As temperature reached 104 degrees on Friday in New York, people have asked in the midst of the heat wave if I'm used to it, since I've spent most of my life in the South.
Of course I'm not used to it, I say. Nobody ever gets used to 104 degree temperatures.
But here's the kicker: I've rarely experienced a temperature of 104 degrees, even living in the South for most of my life.
What I have experienced over the years is some of the hottest days in my life in New York.
I love the city, and the area, but no place feels as hot as New York when the temperature rises.
Not even close.
It's the massive concrete, which warms in the day like iron on a burner. It's the humidity from all the surrounding water, which steams in the heating of the day like a fresh, frothy espresso. It's the transportation system, which huffs and puffs more insult to injury.
Nobody could ever get used to that. We can only hope and pray it doesn't last long. Forecasts, however, call for the record heat to last until Sunday.
More troubling than daytime high temperatures, however, are high nighttime low temperatures. A Pepsi truck driver told me this morning he checked the temperature in the city at 3:30 a.m. today. The result: 82 degrees.
Something is wrong with that, he said.
And he was right.
That's why subway station terminals boiled in an early morning commute that began at 6:45 a.m. Already the temperature was nearing 90, but in the bowels of the city it was a lot hotter than that. Once inside the train, all was OK, but only for as long as the air-conditioned ride lasted.
I never thought I would say I hated to leave the subway, said one co-worker. I don't like the subway.
But on this day, as 82 degrees overnight began to work its way up to 104 degrees and rising by mid-afternoon, the subway was oddly a respite. The problem was waiting for the train, as temperatures in the underground stations rose to near 100 by early morning.
Many New Yorkers simply called it a week early Friday, leaving the office and heading out of the boiling city for an extra long weekend.
Nobody should be here, said one man to another, heading out the door.
The problem, though, was that there was nowhere to go nearby to escape the heat. As New York seared at 104 degrees Friday, Washington, D.C. checked in at 102 degrees. Boston was a warm 100 degrees. Philly was basking in 100 degrees as well.
To escape the searing heat, one would have to get farther away -- heading South perhaps, since in Atlanta, Georgia on Friday afternoon, as New York boiled over, the temperature was only 90 degrees.