This was a summer to remember. After a once-in-a-lifetime journey through Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, I have been fortunate to realize a long-held dream: to spend an extended period in New York. I love the city for its manic vibe, and great art and theater, but no visit has ever been long enough to just wander, and practice a little slow travel here. For a glorious couple of months–albeit in a season that sizzles the sidewalks–I was privileged to rent an apartment in Chelsea and hang out with friends who are long-time New Yorkers.
The Heat Wave of 2012 came to the city along with gazillions of tourists. As it happens, I was one of them. There was plenty to do all around me, of course, but it took a bit of planning to make the most of summer in New York under such relentless warmth.
NYC in the water, on the water
Summertime in New York City is time to take to the water, and every year, New Yorkers decamp in their thousands to the Hamptons, Coney Island and other beach destinations. However, there are options not involving sand and salt. New York City has at least 50 public swimming pools, including one in Astoria Park, said to be the largest and nicest in the city system. For impromptu lazing about, there are fountains, like the one in Washington Square Park. On a sunny July Sunday, I was thankful for a fountain that delivers its refreshing spray with a side of jazz.
A less conventional dousing was available this year, to audience participants in a production of Fuerza Bruta, at the Daryl Roth Theater. An hour of full-on acrobatics by the dancers of this scrum-as-theater experience was punctuated by watery dances overhead, and at the end, industrial fans and a cooling spray for the audience.
Catamaran taxis, ferries on the East and Hudson rivers, the Staten Island Ferry, a Circle Line dinner cruise—take your pick. Any of these water-borne modes of transport reward passengers with cooling city views, especially pleasant during summer in New York. For getting from point A to point B, boats can also be a cooling alternative to the subway, with its sauna-like station platforms and construction delays.
Walking it off
For help in organizing forays here, I found Teri Tyne’s wonderful website, Walking Off the Big Apple to be very useful. It is an excellent place to figure out the logistics for say, hopping a ferry and enjoying a day on the water. Any day of the week, though, and especially in summertime, a meander on foot through a New York City neighborhood is its own reward.
Always time for art
A trip to New York is not complete for me unless I make it to at least two or three museums, and stop in to at least one new arts venue. This last visit, I enjoyed the Met and MOMA as always, but also visited a couple of museums that are now on my list of all-time favorites: The Rubin Museum of Art and The Noguchi Museum in Long Island City. At The Rubin, Tom and I enjoyed an exhibition featuring Indian photographer Homai Vyarawalla. The Noguchi, introduced me to the art, architecture and design of Isamo Noguchi, and as an added bonus, was a cooling and serene venue in summertime.