- Last Updated: 10:17 AM, June 21, 2012
- Posted: 12:43 AM, June 21, 2012
Record heat turned the city into a sauna yesterday — sending New Yorkers fleeing to beaches and parks as Con Ed reduced power to parts of Brooklyn and Queens.
The 98-degree reading at La Guardia was the highest ever on a June 20, beating the previous record of 96, set in 1953.
Temperatures at Yankee Stadium flirted with 100 degrees, as shown on the ballpark’s thermometer.
But it won’t go down in the record books as the hottest June 20 in city history, because official readings are taken in Central Park, where the temperature was a “mere” 94, three short of the record set in 1988.
And it’s going to be even worse today — the forecast is for 100 degrees, which would break the park record of 97, set in 1988.
Con Ed said it had to resort to the power cuts because of “problems in the system’’ said spokeswoman Susan Banda.
She said, however, there were no “significant outages.’’
Subways ran normally, but if things get worse today, electricity cuts may force them to slow down.
Yesterday was such a scorcher, conductors at Grand Central, Penn Station and Atlantic Terminal kept every other train door closed until just before departure to keep cool air in and warm air out.
But some major chain stores in Times Square were less mindful of wasting electricity, and brazenly defied the city’s law against blasting air conditioning through open doors.
“I pretended I was looking at watches, but it was just for the cool,” said Eloisa Pelaez, 59, as she enjoyed a cold blast at the entrance to one store.
Instead of fleeing to parks or air-conditioned buildings, some masochists braved hellish 200-degree saunas at Russian and Turkish Baths in the East Village.
“Once you go outside in the 90-degree heat, it feels like nothing,” said manager Jack Shapiro.
Customers at the bathhouse’s Russian room poured ice-cold buckets of water over their heads as others dipped in the establishment’s narrow basement pool, which was chilled to 50 degrees.
“It makes you tolerate the heat better,” said Jennifer Dunn, 42, as she swam.
Mayor Bloomberg encouraged people without air conditioning to head to the beach or drop by one of the city’s 455 cooling centers today.
Factoring in the humidity, it could feel like 105 degrees.
“That is dangerous,” said a jacketless Bloomberg, speaking in the South Bronx.
“We joke about the heat, but when it gets to be that hot, that is not a joke.”
Military vet Kevin Jackson didn’t have to be told twice.
“In here, it feels beautiful, it’s a beautiful feeling,” said Jackson, 59, as he lounged in a chilled auditorium at an East Village cooling center. “I didn’t sweat once today — not once.”
But some found other solutions. Hipster Bill Stevens, 22, admitted he hasn’t been to a library in at least 10 years. But he cooled off with buddy Michael Bailer at New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue yesterday.
“I read the children’s book ‘I’m a Duck,’ ” confessed Bailer, 22.
“It was great — partly because the book rocked, and partly because I got to stay cool.”
Things should start cooling down by Saturday, with readings next week dipping to the 80s and 70s.
Additional reporting by Tom Topousis and Pedro Oliveira