Air quality improving across New York City, Tri-State area

"Unhealthy" air conditions continue in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut because of the wildfires in Canada

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Saturday, July 1, 2023
Thousands pack Coney Island boardwalk, beach under hazy skies
Thousands are already packing the beach and boardwalk under the hazy skies. Anthony Carlo has more from Coney Island.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Smoke from wildfires in Canada has created unhealthy conditions and limited visibility again across New York City and the Tri-State. Improvement is expected through the weekend.

As of Saturday morning, AQI levels in New York City reached 134. That's "unhealthy" for sensitive groups, according to the index. That number will gradually dissipate into Sunday.

People with heart or lung disease, older adults, children and teens should:

  • Avoid strenuous outdoor activities.
  • Keep outdoor activities short.
  • Consider moving physical activities indoors or rescheduling them.
  • Everyone else should take any of these steps to reduce your exposure:

  • Choose less strenuous activities (like walking instead of running) so you don't breathe as hard.
  • Shorten the amount of time you are active outdoors.
  • Be active outdoors when air quality is better.
  • At one point on Friday, the only place in the world with worst air quality was Jakarta.

    We have had 6 "unhealth" air quality days in New York City this year. We had zero last year.

    The poor conditions led Belmont Park to cancel Friday's race card, and Shakespeare in the Park's performance of Hamlet was postponed for a second straight night.

    The air quality in Connecticut was also around 150, prompting the City of Stamford to postpone their Independence Day fireworks display to their rain date of Friday, July 7.

    "We want to host the best Independence Day fireworks show possible," said Mayor Caroline Simmons. "Because of air quality concerns, as well as the fact that the visibility of tonight's show would be compromised, we've decided to take advantage of our negotiated rain date and postpone the fireworks until next week."

    "Normally, our air quality levels are between 0 - 10 but they are currently around 150," said Jody Bishop-Pullan, the City of Stamford's Director of Health. "During periods of unhealthy air quality, it is best to limit outdoor activities."

    Meantime, New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced the state will be rolling out messaging to remind residents to take precautions during unhealthy air conditions.

    There will be variable message boards on highways, phone alerts in areas where the AQI is above 200, and public service announcements on mass transit.

    "The truth is, there is no end in sight" to these conditions, Hochul said, noting they could linger on and off through the summer. "This is the new normal for New Yorkers."

    The state will be launching variable message boards on highways, phone alerts in areas where the AQI is above 200, and public service announcements on mass transit.

    "With smoke from the Canadian wildfires once again impacting air quality throughout our state this week, we're urging New Yorkers to remain vigilant," Hochul said earlier. "We're activating emergency cell phone alerts to ensure New Yorkers have the latest information and are continuing to coordinate with local counties to monitor conditions and distribute masks. I encourage all New Yorkers to stay informed about the latest updates and take the necessary precautions to protect yourselves and your loved ones."

    Updated air quality information and alerts are available from the state's website.

    You can also check the air quality in your neighborhood by visiting the Air Now website.

    In New York City, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Port Authority, and the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation are distributing masks to commuters at major transit hubs and state parks. Additional masks are being made available to counties outside of New York City at State-run stockpiles for further distribution to the public.

    Masks are available at the following locations:

  • Grand Central Terminal
  • Penn Station
  • Fulton Center
  • Jamaica Station
  • Main Concourse of the Port Authority Bus Terminal, South Wing
  • Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn
  • Grand Concourse, Bronx
  • Shirley Chisholm State Park
  • Clay Pit Ponds State Park Preserve
  • Denny Farrell Riverbank State Park
  • Roberto Clemente State Park
  • Transit authorities across the state are utilizing public address systems, bus headway signs, social media and other electronic signage to provide air-quality-related safety information directly to customers, including:

  • Metropolitan Transportation Authority
  • NassauTRANSIT
  • Westchester County Bee-Line
  • Broome County Transit
  • Capital District Transportation Authority
  • Central New York Regional Transportation Authority
  • Rochester Genesee Regional Transportation Authority
  • Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority
  • Air Quality Tracker | ABC7 Air Quality Tracker

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