BOSTON -- Record-breaking heat scorched the Northeast for the second straight day Thursday, breaking records from Vermont to Delaware and sending people flocking to beaches, pools and air-conditioned museums to stay cool.
At least eight temperature records nationwide were broken, and three others were tied, the National Weather Service said. In Vermont, temperatures soared to 97 degrees in Burlington, and the air in Georgetown, Del., and at Kennedy Airport in New York registered a record-breaking 97 degrees.
In New York, Times Square food vendor Bashir Saleh was feeling the heat.
"I'm exhausted," said Saleh, who had already worked eight hours as the heat rose near his propane-gas fueled coffee maker. But the heat is worth it, he said, noting he makes more money selling iced coffee and other cold drinks on hot days.
Sporting a visor with an American flag, Saleh, who fled war in his native Afghanistan, said that even when he's sweating to earn a living, "I think, `God bless America. For a few days, I can sacrifice.'"
But relief is on the way, according to Dave Unger, a forecaster for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. He said the East Coast will get a break from a low pressure system and possible coastal storms that are expected to lower temperatures heading into the weekend.
In the nation's capital, a bit of resourcefulness helped some tourists hit all the hotspots despite the sweltering weather.
Nolan Shoffner, 36, who was vacationing with his parents and 10-year-old son, Parker, said the family had rearranged some of their plans to visit outdoor sites like the White House and Capitol in the morning, while saving cool indoor museums for the afternoon.
"There's not a lot of places you can hide," Shoffner said as he stood outside the Capitol.
Business at Lil Pop Shop, an artisan Popsicle store in Philadelphia, was slow at midday despite a healthy supply of frozen treats.
Owner Jeanne Chang said she expects the crowd to come after the sun goes down, as a swarm of customers did Wednesday night after a similarly brutal day.
As temperatures at Boston's Logan Airport hit a record-breaking 96 degrees, many took the heat in stride. At the Franklin Park Zoo, gorillas sucked on ice treats and ostriches waded through spray mists.
Outside the city, many flocked to beaches to enjoy the rare stretch of extreme heat.
Dave Remillard, 50, went to Wollaston Beach in Quincy, just south of Boston, but chose sunbathing over swimming, he said, because the water was too cold.
"I hope we have a hot summer. We haven't had one in a while," he said, sipping a large cup of iced coffee.
In New Jersey, forecasters said thermometers might not drop below 80 until the wee hours of Friday.
"American Idol" hopefuls in Newark got a bit of a break from the heat Thursday morning when they were ushered inside the Prudential Center to register to audition.
Officials at the PGA Tour's Travelers Championship in Connecticut prepared for the heat by having IVs ready at a medical tent where dozens were treated for heat exhaustion Wednesday.
"People are coming in dizzy, a little nausea, vomiting, generally poor feeling overall," said John Quinlavin emergency medical services director. "We generally have a more mature audience here, and we do see a lot of the elderly having some problems with the heat."
Across the Northeast, public health officials warned residents to not leave pets or children in parked vehicles, where temperatures can quickly escalate. Two dogs left in a hot pickup truck in western Massachusetts died Wednesday afternoon.
On Wednesday, 66 weather stations across the nation broke or tied records, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Contributing to this report were Associated Press writers Pat Eaton-Robb in Cromwell, Conn., Jessica Gresko and Science Writer Seth Borenstein in Washington, Karen Matthews and Verena Dobnik in New York City, Mark Pratt in Boston, Denise Lavoie in Quincy, Mass., Erika Niedowski in Providence, R.I., Kathy Matheson in Philadelphia, and David Porter in Newark.