Fun and (almost) free stuff to do. by Rochelle Sterling
As we await the end of the semester, graduation, or a hiatus from classes until the summer sessions begin, some downtime is definitely in order. You can find many different ways to enjoy summertime in New York without breaking the bank or going too far. Planning a summer-long staycation? You can choose from a variety of activities that fit within your schedule and your budget.
LET’S GO TO THE PARK.
Central Park, Prospect Park, The Highline, Riverside Park, Van Cortlandt-New York’s city parks are a basic and easily forgotten source of fun in the sun. For around $20, you can pack a picnic basket with your favorite refreshments and sporting equipment for a hassle-free day filled with activities with friends-or that special someone. For locations around the city, visit www.nycgovparks.org.
Quick Tip: Whether you plan on being outside for five minutes or five hours, be sure to protect your skin with sunscreen/sunblock of at least SPF 15. Everyone loves a summer glow, but UV rays are no joke!
MUSIC MUSIC MUSIC.
Live music is the quintessential glue among any group of people. The New York City Parks Foundation’s annual SummerStage is New York’s largest free performing arts festival. With over one hundred performances in several genres at 18 parks around the city, you can find all the music you want between June 7th and September 2nd. This year, scheduled performances include Wiz Khalifa, Florence and the Machine, Yo-Yo Ma, and a wide array of other artists. For a calendar of events, visit www.summerstage.org. Follow @SummerStage on Twitter for ticket giveaways and event information.
Quick Tip: Plan ahead and get to the locations 1-2 hours before show time to ensure you’ll have your pick of where to enjoy the music. These shows are first come, first served and standing room. Seating is typically reserved for ticket holders.
LIFE’S A BEACH.
Even if you’ve never been on vacation in a tropical location, you know that beaches elsewhere don’t quite compare. However, you’ll enjoy the beaches near New York City, which are accessible, affordable and a great way to spend a hot, sunny day. If you’d like to get out of the city, the Long Island Railroad offers beach packages all summer long; less than $20 gets you a train ticket and one-day beach pass. Beach packages are available during the summer months and provide service to Long Beach, Jones Beach, and Robert Moses from Jamaica, and points further east including the Hamptons, Montauk, and Fire Island. Train schedules and fare information are available at www.mta.info.
Quick Tip: Pack your cooler, put on a bathing suit, and hop on the train to save gas and avoid traffic.
THE BIG SCREEN.
Rooftop Films, in collaboration with rooftop venues around the city, presents The Summer Series, a cinema series featuring independent film screenings for around $10 on rooftops. Even better, nonprofit Rooftop Films’ Kickstarter Campaign accepts pledges in exchange for membership. With a membership, screenings at BAM, Ace Hotel, Crown Vic, Brooklyn Grange, and several other venues for the entire season are included. For a complete list of Rooftop Films’ events, visit http://rooftopfilms.com/2011/schedule.
Quick Tip: Bring a chair or a blanket to these events, as seating is not always offered. Also, check the weather before you go. Inclement weather may cause cancellations.
No matter what you choose to do, get outside and seize the day!