Not So Great News About Air Conditioners On a Hot Day

Not So Great News About Air Conditioners On a Hot Day

In case every other New York headline hasn't already warned you, it's fucking hot today. And with hot weather comes even more heated news: Air conditioners are bad for you, the environment, and politics; air conditioners may be violating the law; and, after all that, you might not have power this afternoon to turn your air conditioners on.

This morning, Salon.com offered an article on Stan Cox's new book, Losing Our Cool, about how air conditioners have changed the landscape of American society and culture. As the article sums it up:

We stay inside longer, exercise less, and get sick more often -- and the electricity used to power all that A.C. is helping push the fast-forward button on global warming. The invention has also changed American politics: Love it or hate it, refrigerated cooling has been a major boon to the Republican Party. The advent of A.C. helped launch the massive Southern and Western population growth that's transformed our electoral map in the last half century.

Great. Not only do we feel the pressure from the heat, now we have to feel guilty about trying to stay out of it.

But maybe not: City Room blogged today that Con Edison, New York's largest energy provider, might not be able to stand the heat this afternoon, having already suffered a significant power failure once today. "About 1,200 customers lost power around East 237th Street in the Bronx," they reported. "A spokesman said the company hoped to restore power to those customers by 2 p.m."

Awesome -- just long enough to roast a stale Fourth of July hot dog on the floor of your new apartment-cum-oven.

City Room added, "With a forecast for the temperature to reach triple digits across the city by afternoon, Con Edison officials were preparing for the highest demand for power they had ever had to supply. Their forecast was for 13,450 megawatts, a surge they said -- fingers crossed -- that they were prepared for."

We're crossing our fingers, too, but even if the AC is still running city-wide, we may have to miss out on one of summer's greatest city treats -- the blasts of cool air on the streets as we pass by stores. WNYC reports that Councilwoman Gail Brewer of the Upper West Side hopes to conduct surveys during this week's heat wave to see if stores are complying with the city law, which states that all stores over 4,000 square feet or chains that have at least five stores in the city will have to shut their doors if they have the air conditioner running.

New Yorkers, we just can't win. For some cooling consolation, here's an article about how to make ice cream -- just hope that you'll have power to facilitate your creamy creations, because it's only going to get hotter.

[awerner@villagevoice.com]


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