Harlem's Heat illustrates an outdoor scene in Harlem of an average day near the waterfront in nearby Central Park. Aiken depicts a line of people walking along the river, with boats in the water and trees along the twisting horizon. The angle at which he painted the work places the viewer as an outsider looking in on the families and friends enjoying a leisurely day in Harlem's summer. Painted in thin layers of oil that enhance the shadows of the trees, Aiken also used a different medium for the yellow pigment to brighten the foreground.
James Aiken Collection, Anacostia Community Museum, Smithsonian Institution, transferred from the National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution.