the a-z of surviving new york in the summer

From throwing a rooftop pool party fit for the Sex and the City squad to cracking a hydrant with the little tykes on your block, here are i-D's top tips for making it through summer in the Big Apple one letter at a time.

by Emily Manning
Jul 8 2015, 2:55pm

A is for Air conditioning: This one might seem universal, but we wouldn't ever want to cross a New Yorker without a window unit. Hey Arnold hit waaaaay too close to home with that heatwave episode: driven to insanity when the shoddy AC shits out, the show's schoolyard clique ends up carjacking the neighborhood ice cream man. For the sake of your friends and loved ones, invest in a Frigidaire.

B is for BAM: One place that definitely has a dope air conditioner is the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Although you just missed their 20th anniversary Kids reunion, BAM is still the perfect place to post up when the weather gets unbearable. This summer, they're screening a series of Indie 80s films, including Jim Jarmusch's Stranger than Paradise and duh, Blue Velvet.

Image via Flickr User Wayne Taylor

C is for Coney Island: Okay okay, we know the Brooklyn beachfront isn't as delightfully nostalgic as Annie Hall makes it out to be, but it's still pretty lols. Funnel cake, creaky wooden roller coasters, being overcharged for games you can't win: it's all part of the fun. Lighten up a little and be prepared to blow like 30 bucks.

D is for Dogs: The summer is the best time to appreciate your furry friend. If you haven't got a pup, buddy up with an owner you kind of know from that one Soul Cycle class you did on a Groupon eight months ago. If you do, tie it up tight because I am getting desperate.

E is for Express trains: At least one circle of hell involves squirming between Scandinavian tourists and Showtime boys on a sticky local train for eternity. It might mean a few extra minutes on a crowded platform, but do yourself a favor and hang for the 4 or 5 rather than squeezing through the 6 with your overheated woes.

F is for Fling: Pretty much half of Grease is dedicated to this shit. Ladies, get your Sandra Dee on and feel no shame bagging a bad boy for a couple months. If he's got a whip like Danny Zuko, he might be worth hanging onto for a little while longer (no one likes riding the subway to IKEA.)

G is for Gallery openings: Summer might seem like the art world's offseason, but anyone who's ever walked around Chelsea on a Thursday evening knows that's garbage. Like libraries, a lot of art spaces need climate control for preservation (a lot of art spaces are also just weird warehouses with bathroom stalls that'll give you splinters so do your research.) Unlike libraries, openings always have free booze. This one and this one look particularly cool this month.

H is for Hydrants: Anyone in Brooklyn can tell you this doesn't just happen in Do the Right Thing. When the little ones on your street crack a dome, splash along for a bit. It'll cool you down and keep your spirits up when you get that air conditioning bill I forgot to mention.

I is for Impeccably curated soundtracks: Summer music is basically its own genre, just ask the Beach Boys or Will Smith. Get your playlist primed for keggers and chill watermelon-eating sessions. Bonus tip: if you haven't checked out Pandora's Hip Hop BBQ station just go ahead and open up another tab, I'll wait.

J is for Jacob Riis: Picking a beach is like picking a wine, or something. But you really can't go wrong with this Fort Tilden-adjacent park on the Bay. There's plenty of space for BBQs, some small taco shacks by the bathhouse, and even a girl that lobs off the top of a coconut you can drink out of.

K is for Keeping your cool: You might think the city clears out when IRL Gossip Girls dip to the Hamptons for three months, but really, it's full of people who just want you to tell them how to get to FAO Schwartz. Do your best to keep your cool while explaining where exactly they shot Seinfeld.

L is for Lightweight: As someone who spends most of their time in Carhartt construction overalls, even I can't stress the importance of a light wardrobe enough. There will be puh-lenty of time for your Acne parka when this cruel city returns to bitter climes. For now, break out those Alexander Wang H&M sports bras you battled it out on eBay for back in February.

Image via Flickr User Scott Beale

M is for Mister Softee: There is nothing like stepping outside after braving six months of this city's frozen hellscape to hear the first faint echos of the Mister Softee jingle. Sure you'll have ear plugs handy by August, but you've earned those first few licks of chocolate dipped double cones, damn it.

N is for Nutcracker: New Yorkers will try to sell you anything, so it's likely you've heard "Nutcracker" either quietly muttered or full on shouted at you in public places. This term refers to an alcoholic punch concoction people peddle wherever possible. Having once bought one out of a Samsonite suitcase filled with ice cubes on a C train, I do not recommend them.

O is for Outdoor movies: This winter, our ultimate New Yorker Chloë Sevigny hipped us to the city's most authentic spots --including 2nd Ave's Village East Cinema. But once the summer hits, there's nothing like watching Wet Hot American Summer in Tompkins Square Park. Here's a full list of flicks for when the sun goes down.

P is for Parks: If that last point didn't sell you, there are countless other reasons why New York parks rule in warmer weather. Central, Prospect, even elderly people's fave Tai Chi spot Seward become oases once the days get longer. Some hidden gems to check out if your usual haunt is too crowded: queer community garden Le Petit Versailles or Alphabet City's La Plaza Cultural.

Q is for Queens: I don't know about you, but Queens and I are not as well acquainted as I'd like us to be. Broad City makes Astoria seem pretty fun and when I'm not yelling at other drivers, I'm listening to A Tribe Called Quest in my car. This summer, make the effort explore new places (like the entire borough of Queens) and find different adventures.

R is for Roofs: If Sex and the City taught us anything non-Fendi baguette related, it's that rooftop parties are it. Samantha and her Meat Packing neighbors might have got off to a rough start, but nothing brings us girls together like sky high kiddie pools and flirtinis (whatever those are). Let Ms Jones be a lesson: always be nice to your neighbors and practice climbing your fire escape in heels.

S is for Squad: Whether you're tearing it up at Tiki Disco or attempting to install that AC in the heavy lifting process I also forgot to mention, remember that New York City summer is never to be attempted alone.

T is for To-go margaritas: Unlike real backyards, these actually do exist. I don't want to name any names, but my all time favorite summer ritual is hitting up a certain Brooklyn dive for a frozen margarita served in a 32 oz styrofoam cup and sliding out the door, no questions asked.

U is for Uber: For when you've had one too many of the aforementioned mobile margs.

V is for Visitors passes to SoHo House's pool: See 'R' and then add the membership fees. See where I'm going with this?

Image via Flickr User Jeffrey Montes

W is for Warm Up: For the past 18 years, MoMA PS1's outdoor concert series have brought some of the most progressive artists in music to slammin Saturday parties. i-D faves Skepta, A.G. Cook and Corbin (aka Spooky Black) are all on this year's bill.

X is for Xscape plan: The best way to survive summer in the city is by occasionally leaving it. Have an escape plan and when you start feeling more Lana del Rey than Lisa Simpson, don't be afraid to execute. After all, absence makes the heart grow fonder.

Y is for Yankee games: As a die-hard Red Sox fan I swore I'd never write this, but you should probably go to as many Yankee games as you can this season. Baseball is a seriously solid excuse to sit outside and people watch for five hours, come with a strong look, and eat meat products your Sweetgreen/Juice Press/repeat regimine doesn't really allow for.

Z is for Zzzzz: Whether you're napping in a hammock, on the sand, in a park, or with that temporary boo, staying happy and healthy starts with being well rested. 


Text Emily Manning
Image via YouTube

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