NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Officials were taking action to protect some of the most vulnerable residents as temperatures in some parts of the Tri-State area felt like the single digits on Wednesday.

As the temperature drops, officials say stay indoors as much as possible but if you have to go outside, wear dry, warm clothing and cover exposed skin. Keep fingertips, ear lobes and noses covered and wear a hat, hood, scarf and gloves.

“I got six layers on, and I got two pairs of socks on,” Alex Cella told CBS2’s Jessica Borg, “Can’t feel my toes.”

Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency physician at Lennox Hill Hospital, says those winter accessories play a vital role.

“The scarf is essential, that’s really where you lose quite a bit of heat and multiple wraps around your neck so you help to insulate yourself,” he said.

Those who are forced to brave the elements were all bundled up Wednesday. The blustery chill felt even more so on the water. Robert Wallen works on board the New York City Ferry going up and down the East River.

“It’s freezing out here,” he told CBS2’s Janelle Burrell. “They just gave us new jackets so we’re nice and warm.”

As WCBS 880’s Mike Sugerman reported, many people were finding ways to stay inside Wednesday. Paula Charlemagne and her 3-year-old son, Alexander, were reading books at the Brooklyn Main Library.

“I don’t want him to be in the house the whole entire day,” Charlemagne said. “He’s going to drive me crazy and I’m going to drive him crazy.”

The library’s Fritzy Botenheimer said people should come on down.

“We are warm and we are open,” she said. “We’re not an official warming center but we certainly encourage anyone to stop by the library.”

New York City does not have official warming centers, but homeless shelters will not turn anyone away.

Plenty of people were outside on Wednesday night, packing a frigid Bryant Park.

Moya Henry was using a very large Teddy bear to stay warm.

“I got it as a Christmas gift, but it’s keeping me so warm right now, since it’s freezing,” she said.

It’s hard to believe that on this date last year, skaters were wearing t-shirts. The high temperature was 60 degrees, just 3 degrees short of a record high. On Wednesday night, it was only 11 degrees — enough to freeze the water coming from the Bryant Park fountain.

And as temperatures drop, the need for warmth rises. On Tuesday, 311 received nearly 1,000 reports of heat and hot water outages.

A Code Blue has also been issued throughout New York City from 4 p.m. to 8 a.m., meaning shelter is provided to anyone who is in need and homeless outreach is increased.

The freeze is expected to be here for the next few days. Officials say prolonged exposure to the cold can lead to hypothermia, frostbite and can worsen existing medical conditions such as heart and lung diseases.

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