Tuesday, August 26, 2014


Photo by David Reilly
I loved the weather in New York City because, first of all, it’s predictable.  You know what to wear because there are four seasons and they pretty much meet their deadlines.  Summer gets rolling in June and fall hits in September.  Winter can drag on, but spring is long and beautiful.

There are only about four weeks that cause any suffering – two weeks in winter when it's so cold you go outside and feel the liquid in your eyeballs freezing and two weeks in the month of August when it’s hard to breathe because the air is so hot and thick.  New Yorkers call it “muggy” and it is a bit like being mugged by the weather.  I had moved to Brooklyn from Austin where 100 days of 100 degrees was not uncommon, so four weeks of hard weather...pish tosh.

Brooklynites spend a lot of time outside in the neighborhood at night in August.  Neighbors in the apartment buildings along the walk set up card tables and played dominoes after dark.  Girls skipped double rope.  People sat talking on the benches across the street in front of the park or on chairs in front of the apartments.  It was like a quiet block party.

A lot of New Yorkers take vacation in August or crowd the beach.  I shut the windows and turned on the air conditioner because all that humidity trapped the smoky air and I could see it and smell it.  And that’s not all I could smell. 

Garbage is picked up three times a week in Brooklyn and the bags sit overnight in the heat so that by morning, after the street people have opened bags and picked through them, there’s a distinct odor.  I quickly passed the dumpsters too.  I can only imagine what a garbage strike in New York would be like in August. 

Traveling by subway can be a problem in August as well.  Sometimes the air conditioning breaks down in a subway car making the trip, even a short one, feel like you're with the Donner Party.  Or an entire train is delayed because someone got arrested or had a heart attack in the train doorway two stations up. MTA isn't all that efficient about getting you that kind of news so you would know to go to another platform and train.  So there you stay, in the train station that's getting more and more crowded with hundreds people radiating like space heaters.  The stations are not air conditioned.  Dripping sweat and roasting, you might have to go outside for air and take a later train.

August in Brooklyn has the kind of weather you might feel in Austin right before a heavy summer rain.  But there's no rain.  In two or three weeks, the New York weather just breaks.  And it’s fall.  Cool, dry (drier anyway), and spectacular as the leaves begin to change.

1 comment:

  1. pretty accurate description, though I haven't been to Brooklyn, i'm Canadian and it applies to Toronto as well. We are having that type of weather this week for sure.