BY Crystal Rodriguez
The heat comes in waves and falls heavy on the inhospitable streets. The air is thick and stifling. Even with a merciful gust of wind here and there the heat is quick to encircle me once again with its threats of suffocation. The sun beats the air of its moisture and my mouth dries as soon as I finish my dripping Popsicle.
Yet even with this heat, Uptown finds a way to adapt. The ice cream trolleys are handing out frio frios and helado de coco frenetically only pausing to wipe the sweat from their brows.
Clothing is sparse as children and adults walk around shirtless or in tank tops. Women flicker fans in front of their faces and behind their necks in a race to cool beads of sweat. Children pull at ice cream in plastic wrappers making sure they don’t waste one sweet drop of helado.
But lack of clothing and consumption of ice cream isn’t the only way New Yorkers know how to keep cool. No, here in New York everything is done bigger and better.
The floodgates opened in New York. As multitudes of fire hydrants are cranked open to release their crystal cool anecdote of thirst and heat. Ahh water.
Pure, freezing, water shoots up from the ground. The children desperately gather around the hydrant as if it was a sacred fountain. Once the first spray soaks them through and through, the merriment begins.
The water surges through the air with resiliency – cutting through the heavy atmosphere and the sun’s rays. Beads of water rise high and fan out as they disperse, mimicking rainfall.
Children stick their faces in the spray as well as tongues trying to absorb as much of the water as possible. The water lifted the city’s spirits as children, teens and adults run through the streets soaking wet.
It was a beautiful sight to see. The asphalt shimmered as the water reflected the sun. Bare feet pattered on the sidewalk and the laughter from the refreshed children could be heard a block away.
So beautiful in fact, that I slung my camera behind my back and ran my hand through the hydrant’s freezing water.
Leave it to New Yorkers, even in one of the hottest heat waves of the summer they’re still upbeat and living it up.
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