While the weather can be inconsistent during the spring months in the city, there is no denying when summer descends on New York City. As the temperatures rise towards the triple-digits and stay there for weeks, the city becomes much warmer, and in many ways even more lively, than it is the rest of the year. Just like any other season, summer in New York is jam-packed with so many activities that it is nearly impossible to keep track of them all. To help narrow down the usual plethora of options, these are a handful of the best things to do this summer in NYC.
See a Movie (or Four) in Bryant Park
There are actually several ongoing outdoor film festivals throughout NYC, including Films on the Green at Washington Square Park and SummerScreen at McCarren Park in Brooklyn. However, there are none as prestigious or as centrally located as the HBO Bryant Park Summer Film Festival. HBO, whose headquarters are right across the street from the famed Midtown park, will be showing a series of classic films on Monday evenings from June through August. This year's lineup of free movies in Bryant Park includes "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," "Top Gun," "The Omen," "High Plains Drifter" and a number of other selections perfect for a summer evening in the middle of Manhattan.
Ride the Staten Island Ferry
As one of the city's top tourist attractions, and iconic modes of transportation, riding the Staten Island Ferry may not seem like it should be on the list of the most unique things to do this summer in NYC. However, sometimes clichés exist for a reason. Whether you have never stepped foot on the free, frequently run ferry or you are a seasoned Staten Island Ferry veteran, this New York activity is almost always glorious – especially during the temperate summer months when the outdoor ride is warm and the views of Manhattan and Brooklyn are as clear as they get.
Check Out the Cloisters
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is famous for being not only the largest museum in the city, but actually the largest in the entire Western Hemisphere. This venerable institution only charges a suggested donation, and its massive indoor spaces are a nice option for escaping the summer heat in Manhattan. However, a generally less-crowded and more outdoor-oriented summer activity is the Met-owned Cloisters museum uptown. The Cloisters' collection of European medieval-era art and architecture is fascinating and educational for all ages, and the Hudson River views are unparalleled.
Catch a Show at SummerStage
From Strawberry Fields to the Bethesda Fountain, simply wandering Central Park itself is one of the most enjoyable things to do this summer in NYC. However, the 843 acres of Manhattan's largest park is home to a number of fantastic summer activities, including the impressive lineup of SummerStage concerts at Rumsey Playground. This year, the concert series lineup includes singer/songwriter Ryan Adams, legendary indie-rock band the Feelies and the much-anticipated return of New Zealand comedy duo Flight of the Conchords.
Make the Trek Out to Coney Island
A trip to Coney Island involves nothing more than a subway ride for most New Yorkers. However, the Brooklyn attraction is not quite as popular as it was at its peak over a century ago. Nonetheless, during the summer a visit to Coney Island is still a must for NYC residents, Whether you are interested in eating at the original Nathan's, riding the Cyclone rollercoaster, or simply enjoying one of the city's best beaches, or all of the above, Coney Island offers all of this and much more.