If NYC is already an interesting and lively place to visit regardless of weather conditions, when Summer arrives and the sun begins to shine, the fresh air brings forth an array of alternatives to explore the city. Your days will be filled with music festivals, enriched with rooftop movies, and animated by free dance parties in Gotham’s most vibrant parks, creating remarkable summertime moments. Have a look at our list of things do in a New York summer, and get ready to request those overdue vacation days.
1. Dance at MoMA
MoMA hosts the popular annual Warm Up party series: an event where meeting interesting people, appreciating the most prominent contemporary art exhibitions, and “dancing in the moonlight” comes together beautifully. Get moving with an impressive and well-selected musical lineup, that has featured names like Afrika Bambaataa, Questlove, Francois K, Danny Krivit, the Scissor Sisters and LCD Soundsystem. These year’s artists and DJs are soon to be announced, so make sure to leave your Saturday afternoons free for this.
This weekly summer party, held for nearly two decades at the Long Island City museum courtyard, has maintained its high-quality lineup and characteristic vibe and is now bigger than ever before. Last year’s highlights included experimental ambient producer Elysia Crampton and rapper Kamaiyah, while also displaying captivating outdoor art. Hence, we can’t wait for 2018’s series to begin.
2. Coney Island Mermaid Parade guide
This annual parade, hosted on Surf Avenue, is one of New York’s characteristic summer attractions. Due to its unique and somewhat bizarre atmosphere, where King Neptune and Queen Mermaid feature as the most vibrant marchers, the event draws thousands of spectators from around the globe who come to watch this curious “glittered procession” around the neighborhood.
The parades date back to 1983, when Coney Island founder, Dick Zigan, introduced the idea to the area. In 2018, the Mermaid Parade will take place Saturday, June 16, at 7 pm, starting from the crossroad between Surf Avenue and W 21st Street, moving along Surf Avenue and the Boardwalk, until it reaches the Steeplechase Plaza. It is worth arriving early in order to get a good spot among the crows. Otherwise, you can always become a member of the Coney Island USA (for U$ 150) and sit undercover at one of the Judge’s Stands. Regardless of where or how make sure to visit the area known for some of NY’s best beaches.
3. Party with creatures of the sea
As an informal funfair held every year, the streets of Coney Island are invaded by eccentrics and enthusiasts half-dressed in glittered sea-creature costumes. This year, New York’s iconic seaside procession will be led by musician Amanda Palmer and Neil Gaiman – or rather Queen Mermaid and King Neptune.
4. Eat and Drink on the street
One of the things that make a summer in NYC so enticing is the carefree atmosphere that envelops the streets. When the weather starts to warm up, a series of street fairs begin to pop up across the various blocks and areas of the city. This is a great opportunity to stroll around these pedestrian roads and explore some of NYC best restaurants while taking a peek (and possibly shopping) at the city’s most eclectic vintage clothing stores. Alternatively, you may choose to dive into free events – like outdoor concerts and street art exhibition – or enjoy some of the city’s random yet fun parties.
5. Cool off in the city’s pools
Anyone who has lived in a big city, surrounded by skyscrapers, knows the importance of cooling down (literally) during summertime. Luckily for those living and visiting New York this summer, the city’s outdoor pools will be open from late June, allowing for a much-needed temperature readjustment throughout hot days. There are more than 60 public pools across the five boroughs, so you are bound to stumble upon the opportunity to go for a dip at some point in your day. Among the cleanest (and completely free) swimming pools in NYC, are the Astoria Pool and its intricate Art Deco interior, and the 7-lane Bronx-based The Floating Pool.
6. Jazz Age Lawn Party
Held on the renowned Governors Island, The Jazz Age Lawn Party is an interesting and fun way of somehow grasping some of NYC’s past while enjoying sophisticated cocktails and live music performances. After you have had your fair share of New York beaches and rooftop bars, catch the ferry to the island and into a 1920s-themed event that will make your summer experience in the city that much more memorable. The event takes place on two different weekends, the first on the 16th and 17th of June, and the second on the 25th and 24th of August, from 11 am until 5 pm. This year’s lineup includes Michael Arenella and his Dreamland Orchestra, as well as the popular Charleston dance contest – which is as fun to watch as it is to participate.
7. Catch a flick at Rooftop Cinema Club
Being a movie fan is enough reason to check out the Rooftop Cinema Club. Now, if you are a fan of cocktails or sunsets (or both), then this rooftop cinema may very well deserve a spot on your the top of your to-do list in NY. There is a whole experience to be had behind each screening, and they make sure to back it up with comfortable seats, wireless headphones, carefully selected films (from alternatives, to classics and Oscar winners), and of course, great popcorn. The 2018 party will be held at the SkyLawn at Embassy Suites by Hilton, in Midtown, kick-starting another edition of movie screenings – which will feature the special offer of a bottomless box of popcorn for only $3 extra.
8. Scream your guts out at Luna Park
Nothing represents the start of summer better than the reopening of Luna Park – Coney Island’s iconic amusement park, rated as one of the most exciting in the world. Despite being a new institution, the theme park has gained popularity for its amazing seaside location, as well as more than 50 attractions: from the Cyclone, the Air Race, and the Endeavor, all must do’s. Alternatively, a variety of attractions such as carnival games, theme rides, splashing water slides, parties, concerts, and live performances make the park a great destination for all ages. On top of an array of entertainment, the Luna Park also has a great infrastructure of restaurants and cafes, with special attention drawn to the popular burger at Cyclone Cafe. A general admission ticket gives you access to around 28 rides but in case you feel like you need more adrenaline, specific rides can be tried out for an additional fee – which is often worth it!