At the start of summer, TimeOut crafted this list of 101 things to do in NYC, which I thought were all pretty brilliant little adventures. If you haven’t hopped on the bandwagon… you should probably do so now since there’s only a month and a half left before pumpkin/apple picking season! Typically, I’m strongly opposed summer, but I’d have to say that it has been downright spectacular.
Since 101 things would be a challenge to do in less than two months, I’ve narrowed down my list to a mere 13:
18. Catch a flick at Rooftop Films
Watch an alfresco flick on a pretty perch at this long-running series, now in its 14th year. A panoply of rooftop venues across the city are hosting screenings of more than 175 films, from romance (Falling Overnight, July 22) to documentaries (Fake It So Real, July 28). After the latter, a look into the world of independent pro wrestling, witness a live match, as the subjects battle it out at Williamsburg’s Crown Vic (60 South 2nd St at Wythe Ave, Williamsburg, Brooklyn; 8pm; $10)—and be sure to look out for additional after-parties offering cheap beer or an open bar. Locations, times and prices vary; visit rooftopfilms.com for details. Through Aug 20.
21. Drink in the view from the Met’s roof garden
See the dazzling expanse of Central Park from the top of the Met, where you can also check out current exhibit “Anthony Caro on the Roof.” While you ponder Caro’s futuristic sculptures, sip a Midday Martini, a summery mixture of coconut rum, mango and pineapple juice ($12). 1000 Fifth Ave at 82nd St (212-535-7710, metmuseum.org). Tue–Thu, Sun 10am–4:30pm; Fri, Sat 10am–9pm.
26. Stroll the Brooklyn Heights Promenade
Workweeks spent in dank subways and dim offices can make you to forget the city’s charms. Fall in love all over again with a walk down this iconic stretch, where you can stop and smell the flowers (literally) and gaze at the Brooklyn Bridge and Empire State Building. After you get your fill of postcard views, satisfy your stomach at the Brooklyn Ice Cream factory (1 Water St at Fulton St, Dumbo, Brooklyn; 718-246-3963, brooklynicecreamfactory.com; Mon–Thu, Sun noon–10pm; Fri, Sat noon–11pm) with a scoop of chocolaty goodness ($4).
35. Go kayaking from the Downtown Boathouse
While you’d probably never consider swimming in the moat surrounding Manhattan, you can still indulge in some aquatic activity with a kayaking excursion on the Hudson. Head to one of three locations on the island’s West Side for free weekend river outings. Pier 40, West Side Hwy at Houston St; Pier 96, West Side Hwy at 56th St; West Side Hwy at 72nd St (downtownboathouse.org). Sat, Sun, holidays through mid-October 9am–6pm from all locations, plus Mon–Fri 5–7pm at Pier 96; free.
36. Get an eyeful at 5Pointz
Trek out to graffiti mecca 5Pointz, an industrial complex covered in street art, which has displayed work by aerosol artists like Stay High 149, Cope2 and Tracy 168. Every Sunday, stop by to hear the stylings of beat-box performers led by Kid Lucky while you take in the art (4:30pm). 45-46 Davis St at Jackson Ave, Long Island City, Queens (5ptz.com)
38. Reclaim the city at Summer Streets
Take it to the tarmac at the city’s fourth annual fest, during which police will shut down vehicular traffic along a route between the Brooklyn Bridge and Central Park for three Saturday mornings. That means you’ll be free to walk, bike or pogo stick to your heart’s content, without the threat of speeding taxis. From Chambers and Court Sts to Madison Ave at E 72nd St (nyc.gov). Aug 6, 13, 20 7am–1pm; free.
40. See Shakespeare in the Park
Catching these high-end productions under the stars is an essential New York treat—and a free one, too. This year boasts two of the Bard’s problem plays: Measure for Measure and All’s Well That Ends Well, which is helmed by Daniel Sullivan, who directed last year’s excellent rendition of The Merchant of Venice both in the park and on the Great White Way. Tix are handed out at the theater at 1pm. Make sure you get there early: People have been known to start queuing as early as the night before. Or you can try your luck registering for tickets online and hoping your number comes up. The Delacorte Theater in Central Park, enter at Central Park West and 81st St (shakespeareinthepark.org). June 6–July 30; free.
49. Go natural at the New York Botanical Garden
Surround yourself with 250 acres of flora and fauna at this natural oasis. Check out the latest exhibit, “Spanish Paradise: Gardens of the Alhambra” ($20, seniors and students $18, children $8, children under 2 free; through Aug 21), which will transport you to a Mediterranean paradise with date palms, pomegranate trees and Italian cypress. New York Botanical Garden, Bronx River Pkwy at Fordham Rd, Bronx (718-817-8700, nybg.org). Tue–Sun 10am–6pm; grounds only $6, Bronx residents $5, seniors and students $3, children $1, children under 2 free.
56. Tour Brooklyn Brewery
Williamsburg’s stellar brew haven now offers tours during the workweek, in which you can sample four of the brewery’s suds, which have included the Intensified Coffee Stout or the Blunderbuss Old Ale. It’s a much more intimate, in-depth version of their weekend tours—and they fill up fast; e-mail email@example.com soon to reserve a spot. Afterward, keep the party going by ordering another pint ($4, six for $20) in the tasting room. 79 North 11th St between Berry St and Wythe Ave, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-486-7422, brooklynbrewery.com). Mon–Thu 5pm; $8.
57. Watch movies in Bryant Park
The HBO Bryant Park Summer Films Festival returns for another year of warm-weather screenings. We’re really digging the lineup, which includes One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (June 20), Preston Sturges’s romantic-comedy classic The Lady Eve (July 25), Cool Hand Luke (Aug 1), Airplane! (Aug 8) and more of our faves. Find a full calendar of this summer’s free flicks in our outdoor-movie guide. Bryant Park, between 40th and 42nd Sts and Fifth and Sixth Aves (212-512-5700, bryantpark.org). June 20–Aug 22; Mon sunset, lawn opens 5pm.
65. Feast on amazing lobster rolls
Craving some fresh, affordable lobstah? During the week, Red Hook Lobster Pound’s food truck shells out just-off-the-boat Maine lobster rolls ($16) throughout Manhattan (follow its Twitter feed, @redhooklobster, for location updates). On weekends, catch them at either Brooklyn Flea locale: On Saturdays in Fort Greene (176 Lafayette Ave between Clermont and Vanderbilt Aves, Fort Greene, Brooklyn; 11am–5pm) or on Sundays in Williamsburg (27 North 6th St at Kent Ave, Williamsburg, Brooklyn; 11am–5pm).
73. Cheer at the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival
Celebrate the fifth day of the fifth lunar month in the Year of the Rabbit at this two-day cultural festival. Watch colorful Asian dragon boats race on Meadow Lake as rowers paddle to the beat of drums, catch performances such as performances from Shaolin monks and traditional dragon dances, then dig into buns, dumplings and other ethnic goodies at the festival food court. 111th St to Van Wyck Expwy between Flushing Bay and Grand Central Pkwy, Flushing Meadows–Corona Park, Queens (hkdbf-ny.org). Aug 13, 14 9am–5pm; free.
81. Hop it to Prospect Park Zoo
The menagerie’s Discovery Trail, specifically its seasonal Australian Walkabout section, welcomes two additions this year: a pair of joeys, or baby yellow-footed rock wallabies. As you wander through the open-air exhibit, you’ll also see a Western gray kangaroo and two long-necked emus. To see what else is on view, take a peek at out Prospect Park Zoo guide. Prospect Park Zoo, 450 Flatbush Ave at Empire Blvd, Prospect Park, Brooklyn (718-399-7339, prospectparkzoo.com). Mon–Fri 10am–5pm; Sat, Sun 10am–5:30pm; $8, seniors $6, children 3–12 $5, children under 3 free.
On top of that, I’ve got another extensive list that includes roller blading in the park, exploring Coney Island, venturing off to upstate New York (although I may save that for fall), mini golfing, getting high at a [couple] concert[s], co-hosting an overdue fondue party, laughing at a few comedy clubs, rock climbing, sunbathing at the beach (which I have yet to do and it’s already mid-July), eating at an infinite number of restaurants (of course)… among many others. Time to get on it!