NEW YORK -- While the air quality in New York City is showing major improvement, a health advisory remains in effect until midnight. 

After days in the smoky haze, some relief is finally on the horizon. 

The smoke from Canadian wildfires made it hard to see and breathe in our area for the last 48 hours. The Air Quality Index numbers once reached into the 400s but were safely below 100 Friday morning.

"Like a breath of fresh air, literately," Jennifer Dul told CBS2.

"I checked out the AQI and I was amazed. And I looked outside and I was like, Oh, I guess it's gone," Victor Hoogstoel said. 

After postponing races Thursday, horses were back on the track at Belmont. All New York City aquariums and zoos also reopened.

As the smoke clouds are lifted for now, questions and concerns remain. Climate experts say this will happen again.

"There's weather events conspired to do this, but there is that underlying climate change signal as well," said David Robinson, a professor at Rutgers Climate Institute and New Jersey's state climatologist.

"It may go on for a while this summer, and it's possible, if we get the right wind directions, we could see this again," added Professor Greg Pope, who teaches earth and environmental studies at Montclair State University.

Some have also challenged Mayor Eric Adams and the city's response this week. 

"The response certainly felt flat-footed on all levels. I don't think residents knew exactly what was coming, and I think a lot of information was disseminated much later than I would've wanted to see it happen," said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards. 

"I know how to deploy, how to execute, how to mobilize. This is what I spent my life doing, and this team did it the right way," Adams said.

Watch Doug Williams' report

New York City's air quality improving amid Canada wildfires


It appears the closures and postponements are behind us, which is good news for Governors Ball and the Puerto Rican Day Parade this Sunday.

Showing their wristbands, music fans were getting ready Friday afternoon for New York's biggest party.

"We can be outside again and hang out and everyone can get along and have a good time," one fan said.

The Governors Ball opened Friday at a new location at Flushing Meadows. Some were there for the clean air or the party or...

"I'm here for Ice Spice. As long as she can breathe, I'm fine," one fan said.

We can see the sun, we can take deep breaths, and there's not as much smoke.

"You gotta enjoy life and you can't take it for granted because there's a lot of other cells than didn't beat us to see this world," one person said.

Central Park was full of people tired of being shut in.

"I feel alive again! Going back to my activities," one person said.

While the air quality still showed some particles in the air, New York is closer to the green.

"It feels literally like the day of salvation after what we went through, right?" one mother said. "My 10-year-old is letting me know what a normal AQI is now and was asking me hourly what it is. So I think we all have more of an appreciation for what is normal."

"It's sort of similar to the pandemic. You don't know really what you have until it's gone," one person said. "I think this is what New York is all about, and you can see the nature and people getting outside."

And maybe now, we aren't so particular about a few drops of rain.

"Even a little rain. We'll take any kind of weather that isn't smoke," one mother said.

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