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PR- 014-04
January 16, 2004


Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today announced that due to the unusually extreme temperatures and the number of homes that have been without heat, the City in partnership with the American Red Cross, will open a temporary warming center in each of the five boroughs for a limited period during the cold weather emergency.  For more information about warming centers, residents should call 311.

 "The City is opening warming centers for New Yorkers who are without heat in their building to help them get through this severe cold spell," said Mayor Bloomberg. "The Office of Emergency Management along with the American Red Cross will run these centers starting at 4:00 p.m. today, and they will operate much like the temporary cooling centers we operate in the summer.  These will be places for people that do not have heat in their building, have no other options like going to a neighbor or family members house, and need a place to warm up."

"In light of the exceptionally cold weather, the City is opening warming centers for those without heat," said Calvin Drayton, acting OEM Commissioner. "We urge all New Yorkers to take necessary steps to stay warm and safe during this period of cold temperatures."

The City strongly recommends those without heat stay with friends or family if possible.
For residents without heat who have no other options, five temporary warming centers will be open as of 4 p.m. today at the following locations:

  • Bronx: Adlai Stevenson High School, 1980 Lafayette Avenue (between White Plains Road and Pugsley Avenues)
  • Brooklyn: Paul Robeson High School, 150 Albany Avenue (between Bergen Street and St. Marks Avenue)
  • Manhattan: City College, 160 Convent Ave. (between West 136th & 137th Streets)
  • Staten Island: Michael J. Petrides High School, 715 Ocean Terrace (between Milford Avenue and Staten Island Boulevard)
  • Queens: Grover Cleveland High School, 2127 Himrod St. (between Grandview Avenue and Tonsor Street)

About Warming Centers

  • City-run warming centers will be set up at select schools and universities. If possible, bring clothing, bedding, bathing and sanitary supplies, special food and pre-filled prescriptions and other medications to warming centers.
  • Alcoholic beverages, firearms and illegal substances are not allowed in warming centers.
  • You cannot bring pets to warming centers. Only service animals are allowed.
  • Cooperate with center managers and other people in order to make a difficult situation less stressful.

Tips for Staying Warm

The City recommends all New Yorkers heed the following cold weather safety tips to ensure they are adequately protected.  Exposure to cold can cause life-threatening health conditions. Avoid serious conditions such as frostbite and hypothermia, by keeping warm.

  • Wear a hat, hood or scarf, as most heat is lost through the head.
  • Wear layers, as they provide better insulation and warmth.
  • Keep fingertips, earlobes and noses covered if you go outside.
  • Keep clothing dry; if a layer becomes wet, remove it.

Safe Home Heating Tips

Improper use of portable heating equipment can lead to fire or dangerous levels of carbon monoxide. Take precautions to ensure you are heating your home safely.

Carbon Monoxide Safety

  • Make sure all fuel-burning items - such as furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters, and clothes dryers - are operating properly, ventilated and regularly inspected by a professional in order to prevent unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • If you have a working fireplace, keep chimneys clean and clear of debris.
  • Never turn on your oven to heat your kitchen, or operate gas or charcoal barbecue grills, kerosene- or oil-burning heater in an enclosed space.
  • Common signs of carbon monoxide poisoning are headache dizziness, chest pain, nausea.
  • If you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning, call 911, and get the victim to fresh air immediately, and open windows. 
  • Make sure you have a working carbon monoxide detector.

Fire Safety

  • Use only portable heating equipment that is approved for indoor use. 
  • Keep combustible materials, including furniture, drapes, and carpeting at least three feet away from the heat source. NEVER drape clothes over a space heater to dry them.
  • Always keep an eye on heating equipment. Never leave children alone in the room where a space heater is running. Turn it off when you are unable to closely monitor it. 
  • Be careful not to overload electrical circuits. 
  • Make sure you have a working smoke detector in every room. Check and change batteries often.

What to Do If You Lose Heat

Every resident is entitled to heat and hot water.  Tenants without adequate heat or hot water should first speak with the building owner, manager, or superintendent.  If the problem is not
corrected, tenants should call 311.  The Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) will attempt to contact your building's owner to get heat or hot water service restored.

If service has not been restored, HPD will send an inspector to your building to verify the complaint and issue a violation. If your landlord does not live up to his or her legal obligation, HPD will call in emergency contractors to fix the boiler or do whatever is required to get your heat and hot water working again.  If you lose heat, take measures to trap existing warm air, and safely stay warm until heat returns:

  • Insulate your home as much as possible. Hang blankets over windows and doorways and stay in a well-insulated room while power is out.
  • Dress warmly. Wear hats, scarves, gloves and layered clothing.
  • If you have a working fireplace, use it for heat and light, but be sure to keep the damper open for ventilation. 
  • If the cold persists and your heat is not restored, call family, neighbors or friends to see if you can stay with them.
  • Open your faucets to a steady drip so pipes do not freeze.


Edward Skyler / Jennifer Falk   (212) 788-2958

Jarrod Bernstein   (OEM)
(718) 422-4888

Frank Gribbon   (FDNY)
(718) 999-2025

Carol Abrams   (HPD)
(212) 863-5176

More Resources
Warming center locations