Dog Days of Summer

It’s time for the “dog days of summer” in New York. Most days are hot & humid. Some are just hot & less humid. There are frequent thunderstorms and rainbows. The public pools are crowded. Many locals desert the city for beaches on Long Island & the Jersey Shore or head north to lakes and mountains. Everything slows down—except the floods of tourists from around the world.

I like it!

It’s not that I’m crazy about the heat, it’s more that the odd quiet of the laundry room in my building and the “gone fishing, be back after Labor Day” signs in some restaurant windows, remind me that for a few weeks we can all take a beat and “go fishing.” In my case, fishing for daydreams and ideas, for plans for the fall, for business proposals, and redecorating schemes for my apartment.

This, of course, brings me to the phrase DOGS DAYS OF AUGUST or DOGS DAYS OF SUMMER. I’m picturing a lazy hound, laying belly up in the shade, but the phrase comes from ancient Greek astronomy/astrology. It is when Sirius, the Dog Star, appears in the July and August sky.

The ancients feared fevers and catastrophes during the seasonal heat, and thought indolence and a summer stupor accompanied Sirius. Now, in a city as hectic and ambitious as New York, I guess we both fear and enjoy the lure of laziness. It’s hard to get anything done in August. People are either out-of-town or simply not interested in deadlines, projects and rushing to meetings. It’s too hot to get excited and daydreaming seems to fill endless, unproductive hours. It’s a strange stretch of weeks before everyone gets serious again.

A little lethargy goes a long way, but I think we need to slow down a little when the weather report says, Hazy, Hot & Humid—again!


The reflection of Midtown Manhattan building, in the pool of the garden at MoMA. One of my summer haunts.


  1. Back before globalisation, Australia used to shut down between Christmas and Australia Day [end of January]. Literally. That was when factories closed and those who could headed to seaside towns to get away from the heat. [Our summer is December to February].
    Things don’t shut down to the same extent now because airconditioning has become so ubiquitous, but there is still that sense of summer holiday in the air, perhaps because it’s the school holidays as well.
    I hate summer so I won’t wax lyrical but I’m glad you get to enjoy yours. 🙂

    • Candy Korman

      I used to hate summer too! The heat, the humidity, the general stickiness, and the lack of energy. But now… I think I’ve changed. I don’t mind sweating so much and enjoy the strange slowing down. Maybe I’m growing old? Of course, I love the autumn. There’s a spring in my step when the world clicks into high gear. If I were a tourist, I’d probably want to visit NYC during the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Yes, the days are short and the nights are long (the shortest and longest), but the store windows are filled with holiday displays, the theater season is in high gear, the lights, the spirit… Maybe I’m just learning to like ALL the seasons? Even the dog days of summer?

  2. I like to go up to Sun Valley in the off season. Even though some restaurants are closed, it’s just nice to be able to meander around without the usual throng of tourists and the occasional celebs. Humidity is never much of a problem here. It’s a DRY heat.

    • Candy Korman

      Sounds like fun!
      The dry heat thing is interesting. Seville hit 100 or more every day. When the wind picked up, it was like being inside a convention oven. I felt like a cookie, baked until crisp. Of course I developed a fondness for lemon slushies. In dry heat, there’s nothing better than cold & sweet!