Let me go on record as saying I despise the Three Hs: hazy, hot and humid. The terrible trio 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.