During the sweltering NYC summers, where to spend valuable downtime is determined by two factors:
- Proximity to green
- Proximity to water
Maybe I believe in those criteria because I’m from the Midwest. Maybe it’s because one too many air conditioners dripped on my head as I was walking on the street underneath, and I realized I sometimes need a reprieve from the concrete jungle.
Either way, here are a few of my favorite places to enjoy summer in the City (or right outside it)—close to the water, close to plant life (more oxygen, right?) or both.
This one may seem obvious, but it’s called CENTRAL Park for a reason. Is your #squad spread throughout the City? Never fear—it’s easy to get to the Park from just about anywhere. (Try the N, Q, R, 4, 5, 6, A, C, B, D, 1, 2, or 3 trains—whew, that’s a lot!) And, the Park has perfect spots for almost any occasion:
Getting those #SquadGoals
Try Sheep Meadow or the Great Lawn—together, they offer almost 70 acres of lush grass perfect for sunbathing or relaxing with friends. Don’t come empty-handed, though:
- For leisure: Bring a book, Frisbee, or Spikeball (a favorite with my crew)
- For picnicking: Bring Brie and a fresh baguette from Zabar’s (2245 Broadway) or stop off at Levain Bakery (167 W 74th) for one of their world-famous chocolate-chip cookies. A heads-up though—these are delish & the line may be long, but 100% guaranteed to be worth the wait.
Spending some solo time
Conservatory Garden (Source: centralparknyc.org)
“‘We’ are great. But sometimes I need ‘Me.’” You may not say this out loud to your friends, but sometimes you need a place to retreat from all of the people in NYC (8.4 million, to be exact) and spend time with a good book. For that, check out:
- Shakespeare Garden: Wooden benches lining quaint, winding paths through patches of bright flowers.
- Conservatory Garden: An exquisite formal garden composed of three smaller Italian, French, and English gardens—each with its own spectacular floral displays.
For impressing #bae
Think boats. Row boats.
Loeb Boathouse (Source: centralparkboathouse.com)
Take your date to the Loeb Boathouse, and select your craft from a fleet of 100 rowboats (available for rent daily from 10a-dusk). Spend the afternoon rowing by the Bow Bridge or otherwise drifting on Central Park Lake. For bonus points, bring a picnic of cheese, baguettes, and Levain cookies with you.
The Low Line
Everyone’s heard of the Highline, but let’s give some attention to this underground park on the LES. It’s a historic trolley terminal transformed into a lush subterranean oasis—and, they also host special events there, like Yoga or popsicle pop-ups!
North River Lobster Company (Source: nbcnewyork.com)
The Frying Pan
Yes, the title here is intentionally vague. As the river that spans the West side of Manhattan, this definitely satisfies the “proximity to water” criteria. And, there’s quite a few ways to enjoy it:
- The North River Lobster Company: The largest floating lobster shack from NYC sets sail from Pier 81 (Hell’s Kitchen) and offers delicious seafood staples alongside great views of Manhattan. There’s no fee to set sail—only for food and drinks!
- The Frying Pan: The well-known “bar on a boat” (a “lightship”, to be more specific), docked by Chelsea Piers and popular for its aquatic proximity.
- Stand-up Paddleboarding: Manhattan Kayak Company offers SUP rental—and even fitness classes (crossfit and yoga) for those days when you want to cool off. Yoga is my personal fave!
- FREE Kayaking: Visit one of Manhattan Community Boathouse’s two locations to climb into a kayak and sail away from shore for 20 minutes. Yes, 20 minutes is short, but it’s FREE so…
Montauk, specifically. Updates from our recent trip to The End coming soon—stay tuned!