NYC Summer Safety: Enjoy NYC More This Summer Thanks to Additional Lifeguards and New Cooling Centers

by Mayor Eric Adams

| Photo by Nick Karvounis on Unsplash

We unofficially kicked off the summer in New York City during Memorial Day weekend. Our beaches are open for the season, and our public pools will open on June 27. New York City has so much to see and do that people forget that it is a beach town, with two of the best beaches in the country just a subway ride away!

We want to ensure summer in the city is fun and safe, regardless of weather conditions. That’s why we are hitting the ground running this season, with good news about lifeguard staffing and expanded plans to protect New Yorkers from extreme heat and other emergencies.

Let’s start with lifeguards. As many New Yorkers are aware, there is a national lifeguard shortage. It’s not just an issue in the greatest city in the world. But lifeguard shortages mean fewer places to swim. That’s why the city has been working to change some of the rules in the contract with the union representing city lifeguards, which will allow us to hire more New Yorkers to keep more of our beaches open longer.

Last week, we announced commonsense changes that will modernize and align our lifeguard requirements with state regulations and industry standards. It will allow us to hire more fully qualified lifeguards, keep our beaches and pools open, and improve overall safety for our swimmers, especially our children and young people.

Remember: Swimming and bathing are allowed ONLY when a lifeguard is on duty. Lifeguards are on duty seven days a week, from 10:00 AM until 6:00 PM through September 8. They are looking for your safety, but everyone must do their part. Be aware of surf conditions, especially riptide warnings, which can sweep even experienced swimmers out to sea with little warning.

While a perfect day at the beach is one of the best things about summer, extreme heat can be dangerous and even deadly.

Summers are different than they used to be. With climate change leading to more frequent and intense heat, a heat wave can be more than just uncomfortable—it can be dangerous or even life-threatening. That is why New York City is getting ready in advance—and we want all New Yorkers to be prepared, too.

A working air conditioner or a fan in your home is one of the most effective ways to guard against heat emergencies. If you need help purchasing an air conditioner or fan, you may be able to get help from the Home Energy Assistance Program. Dial 311 or visit for more information and to learn about eligibility.

Our city has also expanded the number of cooling centers available this year. Our new “Cool Options” map will be available 24/7 online this week. This map will show various cooling center options available in our city, including our public libraries, older adult centers, museums, and official New York City Cooling centers.

“Summers are different than they used to be. With climate change leading to more frequent and intense heat, a heat wave can be more than just uncomfortable—it can be dangerous or even life-threatening. That is why New York City is getting ready in advance—and we want all New Yorkers to be ready, too.”

It’s not too early to plan for an extreme heat event. Just like you locate the emergency exit on an airplane ahead of time, it’s a good idea to find a nearby cooling option before you need it. Make sure your family, friends, and neighbors have cooling plans, too — especially those vulnerable to extreme heat, including older folks, families with young children, and people who need to bring their pets with them. While service animals are welcome at all centers, there are also designated pet-friendly cooling centers in every borough, so plan to ensure everyone is safe.

In addition to opening cooling centers citywide, we are expanding our city’s natural cooling system—our tree canopy. Our Parks Department planted over 15,000 new trees in 2024, and we are on pace to plant more than 18,000 trees this year—the highest total in eight years.

Prolonged heat is not our only concern. Our city must be prepared for other extreme weather events like hurricanes, flash floods, and wildfire smoke. Last year, we saw how quickly dangerous wildfire smoke could blanket our city, even from fires thousands of miles away.

This year, we have updated our air quality emergency guidelines with new protocols and monitoring. We are doing more outreach to vulnerable populations and expanding protections for critical services and infrastructure, such as public transportation and hospitals. If serious air quality concerns exist, we can modify school operations and outdoor events and distribute high-quality masks to the public.

New Yorkers are encouraged to sign up for Notify NYC, the city’s free emergency notification system. This system updates everyone about weather, air quality, and other emergencies. Notify NYC is available in 14 languages, including American Sign Language. Visit to sign up, or call 3-1-1. You can also visit for up-to-date information on air quality in your area.

As we saw during Superstorm Sandy, a hurricane heading toward New York City is one of our biggest threats. The upcoming Atlantic hurricane season is expected to be worse than usual because of near-record warm ocean temperatures, among other factors.

New Yorkers can find out if they live in one of the six hurricane evacuation zones by visiting or calling 3-1-1. Make a plan to evacuate by knowing where you will go and how you will get there.

Flash flooding is also a concern for our city. If you live in a below-grade, low-lying, or low-drainage area, make sure you have a plan for extreme flash flooding. As with every other emergency, be prepared in advance. There are excellent resources online at

This administration has made public safety the center of everything we do, including preparing for weather emergencies and protecting people at our pools and beaches. Let’s work together to make the summer of 2024 our safest summer ever.

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