When people ask me what my summer holiday plans are on the years I return home, they tend to look at me oddly.
“New York in August? Why? Isn’t it miserably hot?”
My family and I try to get back every couple of years for a long holiday in NY, and this is our favorite time to visit. Yes, it can be hot, but certainly no worse than August in our own home city – Rome. And it’s easy to pop into a museum or a bookstore during the hottest hours of the day, or even to cool off in one of the city’s numerous free pools.
And New York is beautiful in the summertime. There’s so much going on, people are in a good mood and there are tons of activities for adults and kids alike. Here are some of my favorites:
Free films in Central Park
This is always one of our favorites. In NY in summer, there are always plenty of locations for outdoor movies, but our favorite is the week dedicated to movies about New York each year during the third week of August. Nothing like bringing your beach towels, packing a picnic lunch and watching a movie along with thousands of your ‘closest friends’ on the lawn of Central Park’s Sheep Meadows. Not to be missed when you’re in NY in August…
Rooftop installations at the Met
I’m a member at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (the Met) and it’s always one of my favorite places to hide out for an hour or two if it’s a really hot day. There are plenty of interesting tours or talks you can join each day, included in the price of your tickets, and I always love to choose an exhibition or a wing to explore. But the summertime is also special because there is always a rooftop installation on the Met’s impressive terrace with its views over Central Park. This year was the Psycho house, looking strangely cheerful framed by the green trees of Central Park – though I imagine it would be rather spooky in the dark. My kids’ all-time favorite was ‘The Big Bamboo’ a few years ago: a structure made of bamboo that grew each week, until October when the whole structure was destroyed and recycled. Don’t miss the Met’s rooftop in summertime.
Cool off in the free, outdoor pools
I’ve already written about the fabulous Lasker pool in Central Park, at the northern end of the park, near the Harlem Meer. You can see my earlier post about it. Bust Lasker pool is hardly the only one. The city is full of pools that are free, and a great place to cool off on hot days. My son was running at the track at Thomas Jefferson Park, up in lower Spanish Harlem, and he loved to cool off in the big and inviting Thomas Jefferson pool after his track practice. Harlem’s Marcus Garvey Park offers another. Enjoy a dip in cool waters on your next August visit to New York.
Jogging in Central Park
Ooh, this is one of my favorite reasons for New York. Obviously, when I am there, I am not living as a real New Yorker, but as a tourist. That means, at rush hour, when New Yorkers are killing each other to get to work, I have the rare luxury of taking my time starting my day. If you’re feeling envious as you read this, rest assured that when I’m back in Rome I join the pack of disgruntled zombies making my way to work in the early morning hours. But in New York I have time for a leisurely morning jog in central Park, jogging from home through the hills that cut through the North Woods and on to the Reservoir, where I loop around and enjoy the skyline views as the morning sun glints off the Chrysler Building. This is definitely one of the things I miss most when I’m back home. * Sigh*
Sports events for kids
This was a great find for us this summer. City Parks runs lots of programs for kids to practice sports over the summer. Both my sons joined the tennis program – taking lessons in Central Park’s tennis center as well as that of Riverside Park. My youngest son also added track and field, working out at Thomas Jefferson Park. They met a great group of kids, enjoyed learning from talented coaches and learned a lot during their time working out in the hot August sun. My youngest son had the chance to compete for Manhattan in the impressive Icahn Stadium – where he was pleased to win both his races: the 100m and 400 m. Both boys also had the chance to take part in a tennis tournament at Flushing Meadows just days before the US Open. How often does a little boy get to have a photos like this, with the symbol of the US Open behind him as he plays? : )
We’ll definitely be back to spend more time in New York in August, one of our favorite times in the city, and will certainly never suffer for want of things to do! Enjoy the Big Apple in the summertime.