New York City is under a heat advisory for the next few days, but the city has allocated fewer resources to helping some of Queens' most vulnerable residents stay cool in their neighborhoods.
In response to forecasts that the city will feel hotter than 100 degrees through Tuesday or Wednesday, the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) has opened hundreds of cooling centers throughout the five boroughs — but, many areas of Queens with residents that are at high risk for dying during extreme heat events don't have access to a cooling center in their neighborhood.
As of Monday there was not a cooling center in the southeastern Queens neighborhoods of Hollis, St. Albans, Springfield Gardens, Laurelton, Cambria Heights, or Queens Village — all of which are among the areas where residents have the highest or second-highest risk of heat injury or death, according to the Department of Health.
When Patch reached out to the OEM with questions about these disparities the agency said in a written statement that "many sites that served as cooling centers in previous seasons remain closed due to COVID-19 pandemic but should be open in the coming weeks to New Yorkers," likely alluding to Queens Public Library branches, which usually operate as cooling centers, but are not right now.
The agency also said that New Yorkers can access outdoor cooling options like showers and drinking fountains, many of which "are located in neighborhoods across New York City that may not have traditional cooling centers available at this time."