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.