I’m been feeling very reminiscent about my time in New York recently. I was there for two months last summer, and I can honestly say I spent some of my best days there; it’s such an incredible city. As urban and built up as it is, summer in the Big Apple is all about spending time outdoors. Whether that’s a movie screening or getting sporty in Central Park. Two of my favourite things…
I love Central Park. I know everyone says its a calm oasis in right in the middle of the City, but it’s true. Well, sort of. Head to the boating lake on the weekend and you’ll find swarms of people and queues longer than Alton Towers on a Bank Holiday. If you go West to Strawberry Fields then good luck trying to get a Instagram-worthy picture of the iconic ‘Imagine’ memorial to John Lennon. Don’t let that put you off though, they really are both worth doing (I promise the line for boats goes quicker than you’d expect).
However, for a more serene experience grab some guac and chips, hummus and crudités, and enjoy a relaxing picnic at sunset. You may think it’s risky to be in Central Park as daylight begins to fade, but as long as you stay close to the paths and street lamps, it’s completely safe. Spots I’d recommend are the Great Lawn, on the West Side (82nd St) and the East Meadow (97th St).
To get involved in Central’s active scene, I would definitely recommend doing the 6 mile cycle ride around the park. If you’ve got a Citi Bike key, then this is the most hassle-free way to do it. There are lots of station dotted around the borders of the park, so all you have to do is follow the cycle route. If not, don’t worry, they’ll always be someone from a bike hire company not far away, which usually cost around $15 per hour. It’s definitely worth it, and double the fun of being cycled around in a cart, where the driver can charge up to $5 per minute (yes, really!)
To tick-off a run in Central Park, then the Jackie Onassis Reservoir is the best place to head. It has a dedicated running track which, although is also used by walkers, provides a scenic route without any interruptions or obstacles. It’s approximately 3km all the way around, and is best enjoyed early morning or at dusk, when the temperature is cooler.
Over summer there are thousands of movie screenings in parks across all five boroughs. They are an integral part of the season, and they’re FREE. It’s no surprise that the most famous of these screenings are in two of New York’s most iconic parks: Central Park and Bryant Park. Other scenic spots include Union Square, a buzzing part of the City where King Leo has his New York base, and Brooklyn Bridge Park which boasts stunning views of the Manhattan skyline from across the East River.
However, the one I went to was in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. A hip area of New York’s hottest borough, I loved exploring its boutique shops, quirky eateries and street art. The outdoor cinema series here was called Summer Screen, and it was on the 27th July, when 10 Things I Hate About You was being shown, that I visited. It’s held in an area of McCarren Park usually used for sport, so is closed off until doors open. After that, the crowd flood in to pick their spot and soak up the vibes until the film begins at dusk. There are a few food trucks, and sponsors giving away freebies, but really, the real reason to get there early is to just have a bit of chill time. Honestly, most spots in here have a decent view. A few tips: remember to bring a blanket, something comfortable to sit on (not a chair, but something like a big cushion) and a picnic supper.