City dwellers take in some sun in Bryant Park, enjoying the green tucked away amid the glass and steel of the neighboring skyscrapers. The park is built on the site of an 18th century reservoir – people could walk around its granite walls and peer into the water below.
New York – Fact Check

Summertime in New York isn't all that bad

Photo by Alessandro Gandolfi

New York – Fact Check Summertime in New York isn't all that bad

New Yorkers make a show of hating the city in summertime.

Tara Isabella Burton
Tara Isabella Burton Travel Writer

New York is too hot, too sweaty; good beaches are too far away. Complaining about the humidity is as much a competitive sport as bagging invitations to a friend’s house in the Hamptons or Jersey Shore. I don’t mind. More space for the rest of us.

Summer in New York is an odd time. The streets – outside of the tourist landmarks – feel wider; the pace seems slower. And, for three months each year, the city feels like a community. It’s the time when a famously tribal city, where wealth and class all too often transform neighborhoods into insular enclaves, briefly comes together.

Street fairs pop up on avenues and side-streets alike. In Central Park, tickets to Shakespeare in the Park are available to anyone lucky enough to get tickets through the online lottery – willing to rise at dawn to line up. Students, office workers, and retirees alike stretch out along the grass, sharing picnic food (or early-morning wine) as the wait for tickets grows ever-longer.

At Lincoln Center – where prices for opera and ballet are often dizzying – the outdoor space is transformed into Midsummer Night’s Swing: a nightly series of dances to live jazz bands. Admission is $25 but a regular community of passionate dancers kick up their heels right outside the cordoned dance area – same music, fewer crowds – for free. At Bryant Park, classic films are screened against the Library’s back walls. There are no velvet ropes, no guest lists, no $100 tickets or $20 cocktails. Everything is accessible, for a change.

Come fall, of course, we all return to our tribes: hipsters gulp down PBR in Bushwick, hedge fund managers pour champagne on the Upper East Side. But for a couple of months a year we’re all just New Yorkers. At least for a while.

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