Hot in the City

What is it about a heat wave in New York that brings out the least green behaviors of some our retailers? Walking down Fifth Avenue on a humid ninety plus degrees day is not a wonderful experience especially among the throngs of summer tourists. I love tourists and very happy they come to visit and bring loads of money to spend. However, on this kind of hot day I'm not always as agreeable.

Many of us have experienced while walking down the street the sudden brush of very cool air. As refreshing as it is, one also realizes that it's coming straight out of a store because the retailer decided to leave their doors wide open. This is a tactic to entice very hot people to enter their stores and buy things. And no matter how hard it is to attract consumers these days, is this really an environmentally sound way of doing so? Of course it isn't. It's a complete waste of electricity and a drag on an already sometimes not too stable energy grid.

A few years back, it was not uncommon to see on hot days in the New York summer for children to cool off by running through the spray of opened fire hydrants. In a remarkable display of cogent thought, the city's government realized that this was a waste of valuable water and decided to ban the opening of hydrants. Now it may not be as simple to require, by law, retailers to keep their doors shut keeping air conditioning inside their store. Yet, it might seem like a good step to ask them do so. There is really no reason to burn extra electricity and add more greenhouse gases to the environment in the hopes of attracting additional walk in traffic. There are many ways to sell one's wares, but this is not a responsible way to do so. It's truly a short term gain and a long term problem.

Jonathan A. Schein is the publisher of and NYinc