Air-conditioned movie theaters, public libraries, and stores are for beginners. A grande iced latte held against the wrist or a brain-freeze-inducing pint of ice cream is strictly kindergarten. The byzantine byways of midtown’s air-conditioned buildings—like the route from West 48th Street through Rockefeller Center, Saks Fifth Avenue, the Palace hotel, the Park Avenue Atrium, and Citibank to 53rd and Lexington—are old news. For the truly creative heat warrior, there’s an arsenal of technological and scientific weapons to choose from. But do they work?
Brookstone sells Mr. Mister ($25), a handheld fan that emits a fine water spray. It takes the edge off, but adds extra sweat-inducing pounds to your load. The Sharper Image Personal Cooling System 2.0 ($29.95) is a wraparound neck choker that contains an aluminum plate, battery-operated fan, and cold water. The effect is minimal, and you look like you’ve joined a Trekkie cult. Or how about a cooling fanny pack? Misty Mate’s Arctic Blast ($99.99) holds a mini motor fan that blows up to 25 mph and a built-in water tank that emits mist. It’s more likely to soak your shirt than cool your face.
Clothing is where you’ll find the cutting edge of cooling technology. Impulse by Jeffrey Grübb’s microsilver sportswear, available at Equinox in July, contains “antimicrobial” metallic thread, which reflects light and repels sweat—and it does feel light and porous. Nike’s new Sphere React Cool clothing (available in July) actually expands off the body when you perspire. More inventively, Hammacher Schlemmer’s Keep-A-Cool Head Cap ($24.95) fills with cold water and does have a cooling effect—but even the slightest leak wreaks havoc on hair in high humidity. For the bald, perhaps, it’s safe.
The spa industry, naturally, has also risen to the occasion. Paul Labrecque’s cooling scalp revitalizer ($80) has a pleasantly chilling, if transient, tingle. The water treatment ($125) at Salon Ishi involves repeated application of ice-cold compresses. It does help defrizz your hair.
There are more permanent solutions. Botox can be injected under the arms to decrease sweat-gland activity. In extreme heat, Dr. Neil Sadick, a Park Avenue dermatologist, lets patients sit in front of the Zimmer cooler, a machine that blasts cold air onto skin as an anaesthetic. If all else fails, beg for nasal gastric lavage—a channeling of ice fluid from the nostrils into the stomach, used in cases of extreme fever.