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Which NYC neighborhoods offer relief from summer heat?

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These New York neighborhoods may offer some respite during summer’s warmest months

Aerial view of green trees in Central Park, with tall buildings in Manhattan in the background, and a blue sky.
The Upper West Side’s proximity to Central Park help keeps its residents cool.
Max Touhey

We’ve officially entered the dog days of summer—not to mention the fact that July was the hottest month ever recorded in history—which is likely driving New Yorkers to the beach, outdoor pools, and air-conditioned spots in droves. But even though you can’t avoid waiting on furnace-like subway platforms in the summer, you can seek respite from summer’s heat by living in a neighborhood that has its own built-in cooling abilities (lots of trees that provide shade, for instance).

But where are those areas? Localize.city, which aims to provide neighborhood information to buyers and renters before they move, looked at some of the factors that can help keep a neighborhood cool—specifically, access to parks and the number of street trees, and how much sunlight buildings get over the course of a day.

And unsurprisingly, the neighborhoods that topped their list are ones that are close to some of the city’s biggest parks: The top four includes Brooklyn Heights (close to Brooklyn Bridge Park, although that space is notably lacking in mature trees), Prospect Heights (near Prospect Park, of course), and the Upper West Side, which is bookended by Riverside and Central Parks.

The final neighborhood in the top four ranking is Concourse in the South Bronx, which includes four parks (Joyce Kilmer, Macombs Dam, Franz Siegel, and Mullally, which has a large pool), as well as buildings along Grand Concourse that offer some shady respite in the daytime.

It’s important to understand Localize’s methodology for this report: The company focused on “concrete-heavy neighborhoods where tree cover and nearby parks provide some escape as opposed to some of the suburban-like neighborhoods at the edge of the city that may have lawns and yards and also be cooler”—meaning outlier areas like Ditmas Park, Riverdale, or City Island were excluded.

But those concrete-heavy neighborhoods are ones where the “urban heat island” effect is most likely to be felt, and where an abundance of foliage and park access will be most useful. And notably, a study conducted in 2014 found that neighborhoods in lower Manhattan, as well as those surrounded by the tall glass buildings of Midtown, were hotter than those uptown.

But no matter where you live, it’s probably good to invest in a strong fan or air conditioner to get through the next few weeks.