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Photos: How New Yorkers Are Keeping Cool Against the Backdrop of Certain Environmental Collapse

City residents are hitting the Big Apple’s beaches, pools, and parks to find some much-needed chill as the planet burns.

2:00 PM EDT on July 22, 2022

A woman and a small child swim in a city pool
Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office|

Kosciuszko Pool in Brooklyn on Monday , July 27, 2020.

This week, as the city faces its longest heatwave in nearly a decade, everyday New Yorkers are greeting the existential threat of an uninhabitable climate with characteristic ingenuity. According to the National Weather Service, heat advisories will be in effect through Sunday; the heat index will continue to hover over 100 degrees, straining the city’s electrical grid and threatening the health of vulnerable residents.

But as elected officials stall on meaningfully addressing corporate emissions and Kylie Jenner’s private jet circles California in an endless lazy crawl, city residents are hitting the Big Apple’s beaches, pools, and parks to find some much-needed chill against the backdrop of certain environmental collapse.

Local kids cool off in one of New York’s many splash pools. By the time they’re adults, blistering and life-threatening heatwaves will be increasingly frequent as global temperatures tick up another few degrees.

Doc (center) and his dog Ladybug (left) enjoy relaxing outside their Bed-Stuy home to YouTube playlists. Their friend says he’s parked across the street and sits in his car’s A/C intermittently to cool off. Unfortunately, when New York is an uninhabitable and sweltering swamp our furry friends will be some of the first to go.

Locals stand in line for a cold treat from the iconic Mister Softee truck. The heat dome that’s settled across a large majority of the United States threatens 100 million people. In Kansas, 2,000 cows died in a single day.

A family cools off the New York way: With a busted-open fire hydrant. Also pictured: rows of metal boxes with wheels that account for 27 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. Global temperatures are currently higher than they’ve been at any point in the past 125,000 years. The U.N. predicts a dramatic increase in floods and tornadoes of apocalyptic intensity.  

Manny (left) and his buddy Lawrence take a break from the high temperatures in a local park. They say it’s important to stay hydrated and dress for the heat in button-up shirts and above-the-knee shorts. There are currently over 2 million acres on fire in Alaska.

As the sun goes down, Brooklyn residents leave their air-conditioned homes and offices to descend on the city’s parks for a free summer concert. Also descending: The “doomsday glacier,” a block of ice the size of Britain, which scientists worry will break off of the Antarctic peninsula sometime in the next four years.

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