- Associated Press - Monday, July 20, 2015

NEW YORK (AP) - Utilities battled outages and reduced power in some places, pools stayed open late and residents sought out air conditioning and shade Monday as the metropolitan area sweltered through a hot spell.

As the temperature soared over 90 degrees in Central Park for a second humid day in a row, hot dog vendor Mohamed Hamroush manned his cart on a stifling midtown Manhattan corner.

“It’s too hot, so hot,” said Hamroush. Originally from Egypt, he’s no stranger to hot weather, but he says, yes, it’s the humidity.

Still, rather than get hot-tempered, “I just keep down, calm down” said Hamroush, who expected to sell as many as six boxes of bottled water Monday.

Meanwhile, local utilities said more than 19,000 homes and businesses on Staten Island lost power, as did about 5,000 on Long Island. Crews were working to fix the problems and determine their causes, the utilities said.

The city’s main utility, Consolidated Edison, reduced power to about 138,000 customers in Queens and Brooklyn to protect cables while fixing them. PSEG Long Island activated a voluntary plan that lets it cycle 30,000 homes’ and businesses’ air conditioners on and off from afar. The utility wasn’t concerned that the overall demand for electricity would be too high to handle, but the combination of hot weather and heavy use can cause problems on power lines, spokeswoman Elizabeth Flagler said.

City officials urged people to turn off any lights and appliances they could and not to crank air conditioners down too far.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said the last thing he wanted to see was any failure in the electrical system.

“At the same time those people who do need to get to air conditioning should take advantage of it, for everyone, there should also be mindfulness about not using any more energy than we have to,” he said.

The city extended public pool hours and invited people to chill out at more than 500 cooling centers in libraries, senior centers and other city and community buildings, and the state environmental department issued an air quality health advisory warning young children, people with respiratory diseases and some others to avoid strenuous outdoor activities. And city Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett had some sobering advice: “Water is the best beverage for staying hydrated - beer is not.”

The city had no reports of heat-related injuries, Emergency Management Commissioner Joseph Esposito said.

Valerie Herman thought about taking her two young daughters to a museum, but she decided instead to try shady Chelsea Waterside Park, on Manhattan’s West Side.

“On a hot day, honestly, this is the only thing to do,” she said.

Tuesday’s high was expected to top or be near 90 again, the National Weather Service said.


Associated Press writer Lejla Sarcevic contributed to this report.

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