Where Do You Go to Stay Cool When It Is 102°?

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Topshop: Antarctica.
Topshop: Antarctica. Photo: Neilson Barnard / Getty Images

Last August, we experienced a heat wave so unbearable that we asked around for tips on how to beat the heat. (We had already admitted to our own semi-disgusting habits.) Our co-workers obliged, listing off strategies like holding the frozen Lean Cuisine meal you brought for lunch against the back of your neck while you wait for the subway, and falling asleep with ice cubes in your hands. And you readers chimed in, too! One of you even admitted to watching The Net in 1995 in the theater to cool off. Well, today we have a different question, since this week's heat wave will beat last year's and the year before's. If you can't beat the heat, how do you escape it? We asked around.

Intel Chris, for example, has noticed that Nowhere Bar on 14th Street is always very well-air conditioned since it is underground. And after waiting outside for a slice of Artichoke Sicilian pizza next door, it is practically the perfect place to retreat and devour a slice. Jessica Pressler, who does not hang out in gay bars (all the time), has noticed that the Best Buy in Soho is "frigid," and may go in there and accidentally buy a new TV later today. And Intel Dan can't think of a place where he goes to be cold, except the subway, which is kind of weird, but then again he's a person who gets on the train in the morning without anything to read, so: grain of salt.

Photo gal Roxanne Behr has noted that the well-cooled Old Navy in Soho keeps its doors open all day long. "When heading down Broadway, I make sure to stay on that side of the street so as to savor that one moment of cool air when I walk by," she says. At night, she recommends the downstairs lounge at Kenmare, which "looks like a bar from Star Wars, and even when crowded, it is always nice and cold."

Former West Villager Emily Nussbaum and her husband used to hide out in the Stoned Crow because the beer was cold and "also because it's underground and felt very tomblike."

Video vixen Beth Stebner, who walks to work ducking in and out of bodegas and boutiques every three minutes, notes that "Topshop keeps their store somewhere between Antarctica and global-warming-apocalypse-circa–The Day After Tomorrow" temperatures.

Fact checker Emma Barker, who does her research, has deduced that the 1/2/3 is the "coldest subway line to Brooklyn" and is also not crowded, so she therefore tailors her commute to use it on the way to work.

"What I look for is a store with a lot of inexpensive but extremely varied products," recommends senior editor and all-around city guru Chris Bonanos. "That way, you can browse for a long time, but probably won't end up spending too much money. Pearl River Mart is excellent. So are good Italian groceries, like Todaro Brothers on Second Avenue. So is Staples, because you can easily spend a full fifteen minutes just picking out pens, and then move on to the Post-Its."

Strategist editor Jon Steinberg finds refuge on the LIRR train out to Long Beach. "Not the actual beach itself, which is still oppressively hot despite the ocean breeze," he notes. "It’s the air-conditioned hour from Atlantic Center that I love."

Fashion staffer Eve Bertin-Lang sagely notes that you can go hang out at the ice skating rink at Chelsea Piers for free, so long as you don't try to skate. When figure skaters are rehearsing or a hockey game is on, it's a free show.

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