New York Daily Photo Analytics

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Blocks of Ice

Like a pediatric prescriptive for the parent and desperate to show empathy and concern, city officials have made the usual hot weather warnings and announcements with gestures such as mobile cooling stations with free drinking water.

But what can really be done about a crushing heat wave with temperatures over 100 degrees? Nothing. Just wait it out. You either have air conditioning and/or fans at home or not, and you either work in A/C or not. Plain and simple. The word that best describes New York City's recent record smashing temperatures is blistering. Direct sun on the skin feels like it is literally being cooked.

I empathize with those who must work outdoors in this heat. I had a brief conversation with New York City police detective Johnson, who was in Union Square in full uniform with temperatures hovering around 100 degrees. I asked how he could possibly tolerate the heat in full uniform - polyester, bullet proof vest, pants, heavy shoes. He replied that it isn't easy and he just tries to stay hydrated.

None of the solutions offered to the populace are particularly new or novel - wear light clothing, stay hydrated, keep your blinds drawn, etc. In a world with extraordinary technology, ubiquitous WiFi, video telephony, organ transplants and voice recognition, Mother Nature still shows a strong hand when it comes to heat. The drone of bulky, ugly, noisy, window air conditioners becomes our summer music. Looking over a number of historic photos of New York City from the early 20th century, we see the curbside water hydrant scene replayed 100 years later. And with all the suggestions, solutions and technology, the most refreshing solution to me looks like those street side blocks of ice :)

Photo note: The first two photos are New York City street scenes, circa 1910-15. The bottom photo is from my 2006 posting Heat Wave.


Terry B, Blue Kitchen said...

Great juxtaposition of photos, Brian. Thanks for sharing the vintage shots as well as your own beautifully detailed image. All three speak eloquently of New York City summers. Keep cool.

nycpix said...

I'd like to see some blocks of ice on the street today! Restrained people would touch them with hands, but others would sit, slide, and do whatever they had to in order to cool down.

Pedi said...

The 2nd is my favorite! I wish i could go into the photo and hear the kids laugh :) Thank you

Anonymous said...

Those two old pictures look interesting. Who took them?

wofgtg said...

I wish i come to new york as soon as possible.