Just one more week until Summer will officially be in swing, which means two things: lots of tourists coming to New York, and native New Yorkers trying to spend as much time outside as possible. Even visitors expecting a great deal of people will be surprised at how packed common tourist attractions like the MoMA, the Met and the Empire State Building will overflow with people and make the often stifling concrete heat even more unbearable. Here are a few suggestions of more obscure but equally enjoyable outings that are sure to please.
Discover off the beaten path NYC.
Visit Alphabet City
A neighborhood so-called because it occupies the lettered avenues East of 1st Avenue, Alphabet has remained cool and fresh for decades, probably because it’s a few avenue blocks walk from any subway station. But don’t worry, the brisk stroll is worth it, as you’ll find Alphabet City more reasonably priced, lively and young that the majority of Manhattan’s neighborhoods. One particularly special feature is the presence of many free communal gardens open during the daytime, the perfect place to take a secluded break after walking around in the summer heat.
Walk the Brooklyn Bridge
An old favorite of mine, and a true classic for any visitor or man trying to impress his ladyfriend with something fun and original, the Brooklyn Bridge is iconic in every sense of the word. Upon its completion in 1883, the Bridge was the longest suspension bridge in the world, and a landmark feat of engineering. The best way to truly appreciate its contribution to New York’s greatness is to let it serve its purpose in taking you on a nice walk from Manhattan to Brooklyn. There are benches on the footpath to sit and enjoy the view, and once in Brooklyn Heights, there’s a great new park, an ice cream shop, Grimaldi’s Pizza and a string of nice restaurants on Clark St to give you a warm welcome to Kings County.
Go Gallery Hopping in Chelsea
Chelsea is home to probably the highest density of art galleries on the Eastern Seaboard. The really good stuff starts around 10th and 11th avenue in the 20s, the area is absolutely loaded with spaces displaying art to suite all tastes and budgets, and is always worth an exploration. While over there, see if the High Line isn’t too too crowded, and grab a slice of Artichoke Pizza, not necessarily a representative New York slice, but certainly unique and delicious.
Visit PS One
Located in Long Island City, Queens, PS One is one of the largest museums in the world dedicated entirely to contemporary art. The permanent collection is excellent, and there are always interesting special exhibitions. During the summer, the museum hosts an outdoor party and music event called Warm Up every Saturday, which is always a good time. Next door to the museum one can find 5 Pointz, a building covered in graffiti from some of the best taggers from around the world, making a trip out to the biggest borough more than worth it.
See Some Comedy
Comedy is the necessary dark side of New York life. One can only take so much time in the pressurized, unfriendly and rapid paced environment with their sanity totally intact. One great way to blow off this steam and relax a bit is to see some comedy, either Stand Up or Improv, both of which New York has in spades. For Improv check out the fabulous Upright Citizens Brigade Theater, with one branch in Chelsea on 26th and 8th Avenue and another in Alphabet City on Ave A and 3rd st.