Unrelenting heat wave bakes half the U.S.; 30 dead
“A lot of times I’ll roll over just to cool off,” said Robert Henry of Carmel, just north of Indianapolis. “The biggest challenge is walking coming back up carrying a kayak three-eighths of a mile in this heat.”
In Manhattan, customers who stepped in to see “Jiro Dreams of Sushi” at an IFC movie theater were there for more than entertainment.
“Of course we came to cool off!” said John Villanova, a writer who was on his second sweaty T-shirt of the day — expecting to change again by evening.
He said that earlier, he rode a Manhattan subway back and forth for a half an hour, with no destination in mind, “because it really keeps you cool.”
In cities around the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic region, people struggled to find ways to cope with the heat, but at least one such effort ended in tragedy.
In Aurora, Ill., Gene Autry Pryor, 52, had been drinking with three adult friends near Veterans Memorial Island and jumped into the Fox River to cool off, police said. The man’s friends lost sight of him after a few minutes and then spotted him floating face down and pulled him to shore. Pryor died Friday evening.
One man figured out a way to beat the heat: stay in the car. Roger Sinclair of Batavia, Ill., was headed home Saturday from Detroit, where he’d spent a few days visiting an old friend and catching Friday night’s Tigers game. The Tigers won 4-2, but the conditions were less than ideal.
“It was 97 at the first pitch and still in the 80s at the time of the last out,” he said. “It was tough. There was no breeze.”
Sinclair said he had been spending hours in his air-conditioned car to stay out the worst of the heat.
In Chicago, street magician Jeremy Pitt-Payne said he has been working throughout the three-day stretch of triple-digit temperatures, but acknowledged that he might doff the Union Jack leather vest by the end of the day, even though it’s part of his British magician character along with the black top hat.
But he had a secret for beating the heat — he starts his shows at 2 p.m. “when the Trump Tower is gracious enough to block out the sun” along his stretch of sidewalk.
At New York City’s Penn Station, the air conditioning was falling short of full capacity. Amtrak officials have said for weeks that they’ve been trying to adjust it. The doors were left wide open at a half dozen locations around the two-block-wide underground station.
“It’s so hot I feel like I want to faint,” said Betty De la Rosa, 19, of the Bronx, who was working at a station doughnut shop.
The heat didn’t stop Taylor Heaton of Houston from joining friends in Washington for her bachelorette party. They spent three hours walking the National Mall, seeing the Washington Monument and other tourist sites; they cooled off for a bit at the Lincoln Memorial, but kept walking until they reached the Smithsonian museum.
How hot was it by Saturday afternoon?