Heat Wave Tips From Someone Who Survived a NYC Summer Sans A/C or Fan


Summer temperatures in New York, while never particularly agreeable, are about to get SO HOT (close to 100 degrees!). The city has announced a heat advisory for the next few days, and is opening hundreds of “cooling centers” where you can go hang out in an air-conditioned Salvation Army or something.

The city has a number of tips for beating the heat, among them using fans and air conditioning, drinking water, staying out of the sun, and such. I have a few tips of my own, having survived last summer in a sixth-floor Lower East Side walk-up without an air conditioner OR A FAN.


1. Hang out in your roommates’ rooms when they’re not around

Both of my roommates had A/C, but I did not. When they were out, I would go into one of their rooms, turn on the air conditioner, and lie motionless on the bed until I felt less like death (hopefully you’re not reading this, Skye and Scott!). I suggest you do the same.

2. Unnecessary showering

Shower multiple times a day. Cold, wonderful showers. The NYC Office of Emergency Management says to “be careful if you take a cold shower to stay cool — sudden temperature changes can make you feel dizzy or sick,” but personally, I never felt anything but fabulous for the five minutes post-shower when I was still relatively cool.

3. Drink a lot

A good thing to do is drink a lot of cold, glorious Colt 45 forties from the bodega downstairs. Not only does it hydrate (alcohol hydrates, right?) but it’s affordable and will aid you in falling asleep in a humid pit of despair.

4. No curtains? Use towels!

After a while, I figured out that my lack of curtains was only exacerbating the problem. Sunlight — horrible, bright sunlight — would literally assault my face at 7 a.m. sharp. The solution? Towels! Although this will leave you with no towels to use after doing tip #2 (see above).

5. Eventually give in and get a fan

If you wake up one night at 3 a.m., trapped in a tangle of sweaty sheets and doom, it’s time to recognize that this can’t go on any longer. I made it two months before finally sucking it up and getting a $15 fan from Rite Aid. ‘Course, by that time, the heat wave was over, but there’s always next summer.