Everywhere you turn during summer in New York City, something exciting is happening. There are free outdoor concerts and movies all around the five boroughs, and Shakespeare in the Park at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. Food trucks and festivals pop up on every corner. It’s a great time to catch a ball game or US Open tennis matches, walk the High Line in short sleeves, head up to the Bronx Zoo to spot animals or head down to Coney Island for a ride on the wooden tracks of the Cyclone roller coaster—still thrilling after all these years.
1. The Italian countryside is a subway ride away. Every summer, Eataly’s rooftop restaurant switches it up with a new menu. This season, SERRA by Birreria (Italian for greenhouse) emphasizes the Italian countryside with regional dishes from Tuscany, Liguria and Puglia. Among the highlights: coniglio fritto (fried rabbit) and gnocchi alla Genovese. Drinks include the largest selection of biodynamic Italian wines in NYC; fresh limonata; and cocktails like the Sgroppino—a slushie made with lemon, prosecco and vodka.
2. The Hot Dog Bus is rolling up in DUMBO—and, frankly, we’re pumped about it. Artist Erwin Wurm will present his sculpture, a VW microbus turned bulbous, bright yellow food truck, in Brooklyn Bridge Park; someone will be dispensing free hot dogs from it all summer long. Impromptu waterfront picnics, here we come.
3. This one’s a shellfish reason. You don’t need to be in New England or the Chesapeake to enjoy fresh seafood near the waterfront. Randazzo’s Clam Bar, down in Brooklyn’s Sheepshead Bay, and Johnny’s Reef, up in the Bronx’s City Island, are just two of the NYC places that make excellent warm-weather destinations for clams on the half shell, fried scallops and a sea-breeze spirit.
4. Sharks are coming to Coney Island. After years of construction, the Ocean Wonders: Sharks! pavilion at the New York Aquarium is about to open. It’ll feature walk-though underwater glass tunnels where visitors can see the fearsome (but nevertheless majestic) fish, plus thousands of more benign sea creatures.
5. SummerStage is back. This annual concert series features free events and a few paid benefit shows in Central Park and other green spaces all around the City. The Metropolitan Opera Summer Recital Series, Talib Kweli, Big Daddy Kane and Liam Gallagher and Richard Ashcroft round out the list of must-see acts. For the entire schedule, visit cityparksfoundation.org.
6. So is funk, fashion and food in Brooklyn. August’s Afropunk Fest has become a late-summer essential, with R&B stars Janelle Monae and Miguel topping this year’s bill. The Spinthrift Market and Bites & Beats Food Festival are both under the big event’s umbrella, and the fest tends to attract an inclusive, activist-oriented crowd.
7. It’s time to hit the beach. A quick bus, ferry or train ride will take you to one of NYC’s many beaches, which open on Memorial Day Weekend. The City boasts 14 miles of public sand, all of which are free. Visit Coney Island for nostalgia and hot dogs; Rockaway Beach for tacos and surfing; and Staten Island’s South Beach for views of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.
8. Our baseball teams seem to be good. You can’t predict baseball, anything can happen and so on….so you’ll have a game to check out within the city limits almost every day all summer long.
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