Manhattan is in the throes of a heatwave and in a bustling block of apartments, the residents struggle to go about their daily business. Two women stand on the stoop outside, gossiping about their neighbour, Anna Maurrant. Rumour is she’s having an affair with Sankey the milkman.
That night, Anna’s daughter, Rose, is harassed by the brutish Vincent Jones as she tries to return home. Her neighbour, the meek Sam Kaplan comes to her defence but is knocked down. Rose comforts Sam as he laments a life lived in the squalor of Manhattan’s slums.
The next day, Frank Maurrant leaves town on business and Sam tries to convince Rose to elope with him. With her husband gone, Anna invites Sankey up to her apartment but suddenly Frank reappears. In a blind rage, he murders them. Rose returns just in time to see her mortally wounded mother carried off on a stretcher.
Later that day, Frank is apprehended by the police. Sam tries again to convince Rose to elope with him, but she decides she must now go off on her own. As the sun sets and yet another day ends the residents return to the stoop outside, gossiping and complaining about the heat.