Temperatures reached as high as 100 degrees, as the northwest Bronx found itself in the middle of a weeklong heat wave that engulfed the entire East Coast. Local residents struggled to find a balance between enjoying the sunny week and staying cool in the scorching heat and stultifying humidity. Many of the area’s public parks and playgrounds were surprisingly vacant, with the exception of the Van Cortlandt Park Pool, as many locals sought shelter from the sun in air-conditioned buildings on Saturday.
“We stayed in Target for two hours,”
said Bianca Rojas, as she described her efforts to stay cool. “I don’t remember it being this hot,” she continued, “not for so many days straight.”
Even in her native Dominican Republic, Ms. Rojas couldn’t recall a time the weather was so intense.
“You don’t feel the heat like this,” Ms. Rojas said, contemplating her homeland. “Here, it feels 10 or 15 degrees hotter because of the humidity,” she continued, as her family nodded in agreement.
“Even if it’s shady, you can’t feel the air!”
During The Van Cortlandt Park Pool’s afternoon break on Saturday, the line to re-enter stretched about 50 yards and steadily grew as the 4 p.m. opening approached. Daevaughn Thomas and Corey Gunz, both teens on line to enter the pool, briefly described the steps they took to beat the heat.
“So here’s the plan:” Mr. Gunz began,
“we barbeque on the front porch in the morning, then we go to the pool. We come back, barbeque again, and then play some video games in front of the AC.”
Mr. Thomas acknowledged that on Friday, the boys decided it was too hot to even make the trip to the pool, opting to stay inside and keep cool by the air conditioner.
John Ragel also waited in line, with his sons Hugo and Dante, as the three embraced the cooling power of the ice cream cone.
“We’ve made two ice cream stops today,” Mr. Ragel said, as Hugo’s melting treat became increasingly difficult to eat and chocolate began to stick to his face.