22 July 2011
'100 Degrees By Noon'New York. Day off.
I fully appreciate that there are few things in life which make less compelling reading than a man banging on about the weather, but in this instance it’s been so extreme that I can’t not. The warnings were out that this was to be a day like no other and it did not disappoint. The CNN building sits opposite the Hotel Fabulous and on its façade is a large LED screen continuously displaying the time and temperature. Europeans will forgive me for slipping into the Fahrenheit, but that’s the way they do things over here and besides, it sounds more dramatic to say that it was 100 degrees by noon. The air outside was dead still and solid, people shuffled from one air-conditioned zone to the next and I don’t think I’ve ever seen fewer vehicles on the streets of New York during the hours of daylight.
I met some friends for breakfast in the 35th floor lobby lounge of the Mandarin Oriental, which is a lovely place to hang out, with a view of the park and roaring air-con. From here we could watch the thermometer continue its rise – the highest I saw was 102F, though there’s rumour of it having made a couple of degrees above that. It was nuts – any notion of actually doing anything went out of the window and, being Friday, you could feel the city evacuating.
The cinema is always a good option when its hot, so there was a move for a group outings. My colleagues were up for going to see Bridesmaids asking me along but, frankly, I'd rather be put to death. I opted for a documentary called Tabloid, about Joyce McKinney, the former Miss Wyoming who became obsessed with a Mormon missionary in the 1970s, to the point where she followed him to England when he went there on mission. There (depending on whose story you believe) she kidnapped him, took him to a cottage in the west of England, tied him to a bed and forcibly had sex with him for three days straight. He escaped, she was arrested but released on bail to a gutter-press frenzy and promptly became the toast of London’s demi-monde. I remember it happening, as I was just leaving home and moving to London at the time. I remember that it seemed fantastically bizarre then. It still does, now I come to think about it.
Strolled home at midnight, the CNN building still reading 90 degrees.