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NY Post
New York Post
18 Nov 2023


NextImg:Subway saunas: NYC’s underground unbearably hot as outside temps fall

As temperatures drop in the Big Apple, a new heat wave has begun — in the subways. 

As usual during cold weather, overzealous heating in subway stations and train cars saw temperatures rise and riders bundled up in winter clothes sweating their Uggs off. 

“It’s extremely uncomfortable … It’s terrible. People are sweaty,” griped Monica Chavez as she made her daily commute from Throggs Neck in The Bronx to her office in the Port Authority bus terminal in Hell’s Kitchen.

The Post rode the rails with a thermometer for two days this week, and recorded temperatures regularly in the mid- to high-70s.

But on Thursday the mercury reached 81 degrees on the northbound 6 train between 14th and 33rd streets, the northbound 4 train between 14th and 23rd streets, and even on the platforms at Grand Central, Union Square and 33rd Street stations.

“Recently, I had a situation where a gentleman was sweating so much so he did this,” said Chavez, 53, swiping her forehead with her hand. “And the sweat sprinkled me! And I was like, ‘Oh God!’ It was so disgusting.”

The Post rode the rails with a thermometer for two days this week, and recorded temperatures regularly in the mid- to high-70s — but on Thursday the mercury reached 81 degrees,
J.C. Rice
Overzealous heating in subway stations and train cars saw temperatures rise and riders bundled up in winter clothes sweating their Uggs off. 
J.C. Rice

The supervisor of operations and programs said she consistently avoids one subway car that’s second from the front when it rolls up to her station because it “literally has to be 100 degrees in there.”

“It’s like an oven,” she said. “I don’t know if [the MTA] knows how to manage the temperature difference. For years, it’s always been an issue.”

Gramercy Park’s Patrick Degrace, 60, agreed, as he broiled on a blazing 6 train between 23rd Street and 33rd Street. “I think the subway doesn’t regulate temperature well overall – summer, winter. I guess after so many years of having packed stations that they would figure it out at some point.”

“Recently, I had a situation where a gentleman was sweating so much so he did this,” said Monica Chavez, 53, swiping her forehead with her hand.
J.C. Rice
“I guess after so many years of having packed stations that [the MTA] would figure it out at some point,” said Patrick Degrace.
J.C. Rice

Savannah, a 24-year-old East Villager who commutes to FiDi five days a week, called herself “the number one proponent of cooling down the subways.”

“It’s cold outside, so I dress for the weather, then I’m sweating on my way to work. It’s so f–king annoying,” she said. 

According to the MTA, the HVAC system operates automatically, relying on data from temperature sensors that “trigger the system to activate heating or cooling.”

“It’s cold outside, so I dress for the weather, then I’m sweating on my way to work. It’s so f–king annoying,” Savannah said. 
Paul Martinka

“High environmental temperatures like [in the subways] can be dangerous if they make it hard for people to maintain their body temperature in a normal range,” warned Jeremy Hess, an emergency medicine doctor and professor at the University of Washington.

“Getting overheated can lead to heat exhaustion, slower cognitive function, and sometimes to heat syncope (loss of consciousness from the heat) and, in severe instances, heat stroke,” said Hess, adding that “some people might overheat quicker than they expect.”