Summer in the City

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

I'm usually to first to point out any criticism I have for my hometown of New York City, but as spring becomes the summer, I ease off a little. The more frequent (and sometimes brutal) appearance of the sun, the longer days and balmy nights do something to everyone in New York City. Summer is an excuse to simultaneously be more lively and douchey (more hipster-esque activities) than all the rest of the year.

Every hipster magazine (and even the New York Times) jumps on the season and features list after list of things to do once summertime is near. This usually entails some sort of top ten list of rooftop bars and summer sangrias. For me, I make a list not unlike the list I make for winter in the city, of new things I would like to experience during the season.

With the exception of two summers, I have spent nearly every summer in New York City. Every year since my mid-to-late teens, I have tried new things and I have yet to run out of ideas. I've done the Bryant Park Summer Film Festival. I've done the Big Apple BBQ. I've done Target Fridays at various museums. I've done Shakespeare in the Park. I've done the Today Show's Summer Concert Series.

I'm still working on my list for summer 2011, but here are some preliminary ideas:

1. Concerts
This is a must for summer in any city. Luckily for me, I've already booked tickets for 3 shows between May (sprummer) and September (autumn, by that point): Adele, NKOTBSB and Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. I might be able to squeeze a few free concerts in once the schedules roll out.

Cooper Hewitt Museum

2. Beach
Another must, though one that is low on my list of priorities. Last summer I hit Robert Moses State Park, and armed with a new bathing suit, I'm ready to hit another the sand.

3. Cooper Hewitt Museum
2 East 91st Street
For every dozen times I've visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art and the Museum of Natural History, there's a famous New York City museum I haven't visited. Believe it or not, I went to the Guggenheim Museum for the first time last fall. I've never stepped foot in the Whitney. But the Cooper Hewitt Museum seems especially appealing to me this year, and I have some interest in design, so if all goes well, it will be seeing my face this summer.

4. The Cloisters
Fort Tryon Park, 99 Margaret Corbin Drive
Perhaps while I'm on the Upper East Side, I might as well pay The Cloisters a visit. Though I went to middle and high school on the Upper East Side and saw bus signs for The Cloisters for 6 years, I never bothered going. It looks like quite a sight, though, and I'd like to check it out eventually.

A touch of the South at Governors Island
5. Governors Island
I made my first trip to Governors Island last Labor Day. I was skeptical, but as with so many travel destinations, my curiosity was piqued at first sight of photographs of the place. I even went so far as to rent a 70s-style bicycle though I hadn't ridden in nearly 20 years, and after a little practice, I had a fantastic time and would do it again in a heartbeat.

6. Brooklyn Museum / Prospect Park
200 Eastern Parkway
I don't know how I haven't been to either yet, but I haven't. 'Nuff said.

7. Barbeque
I live for barbeques, though my mother constantly reminds me that barbeques will be the end of me. Frankly, I don't give a damn ... I'm going to die anyway, I might as well do it after having thoroughly enjoyed myself. My friend David makes a mean spinach and artichoke dip and spinach salad, and threw an equally mean barbeque in the summer of 2007. I'm going to see if I can finagle a barbeque out of him again this summer.

8. Central Park
Some years, I've gone without even stepping foot in the park. But I love the park. It was the backdrop of many high school gym classes, class outings and afterschool mischief. I don't give it the attention or love it deserves, but it is a treasure. My favorite part of the park is the Conservatory Garden (105th Street and Fifth Avenue), so beautiful that I shot some of my "senior photos" (not quite the kind you are thinking of) here. I also enjoy the Turtle Pond/Delacorte Theater/Belvedere Castle area (79th Street).

9. A trip OUT of the city
Summer can be a rough time for New York City residents. It gets hot, it gets humid, it gets extra crowded. Days can feel claustrophobic, and taking a break is key. Sometimes it doesn't take much ... an LIRR train ride to a Long Island beach, a Hampton Jitney bus ride to the Hamptons, or an NJ transit trip to Jersey or "upstate" New York. Whatever the case, it is a welcome break in what can become the monotony of living of New York, even in the summer.

10. To be continued ...

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