When the temperature is stuck in the single digits, it may seem there's nothing you can do to stay warm, but experts say that's not the case at all, and keeping your body heated can be a matter of life and death. NY1's Jon Weinstein filed the following report.
The temperatures were so low Tuesday that a leaky fire hydrant had water suspended from its spout.
Doctors at Metropolitan Hospital say when it's this cold, it's downright dangerous.
"The worst-case scenario is that you develop hypothermia, and hypothermia is a condition where your body temperature is less than 95 degrees," said Dr. Jean-Paul Menoscal of the emergency department at Metropolitan Hospital.
There are certain signs to look for.
"The first signs are shivering and your heart rate goes up," Menoscal said. "The mental confusion, the frostbite, the blisters on your fingers, then you should seek immediate medical care."
Officials say they're ready for the possibility of an influx of patients dealing with ailments like those, but Dr. Menoscal says there are some simple common sense measures that people must take to protect themselves outdoors, besides layering and covering all exposed skin.
"If you're wet, you have to change to dry clothes," he said. "You should wear synthetic fibers and wool because they're much better than cotton clothes. They're better insulators, and they keep you drier than cotton. So I would do that. I would avoid alcohol."
Staying warm is especially important for people working outside, but also for what doctors say are the most vulnerable age groups, like children and seniors.
Many braved the bitter temperatures to get to the Goddard Riverside Senior Center, some because their own apartments were too cold.
"You have to dress up as much as you do for outside to stay inside," said one person. "I might as well go out to a place that's warm."
The center was handing out tip sheets, advising seniors how to stay warm. And as always, they were serving a hot lunch, but with a special addition: chicken noodle soup.
For many people, places like the center are an essential lifeline no matter what the weather is.
"It's a warm center," said Doris Colon, director of the Goddard Riverside Senior Center. "They have activities, and that's one thing they can't have in the home. Even if it's cold and they stay in the home, what are they going to do?"
It seems that these seniors are heeding the experts' advice and making sure to bundle up before they head out.