BOSTON (AP) — Temperatures in the Northeast soared into the upper 90s Thursday for a second day as residents fled to pools and beaches, tourists reorganized their sightseeing itineraries and street vendors and store owners made a small fortune selling bottled water and other cold drinks.
New York’s Central Park was forecast to reach a record 98 degrees. Boston, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., will see similar heat with temperatures inching into the upper 90s and low 100s. The official first day of summer Wednesday set records from New York City to Burlington, Vt.
In the nation’s capital on Thursday, a bit of resourcefulness has helped at least some tourists hit all the hotspots despite the scorching heat.
Nolan Shoffner, 36, who was vacationing with his parents and 10-year-old son, Parker, said the family had rearranged some of their plans, like visiting the Lincoln and World War II memorials on Monday when it was cooler.
Since then, they’ve been doing outdoor activities like the White House and Capitol in the morning and saving cool, indoor museums for the afternoon.
“There’s not a lot of places you can hide,” Shoffner said of the heat as he stood outside the U.S. Capitol after taking a picture with his family.
In Boston, even as temperatures soared into the 90s, many took the heat in stride.
At the city’s Franklin Park Zoo, gorillas sucked on ice treats and ostriches waded through spray mists in an effort to keep cool.
Spokeswoman Brooke Wardrop said the 100-year-old zoo routinely takes weather precautions with its animals.
Meanwhile, many flocked to area beaches to enjoy the stretch of heat. Dave Remillard, 50, went to Wollaston Beach in Quincy, just south of Boston. But instead of going in the water, he sat on a beach chair near his car and sunbathed.
“It’s still a little cold to go swimming. The surf’s still a little cold,” he said, sipping a large cup of iced coffee. “I hope we have a hot summer. We haven’t had one in a while.”
In New Jersey, forecasters say temperatures could combine with humidity to make it feel like 110 degrees in parts of the state. Thermometers might not drop below 80 until the wee hours of Friday morning.
“American Idol” hopefuls in Newark got a bit of a break from the heat Thursday morning when they were ushered inside the Prudential Center to register to audition.
Providence, R.I., which is expected to have a heat index as high as 102, is operating cooling shelters and offering free public transit to discourage driving.
In preparation for the sweltering weather, golf course officials at the Travelers Championship in Connecticut have IVs ready to go at a medical tent where dozens were treated for heat exhaustion Wednesday.
Emergency medical services director John Quinlavin said people need to drink more water at the stations set up around the course. Forecasts for the area call for temperatures just short of 100 degrees.
“People are coming in dizzy, a little nausea, vomiting, generally poor feeling overall,” he said. “We generally have a more mature audience here, and we do see a lot of the elderly having some problems with the heat.”
With high heat and humidity forecast across the region, public health officials warned residents to not leave pets or children in vehicles as temperatures can quickly escalate and lead to heat stroke and death.
Two dogs left in a hot pickup truck in western Massachusetts died as a result of the heat Wednesday afternoon.
Erika Mueller, a co-owner of South Deerfield Emergency Veterinary Hospital, said the well-meaning dog owner left the animals in the truck with a window open and a supply of water, but the temperatures soared into the 90s, which can surpass 100 in a vehicle.
Bashir Saleh, a Times Square food vendor, glanced at a tiny thermometer Thursday morning and looked up with a wry grin: The temperature in his cart was pushing 100.
“I’m exhausted,” said Saleh, a native of Afghanistan who’d been working already eight hours as the heat rose near his propane-gas fueled coffee maker.
But it’s worth it to him, he said. He makes more money on the hottest days selling iced coffee and other drinks.
Sporting a visor with an American flag, Saleh, who’d fled war in his native land, said that even when he’s sweating to earn a living, “I think, God bless America. For a few days, I can sacrifice.”
Contributing to this report were Associated Press writers Pat Eaton-Robb in Cromwell, Conn., Jessica Gresko in Washington, Karen Matthews and Verena Dobnik in New York City, Mark Pratt in Boston, Denise Lavoie in Quincy, Mass., Erika Niedowski in Providence, R.I., Kathy Matheson in Philadelphia and David Porter in Newark.