Summer in the city: A schvitz is a schvitz
It hit 97 degrees in New York last week. That means the RealFeel was more than 100 and subway platforms were hotter. With minimal air circulation in high-rise apartments, and most lacking outdoor spaces, ‘sultry’ is a gentle word of description. At that temperature, expect to see New Yorkers ducking under a tree in Central Park, or sneaking into the Washington Square Park fountain for a quick dip.
Also known as the Urban Heat Island Phenomenon, New York City feels hotter than other most other places. With the amount of asphalt in the concrete jungle, traffic volume, and tall buildings, heat lingers and can’t escape in the evenings like other locations outside the city. Ninety degrees at 7pm is too darned hot. Despite the discomfort, nothing stops New Yorkers. We embrace extreme weather — be it surging humidity, sub-zero with wind, hurricane, or other — for us, it’s business as usual.
I rode the subway downtown to Lower Fifth to see a client. Air circulation and ventilation were non-existent on the 1 train. Completely wilted, I reached my destination at 15th and 5th, but needed a bath towel to be recognizable for my meeting. I dried off in the air-conditioning in about 30 minutes, only to return to the convection oven outside, also known as Manhattan.
Men walk the streets and subways in suits and ties. Others are wearing jeans and sneakers, but they look DRY. I don’t understand it—they barely appear to be warm. Wearing as little as possible without committing a crime, I’m still schvitzing like you wouldn’t believe. Considering ‘naked above the waist’ is legal in Manhattan, perhaps I should’ve peeled off one more layer. That’s okay. I draw the line at a tube top.
Are there any other women out there who are heavy schvitzers? I’ve always been a sweater. I remember in my teens how I perspired rings around the other dancers. According to my doctor, sweating is healthy — it’s a natural way to release the toxins stored in the body. If this is true, I’m definitely the healthiest woman alive.
For whatever reason, it’s more acceptable for a man to sweat, perspire, or drip — however you want to phrase it. But for a woman, it’s less acceptable and unattractive. Even my husband refuses to say that I sweat. He prefers the term “glisten.”
Any way you look at it, it’s the same. A schvitz is a schvitz — no matter who does it. Period.
How will you beat the heat in New York City this summer? As a pro-schvitzer and heat wave dodger, I suggest these cooling options, which won’t involve any nudity unless you prefer it.
Skip the subway
This may not be possible if you’re traveling from one borough to another. If not, leave earlier, use buses and avoid subways on the days with triple-digit RealFeels. When the heat index passes 100 degrees, traveling underground should be limited.
Go for the chilled dessert
I highly recommend GROM. Made with no faux ingredients and lighter than ice cream, this gelato is the ultimate warm-weather splurge. Locations include Bleecker Street, Midtown West and Upper West Side. Icy granitas and frappes made with organic milk are delicious options too.
Take a boat ride
The Staten Island Ferry is one of New York’s best-kept secrets and it’s refreshing on the warmest of days. It’s also free. The Ikea Ferry, operated by the NY Water Taxi is a good alternative. Take a breezy trip and stop in for design inspiration from their small room vignettes. Free on weekends. $5.00 each way on weekdays. Both have stunning views of the city skyline.
Visit the Shops at Columbus Circle
You can hit your favorite stores like J. Crew, Stuart Weitzman, Sephora, and Williams Sonoma, without walking on the steamy streets. Afterward, eat lunch at Bouchon Bakery, dinner at A Voce, or grocery shop at Whole Foods and go home to prepare a healthy, no-cooking-required dish in your air-conditioned apartment.
Indulge in a refreshing summer cocktail
Nothing tastes better than a chilled alcoholic beverage on a steamy summer night.
Try the R & R at Koi Bryant Park — Reposado Tequila, rhubarb puree, fresh lemon, simple syrup, rhubarb bitters and sparkling wine.
Or the Jalapeno Margarita at the W Times Square Living Room
— Muddled jalapeno (no seeds), Excellia Blanco Tequila, Cointreau, simple syrup, and fresh lime juice
New York is turning up the heat again this weekend, so be cool.