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Getting into a New York State of Mind

There’s nothing quite like summer in New York City. School’s out, buses and subways are less crowded, restaurants spill out onto sidewalks, beaches are open, and there are free concerts and movies in the parks.

Although I won’t be in New York City the entire summer, I’ll be there next month. Just thinking about it makes me feel giddy with excitement. I’m really looking forward to doing a few things while I’m there, like:

  • Try out a new restaurant. With more than 3,000 in New York City, there’s always something new to try. My favorites: Thai, Mexican, Spanish, Brazilian, Italian, and Indian.
  • Catch a Broadway play. High on my list, the revival of Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire. I’ll check TKTS for half price tickets. 
  • Watch the fireworks at Coney Island. No matter how many times I’ve done this, it always feels like the first time. Fridays 9:30 p.m. Ends August 31st. FREE
  • Take in a movie at Bryant Park. It’s Monday, I’ve found a spot on the lawn and I’m waiting for dusk and the start of another classic movie. Ends August 20th. FREE
  • Experience The Ride. Never heard of it? The Ride is a bus with seats facing sideways and a huge picture window so you see what’s happening on the sidewalks. It’s like moving theater with the action changing as you drive by.  Best of all, this summer, The Ride is offering a special rate of $59, down from $74.
  • Walk the High Line. The High Line is an elevated park that runs over the old New York Central Railroad line. 10th Avenue from Gansevoort to 30th Streets. FREE.
  • Cross the Brooklyn Bridge on foot. One of the oldest suspension bridges in the country, and definitely one of the most beautiful, it spans the East River and connects Manhattan and Brooklyn.

So that I can soak up more of New York’s frenetic energy (wish I could bottle some and take back with me), I plan to stay in the city and have identified a few places, including B&Bs and hostels near my old neighborhood.

Now that I’ve made my list, I can’t wait to see New York City again, and hear what my friends have been up to. It’ll be just like old times.



photo by:

The U.S. Army

Free Activities for a Memorable New York Summer

Morning Tai Chi in Bryant Park. Most likely Ch...
Tai Chi in Bryant Park, Image via Wikipedia

Even before the thermometer hits and stays constantly at 70 degrees Fahrenheit (or above), New Yorkers begin to take to the outdoors to enjoy weather and the wide variety of free activities that the city offers.

Events are scattered throughout each borough so everyone can take part. From street festivals, to parades to concerts and movies in the park, there’s bound to be something for everyone.

Here’s a partial list of some of the events I’ve attended over the years:

  • SummerStage – 18 parks, 5 boroughs, music, dance, theatre – June 7-September 2
  • Shakespeare in the Park – This year, two plays Measure for Measure and All’s Well That Ends Well – June 6-July 30. Limit 2 tickets per person on the day of the performance or on scheduled days in the boroughs.
  • Farmer’s Markets – Farmers and vendors bring fresh fruits, vegetables, flowers, arts, etc., to various venues around the city. One of the biggest, in Union Square, operates year round.
  • Film screenings in Bryant Park – This year’s lineup includes One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, The 39 Steps, Dirty Harry. Outdoors on the lawn at Bryant Park.
  • River to River Festival – Movies, music, etc., June 19-July 16th
  • Street Fairs – Block parties, festivals, music, food, fun
  • Opera in the Park – free performances by the Metropolitan Opera in various parks
  • Midsummer Night’s Swing at Lincoln Center – dance lessons and big band ballroom dancing
  • Book Festivals – Harlem Book Fair – books, authors, readings on 135th Street
  • Harlem Week – July and August in Harlem, a celebration of Harlem’s rich history

Good weather is the perfect excuse to get out and have fun.


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