The streets of Bedford's three hamlets were eerily quiet Tuesday, as most residents moved inside to air-conditioned spots or out to town park pools and area lakes for swimming and cooling off.
The temperature reached a record-breaking 101 degrees this afternoon, with a heat index of 103, according to Weather.com. With little to no breeze, stepping outside of the car or an air conditioned store was enough to make sweat beads accumulate even on the smallest of foreheads.
Though Bedford had no official cooling centers open, Bedford Police Lt. Robert Mazurak said that if any power outages led to residents falling ill or needing assistance, they would make arrangements. And parks and recreation staff were taking special care to ensure children were comfortable, said William Heidepreim, Superintendent of Recreation & Parks.
"Day campers had double the usual swimming, and access to sprinklers out on the fields. We're keeping them out of direct sun when they're not in the pool, and encouraging everyone to spray on the sunscreen," he said.
Over at the Bedford Hills Memorial Park, pool director Kristen Kosits said that an extra case of water was delivered to the lifeguards, and camp sports activities had been canceled in favor of pool and sprinkler time. The camp's special heat schedule will be in effect most likely through Friday, said Heidepriem.
Housing areas that have a high concentration of seniors, such as Fellowship Hall on Babbit Road, had friends looking after each other, said resident Helen Santoro. "We check in on one another and we meet in the air-conditioned common area to play cards," she said.
The Katonah Village Library was full of readers cooling off. Ian Gazard, who lives in New York City but spends weekends at his Lake Katonah home, had brought his daughter to the children's reading room for a respite from the heat. And what was after that, to stay cool?
"Water balloons, sprinklers and swimming," he said.
Tom Molito, Ken Sundmacker and Stan Meierfeld were at the "Perks Institute," as they called Perks coffee shop in Katonah. "We come here to solve the world's problems on a global scale," said Molito. The only thing they solved today was staying cool under the umbrella, he added.
Over in Bedford Village, Sue Schroeter and Ariane DeGunzberg paused on a park bench, contemplating their next move to beat the heat. "We're thinking of getting our nails done and heading back to the pool," said Schroeter.
Besides the libraries, pools and coffee shops, residents headed to the movies. The Bedford Playhouse reported that advance sales of evening showtimes were brisk.
The heat advisory is in effect through this evening, and Wednesday's temperatures should be slightly cooler, according to forecasts. Residents can expect a high of 92 degrees tomorrow with a slight chance of showers in the afternoon. More seasonable summer temperatures—low-to-mid 80s—are expected by the weekend.