33 Reasons We Can't Help Loving Summer in the City

Even when it doesn't love us

15. Iced coffee is the new hot coffee.
And it's everywhere, at any time—a cheap luxury on the way into work; an ever-ready quick-break opportunity; an afternoon pick-me-up; a nighttime dessert. In a pinch, it also functions as an effective cooling device against a hot forehead.

16. Once a year, we kind of have tans.
Inevitably, you will burn, so intense is the pallor achieved from your East Coast city winter. When you return to the office from a stint at the beach, people will say, "Wow, you got some color this weekend!" and you will say, "Really? Did I?" (even though you know you did) and compare your arm to theirs. After a few days, you will peel, and it will be equally gross and satisfying to lift the ravaged skin from your body in segmented pieces, and even though you're in an office, in the middle of a city, you will feel surprisingly beachy and free as you toss your molted skin into the trash can.  

17. This is the Summer of Sex.
(You heard it here!) In just one week in early June, we experienced Weinergate, a dominatrix dominating in McCarren Park, a bare-breasted female casually strolling the streets of Downtown Manhattan, and 100-degree heat that had us all aglow with steaminess and anticipation (if only for the air conditioner). We are not going to complain, because the Summer of Sex is way better than the Summer of Death. Or the Summer of Bedbugs. Own it.

Britt Ernst
Britt Ernst

18. Endless, endlessly diverting walks.
You can sustain an entire trip from the Financial District to Harlem by purchasing and eating popsicles from bodega to bodega. There are other walks, too. One summer, a friend and I walked from the East Village to Central Park with only $5, our MetroCards, and one tube of chapstick between us. We saw a man with a giant snake, at least five different street fairs, several burbling fountains, outdoor art, a handful of shirtless runners, a crazy lady screaming at no one, a goat wearing a diaper, and a Chock Full o' Nuts. Remember this past winter, when you could barely get to your corner with all the snow and garbage and dog poop all over the sidewalk? Not a problem now, huh?

19. The best summer jams are right in front of you.
While your theme song for the rest of the year might be something along the lines of "O-o-h Child (Things Are Gonna Get Easier)" played directly into your own ears via your personal music device, your theme song for the summer is really whatever happens to be serenading you as you walk by. From June 18 through July 2, there will be 88 pianos on our city streets. And did we mention the outdoor concerts? From the Williamsburg Waterfront to Central Park, Bryant Park, South Street Seaport, Lincoln Center, Jones Beach, and the ubiquitous traveling ice cream man, there will be music all over the damn place.

20. Things that do not seem New York but are New York anyway in the summer.
The ice cream man and his joyful, terrifying song. Sprinklers, or the New York City cousin of sprinklers: spraying fire hydrants. Barbecues in your friends' backyards. Giant bags of Lay's Potato Chips eaten on fire escapes, washed down with a chilled bottle of whatever you prefer. Mosquitoes. Fireflies. Lying on your back in the grass in any New York City park, flip-flops to the side, watching kids play catch around you. The salty taste on your skin when you get home from a day spent outside. Fireworks, literal and metaphorical.

21. Things that are very much New York in the summer.
Secret open-air bars. Parties on rooftops. East Village gardens in full regalia. Riding your bike gleefully at full speed through summer streets that have been closed down for traffic, or are simply free of traffic because everyone has left town. The upstairs neighbors yelling down at you because your deck parties are too loud. You yelling down at the downstairs neighbors for their incessant outdoor frivolity. Love-hate relationships with anyone who has a pool. Watching outdoor movies surrounded by crowds in giant public spaces. Never-ending street fairs, for all of your tube-sock and fresh-lemonade needs.

22. Environmentalists be damned.
You will inevitably trudge down the street, sweat dripping from your face, hate in your heart, only to be cooled (emotionally and physically) by the frigid blast emerging from a series of storefronts with their doors wide open. You will think, This is really not very environmentally friendly—someone ought to do something about this. But it won't be you. Walk on, brave soldier. Walk on.

23. Summer blockbusters.
There is nowhere better to see a movie set in New York City than in New York City itself, where the audience is always two steps ahead of the inside jokes. Plus, you know that thing when you go to a movie in the middle of the day, sit in the dark for a couple hours, and then leave, dazed by the sudden reminder that it's actually still light outside? That, times 1,000.

24. Second chances.
(And not for just Coney Island, which survives for another season in the kitschy fabulousness we know and love.) Last summer and all the screwups you made, and people you screwed, and people who screwed you, seem like a lifetime ago. The statute of limitations has been reached, the wounds have finally healed, and it's time to inflict some new ones. The air is imbued with possibility. Also, bad smells.

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