWaterparks Near NYCWestchester


Free NYC BeachesLong Island  Staten Island & NJWestchester 


How to Find a Cooling Center in NYC and New York State

NYC Mayor Eric Adams recently announced the addition of more cooling centers in city parks this year. These designated spaces are free and open to the public, where anyone without immediate access to air conditioning can stop in to beat the heat at any time. They will be open this Tuesday morning, June 18, through Thursday, June 20. Finding a NYC cooling center is easier than ever with a newly revamped ‘Cool Options Map’ where New Yorkers can quickly and easily locate these centers during heat emergencies. It also offers other cool-down options like libraries, malls, and museums that offer air-conditioned spaces to escape the heat. 

For New Yorkers not residing within the city’s five boroughs, the NYS Department of Health lists  Cooling Centers, which can be searched via county or map. 

Governor Kathy Hochul waived admission to all New York State Parks on Wednesday, June 19 and Thursday, June 20 to help New Yorkers keep cool through the heat wave. In addition, several New York State beaches and pools are temporarily open ahead of the season and cooling features such as sprays and misters are being added at several State Park sites throughout New York City.

Sites open early for swimming:

New York City

Sites open early for swimming:

Long Island

Hudson Valley

Tips for Staying Safe During a Heat Wave

The New York City Emergency Management Department and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene offer the following tips:

  • Check on people who are at-risk and help them find a cool place to stay during heat events. 
  • Stay in an an air-conditioned location, even if for a few hours 
  • Stay out of the sun and avoid extreme temperature changes  
  • Avoid strenuous activity during the sun’s peak midday hours
  • Drink water every 15 minutes, rest in the shade, and watch out for others on outdoor teams. 
  • Eat small, frequent meals 
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing
  • Hang out in cool places like the movies, museums, the mall, or the pool/beach.
  • Doors and windows should have tight-fitting screens, and window guards as well if children reside in the home
  • Never leave a child or pets in the vehicle, even for a few minutes 
  • Know the signs of heat stroke and call 911 immediately if you or someone you know has hot dry skin, trouble breathing, rapid heartbeat, confusion, disorientation, dizziness or nausea and vomiting 
  • Don’t forget about pets, who can dehydrate quickly. Give them plenty of fresh, clean water, go for walks in the morning and evening only, and never let them linger on hot asphalt that can burn their sensitive paw pads. Symptoms of overheating in pets include excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, mild weakness, unresponsiveness, or even collapse.

How to Conserve Energy During a Heat Wave

While you’re probably going to want to pump the AC, don’t.  To avoid brownouts and other electrical disruptions, here are some easy ways to conserve energy.

  • Set your air conditioner to 78°F or “low” 
  • Run appliances such as ovens, washing machines, dryers and dishwashers in the early morning or late at night when it is cooler outside to reduce heat and moisture in your home
  • Close doors to keep cool air in and hot air out when the air conditioner is running
  • Keep shades, blinds, and curtains closed 
  • Turn off air conditioners, lights, and other appliances when not at home (if you do not have pets), and use a timer or smart technology to turn on your air conditioner about a half-hour before arriving home
  • Keep air conditioner filters clean 
  • Tell your utility provider if you or someone in your family depends on medical equipment that requires electricity


Psst…. Need ideas for Summer Break in NYC with kids? Here’s What to Do Now that School is Out for Summer!