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Pelham Pizza Workers Baking In Summer Heat

PELHAM, N.Y. – Pelham residents fanned themselves in the street, ate ice cream, and blasted their air conditioners on high on a 90-degree Wednesday, but the workers of Pelham Pizzeria and Ristorante and Marcello’s Pizza were sweltering near their 600-degree ovens.

“I got to look out for my customers,” said Jose Perez of Marcello’s on the first official day of summer. “They’re here in snow, rain, or 100 degrees.” Din Hasangjekha, the owner’s son and also a worker at the restaurant, said he preferred cold weather while working, but was trying to enjoy the day.

Both men were drinking “plenty of water and Gatorade,” to stay hydrated in the stifling Fifth Avenue restaurant, but faced a problem with their air conditioner throughout the day. They said that the village reduces the electricity when the temperature is above 90 degrees and that their air conditioner compressor was not working as a result, which made it hotter.

While Hasangjekha, a Pelham resident, planned on hanging out with friends when he got off at 7, Perez, who resides in the Bronx, said he was going cool off in the shower and then head to bed when he got home.

A few blocks down Fifth Avenue, Pino Mancini said “it’s another day” as manager of the 34-year-old Pelham Pizzeria and Ristorante. However, he acknowledged that it would get hotter as the restaurant got more crowded.

“When it gets crowded, it gets hot – the air conditioner can’t keep up,” said Mancini. A problem that he and Marcello’s were both facing is that “the dough rises a little faster” because of the reduced electricity, which means the workers must be even more aware than usual.

Even on the sizzling day, people came in and out of the restaurant to eat, which Mancini said means “we’ve been pretty good” for 34 years.

The high temperature, which Con Edison has offered tips on dealing with, actually feels like 102 degrees because of the 43 percent humidity, according to .

Pelham was forecasted for continued high temperatures of 96 degrees Wednesday night and Thursday, according to While there is a high of 90 and low of 70 expected Friday, there is also a 40 percent chance of scattered thunderstorms. The temperature during the weekend will cool down with highs of 85 forecasted Saturday and 83 on Sunday. Both days are forecasted to have lows in the 60s and be partly cloudy.

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