Unexpected Summer Fun in New York City

Hudson River

Hudson River

by jason Hall,

Breezy autumn sightseeing and Christmas at Rockefeller Center are still the top attractions to New York for vacationers, but summer in the city, especially  with a detailed itinerary- can thrill even the most well seasoned travelers.

All of the iconic attractions, sans the famous Christmas tree, of course- are still there to enjoy, and it’s easier to get around without the threat of ice and snowstorms. There’s Ellis Island and The Statue of Liberty (fact: it’s technically in New Jersey!), The Empire State Building, Broadway Shows, Shopping on Fifth Avenue, The Freedom Tower, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and so many more. But today we’re going to take a look at some attractions- locations  and events in New York- that are best, and in some cases only available- during spring and summer.

Outdoor special events are plentiful and most of them are free and open to the public. Macy’s Fireworks over the Hudson on Independence Day is perhaps the most famous, but there’s lots to do outside almost every day from June through September. there are cultural celebrations and parades, loads of free concerts, Shakespeare in the Park ,The Museum Mile Festival, Broadway in Bryant Park, and the Big Apple Barbecue to name just a few.

Being an island, NY has many piers and summer is the right time to get to know them. Some are huge and some are slim but they each have their own character and provide unique, grand views. There are lots of communal spaces for recreation that are popular with locals and tourists alike.  Architecture aficionados should check out the ultra modern Pier 15, which is bi-level and boasts its own built in ‘grassy knolls’, glass pavilions, gardens and a covered walkway between the two levels. Another favorite is Pier 84, smack in between the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum and The Circle Line Cruise Dock. The pier itself has it’s own charms: bike rentals, a water park and even a dog run where you can watch the local pooches play and schmooze.

Another very special part of New York comes alive, literally- only in the summer. We’re talking about gardens. Just take to the streets downtown and keep your eyes peeled. There are pops of color peeking out everywhere, once you start looking for them, you’ll be astounded at how many you find.  Follow through the ones with open gates and you’ll be enveloped in meandering gardens that run the gamut from funky and bohemian looking, dotted with sculptures and folk art, to meticulously manicured rose gardens in the English tradition.  On the other end of the spectrum, there’s baseball.

Atlantic City Beach
Atlantic City Beach

Atlantic City Beach

It may be America’s pastime, but no place does it like New York City. The fact that it is home to two top major league baseball teams, the New York Yankees as well as the Mets, makes for, in true New York fashion- a one of a kind situation. Different loyalties and traditions make for a storied history, and both team’s stadiums, Yankee Stadium and Citi Field (formerly Shea Stadium) are brand new as of just a few seasons ago.  They are museums in their own right, and both are a must-see for even a casual baseball fan.

Summer time means beach time and beach time in New York means Coney Island. Developers have been chipping away at the old school charm of this beach town but the dark cloud that was hard-hitting damage from Hurricane Sandy did come with a silver lining- a renewed interest in preserving this special place.   The Coney Island Museum is slated to reopen before June of 2013. The very best beach excursions, though, are just west of New York in New Jersey. With so much more to offer than what is showcased on MTV’s ‘Jersey Shore’ TV show (although the boardwalk there actually IS a ton of down ‘n’ dirty fun) savvy travelers will grab a budget car rental and find beach town after beach town all the way up and down the coast, each with it’s own unique personality. Also ravaged by Hurricane Sandy, New Jersey’s shore needs the revenue as much as you’ll need a break from the stone and steel in the hot city.  Some highlights are the wonderful nature reserve at Island Beach State Park and The Stony Pony in Asbury Park, the venue Bruce Springsteen made world famous early in his career. Then there’s Wildwood, with it’s immense, sprawling beaches dotted with hotels that are astounding examples of 50’s and 60’s ‘Doo-Wop’ architecture.  Just south of that is Cape May, quaint and quiet, with block after block of stunning Victorian homes.  On the way to Wildwood and Cape May, which is about three hours out of the city, hit what locals call “A. C.” Of course, Atlantic City.

Atlantic City’s beaches are free and never really that crowded- probably because ‘beach’ isn’t the first thing people think of these days when they think of ‘Las Vegas by the Sea”. But they are large and lovely-definitely worth checking out before or after trying your luck at the tables.

Useful info:

http://www.budget.com.au

 

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