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July 15, 2014

American Summer: Before Air-Conditioning

Even through the nights, the pall of heat never broke.
With a couple of other kids, I would go across 110th to the Park and walk among the hundreds of people, singles and families, who slept on the grass, next to their big alarm clocks, which set up a mild cacophony of the seconds passing, one clock’s ticks syncopating with another’s. Babies cried in the darkness, men’s deep voices murmured, and a woman let out an occasional high laugh beside the lake. I can recall only white people spread out on the grass; Harlem began above 116th Street then.
: The New Yorker

Posted by gerardvanderleun at July 15, 2014 8:28 PM. This is an entry on the sideblog of American Digest: Check it out.

Your Say

Lower Alabama and the like much hotter, wetter, and the bugs keep you off the grass. Before AC, a Yankee came by once in a while, but didn't stay long.

Posted by: BillH [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 16, 2014 6:49 AM

Vermont never got that hot but once or twice a year-reached the low 90's but the humidity never that high. I can remember maybe three times temps reaching 100°, last time was June 1995; I moved to SC in Oct 2009 so I don't know after that.
That's why God made mountains and I live in the foothills now. You can't get me to go down to the Low Country in the summer.

What you deal with in NY and the cities is the humanity all cheek to jowl. Keep it.

Posted by: Vermont Woodchuck [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 16, 2014 7:52 AM

Air conditioning is truly life saving. I say that as a resident of the PNW where we don't really use it much, except in the car.

Posted by: pbird [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 16, 2014 9:13 AM

I grew up in Chicago 'burbs, didn't suffer too much. Now I'm in NM, Borderland, and every year a period of +100F, a week or two. Low humidity, around 10-20% so it is bearable. The po'folk use evaporative coolers, those with a few bucks have regular A/C. Anywhere you go there's three months bad weather and you acclimate to Minnesota winters or Alabama summers, Oregon rains, whatever. I'm eighteen years down here so a nice breezy day in the 70s like up around Chicago seems chilly to me, shrug.

Posted by: chasmatic [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 16, 2014 9:15 AM

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