The Best And Worst Parts About Living In New York City In The Summer


New York City. Center of the universe. Times are shitty, but I’m pretty sure they can’t get worse. Maybe I should’ve started out with “Hot town, summer in the city,” instead of quoting “Rent” so now it won’t be stuck in my head all day. Damn it.

Welcome to New York, the greatest city in the world. Whether you’re here for a summer internship at some kind of media/marketing/publicity/advertising firm or investment bank, we’re happy to have you here stimulating the economy and such. That and getting drunk in our bars and clubs and having sex with our many single citizens, both male and female. You get a fantastic sex story out of it and you help some of our rut-ridden New Yorkers out of their dry spells. It’s win-win.

Is living in New York in the summer all it is cracked up to be? Absolutely. There are ups and downs, but there’s still no place in the world I’d rather be and nowhere you’d rather be either. If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. But NYC certainly doesn’t always make it easy for one to make it. Here’s why:

The Weather

Best: There’s really no better time to be here than the summer, weather-wise. Aside from the occasional torrential downpour, it’s usually in the high 80’s with sunny and clear skies as far as the eye can see.

Worst: Yeah, because 88° with 56% humidity is exactly what the doctor ordered, especially when you’re in a suit and tie. You’ll be schvitzing through that white button-down shirt faster than Sandusky at a Boy Scout sleepover. And did I mention the torrential downpours? They come faster than a virgin on prom night — and just as suddenly — and there isn’t a goddamn chance you’re carrying an umbrella, so you either gotta buy one from a street vendor for $10 or get soaked.

Going To The Beach

Best: In New York City, you’re never more than a few miles from the beach. Hell, Manhattan itself is only 2.3 miles wide at its widest point and it’s an island surrounded by water on all sides, so you’re bound to hit a beach at some point. From Rockaway Beach to Manhattan Beach (which, ironically, isn’t in Manhattan), Coney Island and Brighton, and even Jones Beach or Long Beach on Long Island, a relaxing day of surf, sand, and sun is never all that far away.

Worst: Have you ever tried taking the subway to the beach? It’s like an hour trip. Each way. And that’s if you’re close to one of the subway lines that goes straight to the beach, most of which are located at the southernmost point in Brooklyn. And there are so many fat, sweaty Russian men in speedos at these beaches, it’s almost not worth the trip. You’re better off taking the train out to Long Island or the Jersey Shore to spend the day at one of the beaches out there. It’s still a long trip, but they’re much better quality.

Population Decrease

Best: One of the best parts about NYC in the summer is that as soon as Memorial Day rolls around, tons of people make the great exodus out east to the Hamptons and don’t return from their summer compounds until Labor Day, leaving a much quieter city behind.

Worst: Oh, awesome…so all the rich, fabulous, beautiful people are in the Hamptons, leaving all of us poor, ugly schlubs behind. Also, “population decrease” my ass. Try telling me there are fewer people in New York when you’re trying to walk through Times Square on a hot Saturday afternoon. If I get shoved out of the way while walking by one more Spaniard trying to take a picture with his or her iPad, I’m gonna introduce it to the pavement. Seriously, who takes a picture with an iPad?

Free Activities

Best: You can’t spit without hitting some kind of outdoor event here. Shakespeare in the Park, outdoor movies, summer concerts, TV show tapings, and the best part is that most of them are free. It also doesn’t cost anything to run through Central Park like Phoebe in “Friends” or explore the many various landmarks, free museums, and cool neighborhoods this city has to offer. All it costs is $2.50 for a MetroCard swipe on the subway.

Worst: Maybe it’s the fact that we’re all poor, but these free events fill up like crazy. To do some of them, you have to stand in line for days and ain’t nobody got time for that. And with all those people, it just gets so hot, sweaty, and sticky and there’s never a cold drink around when you need one, so you definitely run the risk of passing out. Sometimes it’s better to just sit in your apartment in your underwear in front of the air conditioner watching Netflix.

Weekend Getaways

Best: If you’re tired of the city life, you can always get out of town for the weekend. Montauk, the Hamptons, Long Beach Island, NJ, etc. are all great places that are less than an hour from the city and are excellent escapes from Manhattan.

Worst: …if you’re rich. Or have rich friends. Unless you’re in one of those categories, you’re screwed. The Hamptons is a pretty abysmal place for a day trip; it’s incredibly accessible by car, bus, and train, but it’s not like there’s an abundance of hotels out there to crash in. It’s mostly little inns and motels that are expensive as hell and not really on or near the beach because, well, all the good property is owned by the rich people. Like Spielberg.

For example, say you’re going drinking at the legendary Boardy Barn in Hampton Bays which is arguably one of the greatest party bars in America — if not by universal acclaim, then by sheer sales volume (they’re only open Sundays in the summer and in 2011, they sold more beer than Yankees Stadium sold all season. But that train ride back from Hampton Bays to Penn Station is like a 2+ hour buzz-killer.

The Food

Best: Summer seems to bring out the cooking spirit in New York City. Between street fairs on what seems like every other block and flea markets in every neighborhood featuring food from local restaurants and establishments, you don’t have to go to Applebee’s to eat good in your neighborhood. (Am I liable for co-opting the Applebee’s slogan? Guys? Anyone?) Also, restaurants open up their sliding doors to allow for outdoor seating, so tables and chairs seem to pop up everywhere so hungry diners can sit, eat a giant burrito, and drink an even more massive margarita.

Worst: …yeah, I’ve got nothing. The food in New York is the best, no matter what the season. I can’t be negative. How can you be negative when there are bagels and pizza as far as the eye can see? Street carts and food trucks peddling the finest that New York has to offer, from lobster rolls to grilled cheese and more? There’s even a place in Queens that serves meatloaf mac and cheese. WHAT IS THIS SORCERY?!

Oooooh, Daddy’s in the mood for dim sum. All aboard the 7 train to Flushing.

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