Though I currently live in this concrete jungle that we all call New York City, I don't have air-conditioning. I know, it's crazy -- especially considering that it's 2012 and AC units are pretty fucking accessible. Don't worry though, I'm not one of those weirdos who's like, "I grew up without air-conditioning so I'm totally used to it." Or better yet, the "I'm from Texas" transplants who tell me "the heat in New York is nothing compared to back home." No. Those people are all lying. Because it's hot as balls out there and I know that no matter what is said, they, like me, want nothing more than to be in air-conditioning all the time.
Sadly, my building is super old and comes equipped with electrical wiring unable to handle AC units. I've tried every window and outlet with every sort of generator/backup I could buy, but the circuits always blow. At one point I actually considered installing another circuit breaker in my building. Since my place is a rental I asked the landlord about this, but she seemed iffy about it. I didn't feel like fighting, so instead, I live with fans.
We're not here to try and solve my no-AC problem, though (though I'm sure most of you will take to the comments section and call me a fucking moron and tell me a million ways to solve my AC problem). No, let's instead talk about how you can use other peoples' AC to your advantage. I've learned throughout the years that living without AC really only sucks in the evenings, when you have to sleep. During the day, there are plenty of places you can go to totally harp off of someone else's air-conditioning: Gyms. Coffee shops. Grocery stores. They all tend to be well refrigerated. But here's the catch: you usually have to buy something to hang out there. You can't just walk in a gym without a membership. Coffee shops expect you to purchase a beverage or treat of some kind before popping a squat all day. Grocery stores don't necessarily demand you spend any money, but there's only so many times you can walk the aisles of C-Town before giving in to a bag of Milanos or two.
But there are places in this neighborhood where one can bask in some artificial cold air, completely free of charge:
Okay, so it's a store, meaning you should probably buy something if you're going to spend copious amounts of time there. But if you've ever been to a Barnes and Noble before, you know that no one cares what the fuck you're doing as long as you have a book in your hand. Two weeks ago, I spent 4 hours doing nothing in the Park Slope B&N and no one said shit to me. I just went downstairs, grabbed a few design books that I wanted to browse through, found a corner, and popped a squat. I swear, I could have stayed all day (well, almost all day. The Park Slope B&N is open everyday from 9am-11pm).
Just like Barnes and Noble, the Brooklyn Public Library is a great place to hang out and read while basking in the glorious AC. It's also a pretty killer place to bring your computer and get some work done. Come early, and you'll most likely find a table to take over for the remainder of the day. But unlike Barnes and Noble, the hours at the Brooklyn Public Library Central Location suck major balls for most of the weekend. While they're open 9AM-9PM Monday - Thursday, the place is only open 10AM-6PM on Fridays and Saturdays, and 1PM-5PM on Sundays (the hours at the Park Slope location may be better - if it ever re-opens). Still, it's a pretty comfortable place to hang out, and people tend to leave you alone. One weekend I brought an iPad, plugged in, and watched 5 hours of HBO GO. And while the AC isn't as strong as I'd like it to be, it was way better than being in my hot-ass apartment.
3. METHODIST HOSPITAL EMERGENCY ROOM
Okay. Hear me out on this one. It probably sounds crazy to you, but I'm telling you -- the Methodist Hospital Emergency Room is by far the best place to harp on free air-conditioning in the Slope without spending a dime. Last weekend, I spent 8 FUCKING HOURS in the emergency waiting room with my sick grandma, and aside from the frustration of waiting to hear what was going on with her, it was glorious. Plenty of seats. Television. A vending machine close by. I could have moved in. Sure, I was there with a patient. But I'm pretty sure I could have been there by myself, healthy as can be, and no one would have given a fuck. It's not like anyone behind the counter was paying attention. I'm telling you, if the heat this weekend is as bad as last weekend, that's where I'll be, for sure.
So those are the three places I'd go to for free, daytime air-conditioning. You guys have any other recommendations?