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How Bay Ridge coped with scorching heat

It’s too darn hot!

Lots of Bay Ridge residents were probably quoting that Cole Porter lyric from “Kiss Me Kate” on Friday, Saturday and Sunday as they sought relief from the heat wave that saw temperatures soar near 100 degrees.

The Summer Stroll on 3rd event went on without a hitch with thousands of people walking along a car-less, 10-block stretch of Third Avenue between Bay Ridge Avenue and 80th Street to enjoy live music and sidewalk cafes. The stroll is sponsored by the Merchants of Third Avenue.

But the hot weather did have some casualties, as events were canceled or postponed by organizers seeking to spare participants from heat exhaustion.

June Johnson, a member of Community Board 10 who organizes the New York Road Runners Club’s weekly Open Run in Shore Road Park, said the NYRR canceled the run set for Saturday morning.

“People were so disappointed,” Johnson told the Home Reporter. “Die-hard runners run in any kind of weather.”

Still, Johnson said she isn’t sure how many weekend athletes would have shown up in the park. 

“It’s such a cross-section of people who come out to run — mothers pushing baby strollers, older people who walk instead of run. I don’t know how many of them would have come out in that heat,” she said.

Leaders of community institutions, like the Bay Ridge Center, extended their hours of operation and reached out to elderly residents to urge them to stay indoors over the weekend.

“We stayed open longer, until 6 p.m. We normally close at 4,” said Todd Fliedner, deputy executive director of the Bay Ridge Center, a senior citizen program at 411 Ovington Ave.

The center’s leaders kept the place open to give older adults the chance to cool off in an air-conditioned space.

“We also called all of our high-risk clients, people who are home-bound and who we delivered meals to, to make sure they were safe and comfortable. For the seniors who were here with us in the center, we talked to them about ways to keep safe in excessive heat, such as making sure to stay hydrated,” Fliedner said.

While most people stayed home with the air conditioner on, there were a few shoppers who ventured outdoors. A video shot by Loudlabs NYC showed people casually strolling along 86th Street near Fifth Avenue.

The shoppers apparently weren’t in the mood for ice cream, however. An ice cream truck driver named Hassan (he did not give his last name) said business was slow. “It’s too much hot. No customers. Everybody is home,” he said.

Local elected officials monitored the situation throughout the weekend, staying in close touch with city agencies.

“The first heat wave of the summer was a doozy,” State Sen. Andrew Gounardes told the Home Reporter. “My biggest priority was making sure residents were informed on how to locate cooling centers and stay safe in the heat emergency. We blasted out information to thousands of residents and monitored the situation throughout the weekend. It was a rough weekend, but we got through it as a community.”

Bay Ridge showed its community spirit during the heat wave, according to Councilmember Justin Brannan.

“The brutal heat over the weekend didn’t stop Bay Ridge from coming out to Third Avenue Summer Stroll on Friday or catching a movie at Dyker Beach Park on Saturday night. Much like other weekends, my office was in constant contact with city agencies to address any issues related to the heat or anything else that came up,” said Brannan, who worked in his office on Saturday and Sunday, answering emails and responding to phone calls from constituents.

“I think all in all, people handled it very well,” he added.

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