Then and now: Beating the heat

Children on Mulberry St. in the Lower East Side turned a WPA street excavation site into a temporary swimming hole using water from a fire hydrant as temperatures rose to the highest point in New York City history on July 9, 1936. AP
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TOP: Children jumping through a water hydrant's shower on a New York street in the summer of 1950. BOTTOM: Nine-year-old William Williams, right, hugs his brother Xavier Robertson, 10, while waiting for the the Big Splash machine at the Como Town water park to dump water on them, in St. Paul, Minn. on July 17, 2013. John Autey / The St. Paul Pioneer Press via AP
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TOP: A 19-year-old usherette Margaret Lewis caused a stir in Piccadilly when she decided to beat the heat wave and travel to work clad only in bikini and high heels in 1952. BOTTOM: The 'Naked Cowboy' performs in the midday heat in Times Square on July 16, 2013 in New York City. Mario Tama / Getty Images
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TOP: An iceman lifting a block of ice onto the back of a truck during a heatwave in London in1932. BOTTOM: Salesman Lu Pichardo carries a customer's air conditioner at Appliances R Us on July 18, 2013, in Philadelphia. Matt Rourke / AP

Perhaps the biggest change for beating the heat is hinted at by the picture above: air conditioning. But that comfort comes with the chance of losing it right when most people are using it, as in the current heat wave in the eastern U.S.

NBC New York reports that Gov. Andrew Cuomo urged people to cut back their electricity usage to take pressure off the state's power grid and help prevent outages or brownouts. New York's power grid operator said they expected a record set in 2006 would be broken with a peak in electricity usage. Read more...

For more images of hot weather, see our sizzling summer slideshow. Or to submit your own images, see this PhotoBlog post of readers' hot weather pictures.  

Satisfied customers at an ice-cream stall in London circa 1932. Topical Press Agency via Getty Images