July 7, 2020 By Allie Griffin
The city will open fire hydrants on two Queens streets to help New Yorkers cool off during summer heat waves.
The FDNY and NYCDEP will install spray caps on hydrants on 39th Avenue between Woodside Avenue and Barnett Avenue in Sunnyside and 120th Street between Atlantic Avenue and Liberty Avenue in South Richmond Hill during heat advisories.
Both stretches are currently closed to traffic from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day under the Open Streets initiative, which allow pedestrians and cyclists to take over the roadway for social distancing purposes.
City workers will add spray caps ahead of heat advisories on select Open Street blocks across the five boroughs, including the two in Queens.
“Running through the spray of a fire hydrant is a venerable New York City tradition and a sign that summer is in full swing,” DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said.
Spray caps limit the amount of water from a hydrant from 1,000 gallons per minute to about 25 gallons per minute. They can also be requested for free from local firehouses. The FDNY will send people out to turn them on and off at set times.
The cool hydrant spray will also help keep vulnerable New Yorkers safe from illnesses like heat stroke.
“New Yorkers are in for a long, hot summer, and staying cool is an essential part of physical health, mental health, and public safety,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said.
The city selected streets in areas where residents are at a greater risk for heat-related illnesses and death based on the Heat Vulnerability Index.
The initiative called “Cool Streets” is part of a larger citywide program to help New Yorkers keep cool during summer heat with facilities like park sprinklers and public AC-ed buildings known as cooling centers.