Category Archives: NYC Summer Fun

Brooklyn Bridge Bites

Last September (2015), dungeekin and I headed to Brooklyn from Manhattan (walking as the weather was fine) and what emerged was a whole different view of this iconic bridge. So many messages …

June “What’s On in NYC” Round Up

Big doings in Banbury this weekend – it’s the Banbury & District Show in Spiceball Park. Never been and don’t quite know what to expect but as a new(ish)resident, I feel I ought to go and check it out. Meanwhile, back in Gotham this weekend (June 11-12) is the 11th edition of the Big Apple BBQ Block Party. Now that I’ve been to (quite a few times) and I can highly recommend going if you are a BBQ fan (as I am).


Also happening this weekend – the Egg Rolls & Egg Creams Festival (hosted by the Museum at Eldridge Street which is housed in the former Eldridge Street Synagogue). The Festival, a colorful block party, is “a cross-cultural celebration of the Jewish and Chinese communities of our Lower East Side/Chinatown neighborhood.”


Later in the month – grab your inner Gatsby and get out to Governors Island for the next Jazz Age Lawn Party (June 15-16). I’m a fan of the music and era (not the recent movie, it must be said but then I am clearly not alone as almost any of the reviews reveal). And of course, I adore Governors Island. It’s one of the best things about summer in New York City – one my favorite quick “still in the city but get out of the city” day trips and one I made (and make) whenever the chance presents itself. Even the ferry terminal is gorgeous.


Gov Island Ferry Terminal (Manhattan water side)


Gov Island Ferry Terminal (interior water side)


View of Manhattan from the Ferry heading to Gov Island

On June 18 (2016), head towards the water again but this time to Coney Island for the Coney Island Mermaid Parade.


So, there’s no excuse for sitting around the house. Lots going on. I’ll report in from the Banbury Show next week but I want a FULL report on the BBQ and egg creams from folks on the other side. Deal?

Behind Normally Closed Doors

I’m very much enjoying exploring me new stomping grounds here in the UK (more on this later) but it does means that I am missing the 2012 edition of Summer Restaurant Week. For those of you who are on the ground to take advantage of it, it’s been extended through September 3 so if you thought you’d missed your chance to try that new pricey place you’d always wanted to try – go for it!  I’m also gonna miss openhousenewyork (OHNY) in Oct 6 but I shall make a point of checking out the event that inspired it – Open House London (Sept 22-23).

It’s not just NYC and London that have this type of event. According to information on the OHNY site, Open House Worldwide is a sort of umbrella network of similar efforts, including (apart from Open House London and OHNY) Open House Dublin, Open House Tel Aviv, Open House Jerusalem, Open House Melbourne, Open House Galway, Open House Barcelona, Open House Slovenia, Open House Chicago, Open House Rome, and Open House Helsinki. New cities seem to be getting added all the time (Perth, Lisbon and Adelaide were just getting underway from a planning standpoint recently) so keep an eye out – you just may get a chance to grab a peek at otherwise hidden local architectural gems near you.



Feeling Festive? Check These Out

As I point out over on Boris Johnson’s blog, festival season is upon us.

NYC has the River to River Festival while London has the City of London Festival. We have films al fresco in Bryant Park and they have them at Somerset House (which reminds me – I have a story about visiting Somerset House that I must tell you all one day but this is neither the time nor the place).  But that being Boris’ space and Boris being mayor of London, NYC is not really the point over there. But here, here it is ALL about NYC and so I present some of the my choices for festivals, fair and summer fun you should check out:

  • First and foremost: it is Fleet Week. When? Now. Check it out! Parade of ships, pier demonstrations, the Intrepid Summer Movie Series, and more
  • This upcoming weekend, a great choice is Family Festival at The Cloisters – and this year’s theme (medieval castles) is sure to be an attention grabber, especially when you consider the setting. If you haven’t been to the Cloisters, go. You won’t be sorry. It is one of the city’s most spectacular spots and one a lot of people miss.  Speaking of museums (because the Cloisters IS part of the Met after all), don’t forget that June 8 is the Museum Mile Festival from 6 to 9 p.m.
  • June 2- 6 is the World Science Festival. Now stop that. Don’t squinch up your face like that. This isn’t science class. There won’t be a test after wards. This is FUN. Science can be, you know. Actually this festival really does have something for everyone – and that’s part of its mission: ” . . . to cultivate and sustain a general public informed by the content of science, inspired by its wonder, convinced of its value, and prepared to engage with its implications for the future.” To that end they have everything from a gala opening night honoring Stephen Hawking to discussion panels to family events like demonstrations of the James Webb Telescope and scientific street fairs.
  • Brooklyn is playing host to the largest the largest Native American gathering in New York City June 4-6 in the shape of the Native American Festival at Aviator Sports and Events Center. The Center also hosts other festivals during the summer including the 2nd Annual Brooklyn Irish Festival June 26-27

A summer in the city fixture is the film festival and don’t we have a lot to chose from. Of course, you know about the Bryant Park film series but did you know that you could also do the outdoor movie thing on the deck of the Intrepid? Doesn’t that sounds AWESOME? It does to me which is why you’ll see me at the Intrepid Summer Movie Series.  But that’s not even the half of the film festival scene in NYC

  • Movies with a View is on its 11th year in Brooklyn Bridge Park and there are not a lot of better views in the city. The waterfront, the bridge AND great movies? You can see why the series gets more and more popular each year.
  • On the Upper West Side and prefer your outdoor movies closer to home? There’s River Flicks for Grownups and River Flicks for Kids.
  • The Staten Island Film festival (June 2-6) – yes, yes I know but if you haven’t BEEN to Staten Island how will you know if you like it or not. And you know what? There’s quite a few things to see and do on Staten Island. (Note to self – do a Staten Island post ASAP)
  • For those who like to mix the culinary with the cinematic, there is the NYC Food Film Festival (June 23-27).

There’s tons more – July, August and September are as full of fun as the earlier part of the summer but we’ll cover them closer to that time. And of course, no single post on Greater Gotham could find every festival, fair or fun thing. Here are some great online resources for finding the right event for you and your family.

Spatial Relations Around Town

Growing Governors Island: well, it’s true that NYC cares more than the state and will do more, move faster etc. I do have concerns about some of these ideas however.  For some reason, I thought the city already had control of the island which is why they were doing all that stuff on the far end. Oh well – I was wondering when the Island opening was and looks like it will be: Friday to Sunday from June 5th to October 10th this year. Is ti just me or does that sound like a late opening?

More Whitney, more better? What? Wait – so they really are planning a building right next to the southern tip of the High Line? Bleah. Look, I’m all about them dealing with their space problem (and it IS a problem as anyone who has visited the Whitney in the past – oh – decade can say).  I don’t even think a second location is a bad idea but does it have to come smack up against the High Line? There’s nothing else – no other building – down there (and I see why the Whitney would want a location in that area) they could use? And yes, I know the early illustrations of the park had a building indicated there but when the park opened, it wasn’t there and if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

NYC Bike Share Test Run

Bike Share Update: There is a test run of the long anticipated (by me, anyway) bike share program during Summer Streets tomorrow. Go try it. You may like it. Go on . . I know it’s hot out. Lord above, don’t I know it. But think of it this way – if you’re on a bike, the wind is in your hair, cooling you down. But please remember – there are pedestrians as well. Surely there is enough room to share. Be careful, be respectful and be safe!


On the Verge of New York Summer

My apologies to all. I was taking this economic meltdown by the horns (on a personal level) and wrestling it to the ground. This took more resources and a bit more time than I thought it would. But I’ve returned! Battered and bruised by the battle but victorious. And I bring news! I am seriously considering a train journey. Amtrak has cut their fares across the Northeast for the summer. Let the planning and pondering begin!

Closer to home – at long last – a nice sized chunk of the American Wing has reopened at Metropolitan Museum of Art. While I was never much interested in the majority of the pieces in the American Wing (I’m still not) , it was very often my inter-museum destination thanks to the Tiffany garden. I would bring a snack and a book and spend hours there. Then they closed the wing so they could revamp it. Apparently, long after I noticed the place was a badly lit rabbit warren, someone in authority finally reached the same conclusion. They decided it was so convoluted and hard to navigate that most people never saw the majority of the collection. Bravo to them for fixing it but damn! It took ages and I was denied my garden escape. Sadly, it looks like I will continue to be denied by habitual escape since they have replaced my beautiful jewel-like atrium with one of their cold, marble courts. Grrrrrrrr.

And when I tire of the museum, I can wander out into the park to catch a classic flick. What’s that? Yes the Central Park Film Festival has returned! And even better 0 the first film on the schedule is SHAFT!

More Reasons to Get to Gotham

You know how I was saying now would be a great time to visit New York? Well, here’s another great reason to get on that right away — Restaurant Week has been extended!. But that’s not all. 2009 is a year crammed full of stuff to see and do in the city.

Turns out that there will also be a year long celebration of the 400th anniversary of the arrival of Henry Hudson to New York City. Wooden shoes for all? No, sorry – I kid. (Though I would secretly love a pair of wooden shoes). Anyway – it will be a year in which we celebrate the City’s Dutch roots and which will culminate in something called Harbor Day. Oh – before I forget – if you are a history buff or a NYC buff – you need to get Island at the Center of the World.

Honestly, one of the best books on the history of the area I have ever read and I have read a lot.

It’s all well and good to talk about the United States and Britain having a special relationship but if you look at the roots of the colony that became New York and which laid the foundation for a lot of the societal structure and norms – you’ll find an equally compelling case for a special relationship with the Dutch as well. As for the writing style – I love a history book that moves! History needn’t be dull or dry and this book proves that (as if it needed proving.)

Now, what was I saying? Oh yes – Harbor Day.

The first ever Harbor Day- Sept 2009 – “will feature events and activities including free bike rental and ferry rides to encourage New Yorkers and visitors to enjoy the City’s waterfronts districts in Manhattan and Brooklyn and on Governors Island.” Now, I can vouch for the trip to Governors Island. Magnificent. A MUST SEE. The views, the buildings, the plans they have for the place, the biken rentals. Even if you aren’t here for that particular day or weekend, make time during the summer to go.

By pedal vs. bipedal

I was out on the streets along with many of my fellow New Yorkers on Saturday. And like many of my fellow New Yorkers, I was in near constant peril of being run over by cyclists.

bikes_nyc.JPGHey! Cyclists! I’m all for cycling but we’re walking here! Do you all NEED the whole of Park Avenue to shoot down? Can you not leave one lane for those of us on foot? I know exactly the feeling of “pedestrian anxiety described at Walking Off the Big Apple.” I shared the anxiety all day. But I also know – as was mentioned on Streetsblog – I know that the majority of the bikers were not the ones weaving in and out of foot traffic and waiting until they were breathing down the necks of pedestrians. The majority were out and about, enjoying the day WITH the rest of us. But the few bad apples were seemed determine to own the road could use a few lessons in manners and consideration.

There were quite a few spots where the “bikers to the left/ walkers and bladers to the right” actually was posted and – I use the term loosely, enforced. But there just as many places – more in fact, where such a division was no where to be seen, announced or followed. I gather it was better the second week than the first. I hope the improvement continues because I love the idea of shutting the streets down in general and want it to continue to be a success so it becomes a regular thing.

One positive development in the battle between bicycles and bipeds – another good sized chunk of Riverside Park South is now open. Thank goodness! That stretch remained apparently completed and closed for so long, I thought they might just have put it there to taunt the walkers.

“Look,” it seemed designed to say. “Look at where you might walk free from the danger of being run into a chain link fence or knocked over by an angry biker. If only we would open this place of calm and safety.”  And listen, bike folks – I get it. It’s the bike path. I see the little illustration of the man on the bike. But come on – we all gonna have to share and play nice while improvements are being made. It’s not my fault as a walker that they parks department took so long. And they have gotten it open now so can’t we all just get along? All will be peaceful now though since we walkers can now move at our own pace in our own space (until we reach the end right near the Sanitation building and then we have to squeeze in with bikers again.

And slow though the parks department may have been to open this section, they are oodles faster than the MTA at anything. At least with the Waterfront work, you can see where the money has gone and how well it’s been spent. Oh well – nothing is perfect. But having another piece of beautiful waterside promenade done, make the imperfections a lot easier to bear.

Three Fs of New York Summer Fun: Fireworks, Films and Food

fireworks.jpg A review of data and statistics reveals July to be the hottest and wettest month of the year and here in New York, July seems determined to live up to its reputation. Still, it’s a great time to be in New York because there’s a lot going to that will get your mind off the heat and the humidity.

The Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks (start time approx. 9pm) are the keystone Fourth of July event. You can catch a great viewing spot along the FDR (which is shut to vehicular traffic starting at 7pm), South Street Seaport or Liberty State Park.

Other evenings in July needn’t pale by comparison. Check out the July features for the Bryant Park Summer 2008 Movie Schedule:

  • July 7: The Man Who Came to Dinner (1942) — An acerbic radio commentator drops in one night for dinner and stays all winter. Written by the Epstein brothers (who penned the crackling dialogue in Casablanca), the cast of this farce includes Bette Davis, Anne Sheridan and Jimmy Durante.
  • July 14: Fail-Safe (1964) — As the stalwart President, Henry Fonda faces a dilemma: due to computer error, a U.S. bomber is en route to Moscow to drop an atomic bomb. This tense cold war drama, directed by Sidney Lumet, also features Walter Matthau and Larry Hagman.
  • July 21: Arsenic and Old Lace (1944) — The great screwball comedy, directed by Frank Capra, stars Cary Grant as a strait-laced young man who comes to the realization that his sweet old aunts have a nasty hobby. Raymond Massey and Peter Lorre lend hilarious support as two befuddled baddies.
  • July 28: The Apartment (1960) — In Billy Wilder’s cynical-but-sweet romantic comedy, Jack Lemmon tries to get ahead by loaning out his apartment to the bosses for a little “ring-a-ding-ding”. That is, until the place is used to entertain the woman of his affections, played adorably by Shirley MacLaine.

The park lawn opens at 5:00pm for blankets and picnicking and the films begin at dusk (typically between 8pm and 9pm).

Of course, July also means Restaurant Week Summer 2008 (which I mentioned as part of the Summer Fun Series). But July is a great food month overall in Gotham. To get you started on your mid-year culinary quest across the city, Ed Levine (of Serious Eats) compiled a list of 10 things you must eat this summer. Of course that list, which appeared in the Daily News, is just a small sample of the great stuff you can find on Serious Eats New York, where all the best food sites are trawled for the best tips and pointers. Also found in The Daily News was a quick hits guide to the best street food in New York. When did the Daily News become one of my ‘go to’ food places. I’m not complaining, mind you. Just feeling pleasantly confused 🙂

If you want to take a more hands on approach to food this month, why not check out the Whole Foods Market Bowery Culinary Center. Lots of classes, lectures and author appearance. You can sharpen up your knife skills, take a master class in chocolate or take a culinary trip around the world all in one evening.

Whatever your plans are – don’t forget that New York in July is only hot and humid but hoppin’ and happenin’ as well!