There’s Still Time to Savor Summer

The sun now sets before 8 p.m., Labor Day is fast approaching and the back-to-school sales are well underway.

This moment on the calendar is often bittersweet, hinting as it does at cooler temperatures and the move of activities back indoors. This year, the added anxiety around the resurgence of the coronavirus and rise of the highly contagious Delta variant does not help.

It is worth accepting that we can rarely accomplish everything we want to do in a summer (looking at you, the kayaking trip I have talked about for three straight years). But in the last few weeks of warm weather and late sunsets, it’s certainly worth trying.

So take stock: What’s on your summer wish list? What are the things you would like to accomplish before we trade short sleeves for sweaters and lemonades for pumpkin spice lattes? I’ve got a few suggestions.

If you haven’t made a trip to the city’s farmer’s markets lately, you’ll want to go before the last of the summer fruit disappears. There are markets in every borough but on Saturdays, the Union Square Greenmarket has more produce than you could ever squeeze in a tote bag.

Grab some bread, cheese, fruit and veggies and make a picnic out of it. (Snag some extra peaches, plums or nectarines for a cobbler or tomatoes for a sandwich. Trust me.) You can stay in Union Square Park or hop on the M14A or M14D bus toward the Hudson River or East River parks.

The city’s ferry system is open year round, but summer weather heightens the experience of sitting on the upper deck with the wind whipping through your hair. Tickets are valid for 90 minutes, and transfers within the system are free, so you can combine routes for a reasonably lengthy journey up and down the East River.

However you sail, plan your route to end at the Brooklyn Army Terminal stop on the Sunset Park waterfront. From there, you’re a quick walk to Brooklyn’s Chinatown, with shopping and restaurants that will fortify you for the rest of your day. (For a food crawl of a different sort as summer turns to fall, take a look at Homecoming’s guided tour of Jackson Heights next month.)

You can walk off the meal with a stroll in Green-Wood Cemetery, a burial ground and national historic landmark. The cemetery was designed to be a retreat for city-dwellers and that inspired both Central and Prospect Parks.

Or maybe you prefer to stay put, in which case the city has a number of boat bars that offer similar waterfront scenery but stay stationary. Pilot, docked off a pier in Brooklyn Bridge Park, is accessible and pairs well with a walk to the Brooklyn Heights Promenade and its spectacular city views. In Upper Manhattan, Baylander Steel Beach, a restaurant on a decommissioned aircraft carrier, is docked at the West Harlem Piers.

How about a swim? The city’s outdoor public pools, a lifeline across the five boroughs in the heat, are open through Sept. 12, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. (with an hourlong break at 3 p.m. for pool cleaning). The Parks Department suggests that you bring a combination lock, and only plain white shirts or white hats are allowed on the pool deck.

Summer, to me, also means baseball. The Yankees are in the Bronx and the Mets are in Queens, and they’re always an option. But don’t skip the Brooklyn Cyclones, a minor-league team affiliated with the Mets that plays at Maimonides Park in Coney Island, just off the boardwalk. Tickets are cheap, and the games tend to offer a good show.

A few more ideas:

With friends: We won’t print the name of this event on the Lower East Side tonight, but it’s a night of seven 10-minute plays that have an accompanying drinking game. Choose the friends accompanying you carefully, and bring a date at your own peril.

For date night: Check out the Vietnamese dishes at Banh Vietnamese Shop House on the Upper West Side, which offers labor-intensive dishes that are rarely seen in New York restaurants.

In Brooklyn: The Brooklyn Museum will be home to the official portraits of former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama for two months. The museum is welcoming them on Saturday afternoon with music, poetry and a portrait project. (RSVP required.)

Family fun: Bring the kids to the urban farm on Randalls Island on Saturday morning for the last read-aloud of the summer. There will be snacks and a book raffle, and you can check out the crops afterward.

In Queens: Learn how to hula dance on Sunday morning, with a free class at the Socrates Sculpture Park in Astoria. (Not far from the ferry stop!)

Going solo: The Luminal Theater is screening “The Murder of Fred Hampton,” a documentary about the 1969 killing of the chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panthers, in the backyard at Nowadays in Ridgewood. Monday’s screening will take place on what would have been Fred Hampton’s 73rd birthday.

What do you want to hear from us this summer? Are there events or venues we should know about? Send us a note at [email protected]

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