Cooling centers haven for vulnerable New Yorkers
Temperatures are expected to exceed 100 degrees today and tomorrow with high humidity. The City is opening over 700 cooling centers around New York as part of its emergency response plan.
This afternoon, I decided to stop by my local cooling center in Wyckoff Gardens to chat with some of my neighbors battling the stifling heat.
Adelaide Miranda, Director to the Senior's Center, explained that the facility normally serves the elderly. However, during the heat wave, the facility is also open to the public from four o'clock onwards. Miranda expects that the center will be open until eleven o'clock tonight and tomorrow. She estimates that the facility has been serving about 30-40 people each day since temperatures soared on Friday.
The cooling center is a gymnasium with card tables and chairs. When I arrived, slightly before four, there were about 12 seniors playing cards and chatting.
Elena Batista took a break from her solitaire game to answer my questions. She calls the cooling center "beautiful" and stressed how important it is for her to have a cool place to go.
Josephine, a retired social worker, echoed Elena's sentiments. Josephine said that without a cool place to go, she and her neighbors without air conditioning would be in serious danger.
"We need this place," she said, "We're like a family here."