Some Long Islanders sought refuge from the blistering heat Saturday at beaches, pools and ice rinks, while others chose to sweat it out — literally.
On the hottest day of the year, Peter Huml of Setauket rebuilt a rock drainage channel in his front yard.
“I’m kind of accustomed to it,” Huml, 67, said as he was about to start a fourth hour outside. “I’m a Long Islander, but I spent 35 years in Texas.”
The high temperature was 96 degrees in Islip — one degree shy of the record for the date, the National Weather Service said.
If temperatures Sunday and Monday also top 90, as meteorologists expect, the region will have its first official heat wave.
As the weather progressed from hot to scorching early Saturday afternoon, Susan Prince and her son, James, 15, headed for the pool at Bethpage Community Park.
“We wanted to get outside but still stay cool,” Prince said. “There’s a nice breeze today, so it’s not too bad. The breeze is good.”
For those more sensitive to the heat, Nassau County announced that cooling centers would be open through the weekend in Bethpage, Massapequa, Rockville Centre, Uniondale and Woodbury. During the peak heat Saturday, however, the centers were largely empty.
Some people had little choice but to stay outside. They had a job to do.
Produce peddler Najmul Haque, 32, of the Bronx, stood dripping with sweat at the corner of East 6th and 1st Avenue in Manhattan.
He was more than nine hours into a 7 a.m.-to-7 p.m. shift selling fruits and vegetables. He kept bottled water and a towel within reach.
“Hot or cold, I have to work,” he said, stocking packaged mushrooms beneath an umbrella. “I need money. I want to stay in New York. I want to stay in the air conditioning, but what am I going to do?”
Tom Pandalianoof Farmingdale had to get his son ready for a Boy Scout camp in the Catskills that starts Sunday. In the noon sun, he and other parents were loading bags of charcoal, storage containers and other equipment into a trailer parked outside St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church in Farmingdale.
“I’ve got my Gatorade and bottles of water,” Pandaliano said.
Kudan Sen of Plainview decided to skip the outdoors. He and his 5-year-old sons, Rohan and Rishan, visited the Town of Oyster Bay Ice Skating Center instead.
The boys had scheduled lessons, but Sen hit the ice, too.
“This is one class I’m looking forward to today,” he said. “I’m going to go soak in the cold.”
With Sarah Armaghan, Matthew Chayes and David Olson