Thirty-four 90+ degree days is 33 too many

Let me go on record as saying I despise the Three Hs: hazy, hot and humid. The terrible trio  Thermomonsidewalk combine to turn the average Manhattan workday into a hellish tempest of melting macadam, short-tempered tourists and gridlocked traffic.

The modern Manhattan Summer bears little resemblance to the kinder, gentler ones of my youth. It's replete with carbon monoxide, toxic ultra violet rays blasting through a depleted ozone layer and enough carcinogens to conjure up images of Chernobyl in Chelsea. And lest you think these are merely the rants of a middle-age meltdown, think again. Heat kills. The last great NYC heat wave killed 1,100 people in 1966.  And, that cannot be good for tourism.

According to The New York Times, the summer of 2010 went down in the National Weather Service's record books as the hottest ever in New York City. We've had six official heat waves, 34 days of 90+ degree temps and an average daytime temperature of 77.8 degrees.

Who needs Hades when you have Hell's Kitchen?

I've also had the misfortune to run headfirst into the hottest summers in recorded history for St. Petersburg and Moscow, Russia, respectively. And, as our Russian tour guide so eloquently put it, “Your Mr. Albert Gore was sure right about his world warming.”

Aside from a latter-day George Hamilton trolling the Westhampton beaches in search of some unsuspecting parvenu, an octogenarian suffering from poor circulation or a middle-aged Lolita sunning herself on the Jersey Shore in hopes of hooking-up with The Situation, I can't imagine anyone enjoying this horrific heat. As my business partner, Ed, so eloquently puts it, “This blows!”

As for me, I'm hunkering down, riding it out and waiting for that first crisp, cool day in October when Manhattan truly comes alive. When it does happen, and it will, I'll crank up one of the
most evocative tunes I know: Billie Holiday's 'Autumn in New York.'

Summer in the city? You can have it.

8 thoughts on “Thirty-four 90+ degree days is 33 too many

  1. Hey, thanks for the note, Russell. I hope you’re doing well. As for the weather, to each his own. I’d opt for a windy day in February over a brutally hot one in August. But, hey, that’s just me.

  2. As a true New Jerseyan I have to defend Summer. I like the three Hs. You come out of the shower, towel off and are still wet. It isn’t a true summer until it hits triple digits. And remember one of the best Motown songs of all time, “Heat Wave” by Martha and the Vandellas. As someone who really hates winter, the cold, the icy roads the snow you have to shovel… I can do without the change of seasons, give me Summer year round.

  3. RepMan – the weaving of cultural references in this post would make Dennis Miller proud…
    I just wish there were more of those crisp autumn days… It seems like we get a tease of maybe three of them, then lock-down into the Ice Age… Baked or frozen, the Big Apple is either hotter than Hades or cold as ice.
    What would Don Draper do?

  4. Why thank you, Ghost. Clearly, though, neither of you cared for the latter-day George Hamilton shout-out. I guess the man was the original one trick pony.

  5. Thanks, Art. Actually, I was hoping for some kudos on my use of parvenu. Now, there’s a word one doesn’t see every day.