8 Totally Cliche Summer New York Things You Should Actually Do No Matter How Long You've Lived Here
One thing no one mentions when you move to New York is that there's about one accumulative month of days per year where it's comfortable to be outside. The rest of the time it's too windy, too wet, far too hot, or shockingly cold. I've lived in New York for almost five years now, and somehow every time summer rolls around I'm shocked by how prohibitively hot and humid it gets. It makes it a real challenge to find fun things to do in New York in the summer. Although, if we're going to be real, this summer seems much worse than any other I've experienced. And no, I don't say that every year. Last year was much milder.
The worst thing about being in New York in the summer is that you're stuck in the city, and unless you've got enough money to go somewhere nice, you're stuck with the Rockaways as your local beach. The city is oppressive in the heat, and sometimes it seems like there's no reprieve. But the great thing about New York is that at any given time, in any given season, there are about thirty billion things you can do to not only pass time, but to have fun while passing it. And sure, a lot of them seem as cliche as the Statue of Liberty, but who cares? Good things to do are good things to do, so here are eight totally cliche things you can do to celebrate New York summer, no longer how long you've lived here and how snooty of a cynical New Yorker you've become.
1. Go eat at Smorgasburg
Brooklyn's Smorgasburg is a prime tourist destination these days, but despite the weekend crowds, it's still one of the most delicious places to eat outdoors on a sunny day. Head down to the East River park in Williamsburg and walk around sampling the fare of some of New York's finest eateries. You can take your food and sit by the water, looking out at the beautiful, perfectly framed Manhattan skyline, just across the river.
2. Go to an outdoor movie
I love going to movies at McCarren Park (Summer Screen, by the Northside Group) in the evenings in summer. They screen classic old moves like Clueless and The Big Lebowski, and you can bring a picnic and hang out with friends. It's like Netflix but more social, and outside. There are a number of outdoor movie screenings over summer around New York. Find the one closest to you and go!
3. Sunbake in a park
I'm going to say it. New York beaches suck a fat one. I'm from Australia, so probably spoiled in the beach respect. But New York does have some lovely parks, especially that big one right in the middle. And if New Yorkers are good at one thing, it's wearing their swimwear to the park in summer and catching some rays. Just be sure to lather up the sunscreen.
4. Drink on a rooftop bar
Cocktail in hand, staring out at Manhattan on a balmy summer evening sounds like a total cliché right? Well it is, but it's one you should try living this summer. The Wythe Hotel (I'd go early, like 5PM on a Friday) is a nice bar for doing just that, especially because it's got a great view of Manhattan from Williamsburg.
5. Walk the High Line
The High Line is this magical, pretty little garden in the middle of the city. Take a stroll along it on a summer's day, stop for an ice cream, recline on a lounger, and just generally chill out above the urban bustle.
6. Grill wherever you can
You know when you see people grilling in the street on your block? THAT COULD BE YOU! The wonderful thing about having no space in New York is being able to make so much more of the space you do have. At the park, on the street, on your fire escape, on a rooftop. Invest in a mini-grill (you can probably snag one for around $50) and let the sausages roll.
7. Catch an outdoor concert
There are so many outdoor concerts, both free and paid, all summer in New York. I've always wanted to go to Shakespeare in the Park. Central Park also has a concert series featuring cool, big name acts. The Prospect Park band shell is also a great venue. Really, when it comes to outdoor theatre and live music, New York summer is your oyster.
8. Get to-go drinks from Turkey's Nest
I'm not going to encourage you to break the law, but the Turkey's Nest bar in Williamsburg might. Go grab a huge styrofoam cup of beer or margarita (be careful though, those things are toxic) and take it over to McCarren park to drink with friends on warm summer evenings, or on Sundays go down and watch the kick ball tournament.
Image: Chris Ford/Flickr