Living in a studio apartment in New York city makes it necessary to enjoy the space outside the apartment, as well as inside. Our surroundings (restaurants, walks, parks, views) are important to round out life. We are walking distance to Central Park, which is my favorite place in New York City. But when the outside is dangerous, even deadly, what can you do?
New York City has been suffering through an unprecedented heat wave, that has made it feel like over 100 degrees for several days in a row. Even apartments with air conditioning are not immune from it. “Good” air conditioning—the kind you experience in a movie theater, or a hedge fund office—is not usually installed in older buildings in Manhattan. As a result, we are doing some old-fashioned heat wave workarounds. We have an ancient air conditioner installed in the wall that is useless. It blows dirty air, and cost hundreds of dollars to run for a week. So I bought a small air conditioner to sit next to my computer, while I work. It uses ice, but the ice melts so quickly that it just blows air. We also have an air cooled portable cooler with wheels. You pour water into it, and I add an icetray full of ice and a few drops of lavender essential oil (kills bacteria and makes it smell good). We move it around to areas in the apartment, so that it can blow cool air on us.
But the hardest part of all of this is that we cannot go outside without some form of danger. It is not just too hot, but deadly. So, all those planned walks to Central Park (which is now an oasis of cool green), are impossible. Even walking a block to a small store is dangerous. Breathing outside is like breathing in oven air. It is very, as they say, “challenging”.
So we take each day at a time. Others are suffering through this, too. I empathize with them and tell them that cooler days are coming. In the meantime, I found this great photo of Gapstow Bridge in Central Park, in the autumn, when leaves are turning and it is a cool 45 degrees. I am staring at it. I know I cannot make it cooler by staring at this photo of a crisp Fall day in Central Park, but staring makes waiting for Fall a little easier.
C. Ruth McBeath-Urrutia