It’s hard to understand why New York considers summer to be the off-season. The rich may flock to the Hamptons, but for the rest, who stay in the parks and by the water to soak up the sun, there’s a real sense of life in the city.
Limited post-pandemic flights mean prices tend to be high, but there are bargains to be had. I took the new Aer Lingus direct flight – a beautiful new Airbus A321 – between Manchester and JFK which launched late last year. And there was an arrival bonus as there are no customs forms to fill out since Covid so I got an expedited entry process.
Arriving in Manhattan, it became clear that there were more bonuses related to the pandemic.
“It’s hard to understand why New York sees its summer as the off-season,” writes Sarah Turner, who flew on Aer Lingus’ new direct flight from Manchester to JFK. Shown is the city’s famous skyline
New York is home to some of the world’s most expensive restaurants and bars, but between July 18th and August 21st is Restaurant Week (which has been extended to 30 days since its inception in 1992), bringing together some of the best restaurants on menus offer for $29, $39 and $59 (about £23, £32 and £50). One worth snagging a table is Cecconi’s Dumbo at Time Out Market, which has a great location with a cool breeze on the water near the Brooklyn Bridge (cecconisdumbo.com).
There are bargains to be had in July and August with rooms from £315 a night (hoteltonight.com).
Theater lovers also benefit. In the past, snagging discount tickets to top Broadway shows involved queuing in front of theaters and a good deal of luck. Now theaters have introduced digital draws, meaning you can continue sightseeing and your phone will ping you if you’re successful (todaytix.com).
Between June and September, the cheapest show in New York is Free Shakespeare In The Park at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. This year, for the program’s 60th anniversary, Danai Gurira, star of the Black Panther film and The Walking Dead series, will play Richard III and there will be a musical version of As You Like It (publictheater.org).
Don’t miss: The High Line (above), a former railroad line that stretches nearly two miles between Chelsea and Lower Manhattan, connects sidewalks and small parks with locations that host free concerts
Fairground Fun: Take the subway to Coney Island for fairground rides — including the famous Ferris Wheel (above) — three miles of beach and an all-American boardwalk
Pictured is a hot dog from Nathan’s in Coney Island making a “roaring trade”.
All summer long, Central Park’s Wollman Rink melts its ice and transforms into a giant roller disco. Hourly sessions start from around £20 (thediscoasis.com).
Bryant Park offers a summer program of free outdoor cultural events that don’t require booking, but promise ample seating and free picnic blankets. But it might be the park’s movie screenings that are the most fun (bryantpark.org).
The High Line, a former railroad line that stretches nearly two miles between Chelsea and Lower Manhattan, mixes sidewalks and small parks with plazas used for free concerts (thehighline.org).
A trip to Governors Island gives even New Yorkers a sense of vacation, despite being just a wave from Lower Manhattan. With picnic areas and activities ranging from kayaking to rock climbing, often at minimal cost or free, and plenty of history, it’s a delightfully different way of experiencing New York outdoors. There are regular ferries from the Brooklyn and Wall Street piers that only cost a few dollars (govisland.com).
You can also go to the sea for around £2. Coney Island is on several subway lines, including the F-Express train (reputed to be the fastest). When you arrive, Nathan’s hot dogs will be on sale, there are carnival rides – including the famous wooden roller coaster and Ferris wheel – three miles of beach and an all-American boardwalk. You can also catch a baseball game with the Brooklyn Cyclones on select nights. Tickets start from around £12 (milb.com/brooklyn).
When temperatures really start to rise, head to the city’s museums for air conditioning and superb art. Big hitters include MoMA (Museum of Modern Art) and the Whitney Museum of American Art, which has a number of excellent terraces at its new Chelsea location.
Above is Little Island on the Hudson River at Pier 55 near Chelsea with walkways, hills and a waterfront auditorium
“Head to the city’s museums for air conditioning and superb art,” writes Sarah. Pictured is a sculpture at MoMA (Museum of Modern Art), one of New York’s most popular attractions
The New York Public Library has a must-see — and free — Treasures exhibit, a beautifully random collection of objects including AA Milne’s original Winnie-the-Pooh, Eeyore, Kanga, and Piglet toys (not counting a Disney Logo in sight so make sure little ones know what to expect), the desks of Charles Dickens and Charlotte Bronte (one large, one very modest), Nijinsky’s dancing shoes and other personal and political artifacts. Perfectly sized for an exhibition, it only takes about an hour to get around, open your eyes, change perspectives, and feel the vastness of New York (nypl.org).
The Guggenheim is showing its vibrant collection of Kandinsky paintings through September. The museum’s coffee shop is a well-kept secret where you can sit outside on its patio with a coffee and take in the view of Central Park across Fifth Avenue and the Dakota Building beyond (guggenheim.org).
Little Island, which opened last year at Pier 55 near Chelsea, is the city’s newest public park. Designed by British Heatherwick Studio, the 6-acre Teletubbies-style landscape is built on stilts in the Hudson River and features pathways, hills and a waterfront auditorium (littleisland.org).
Getting on the water in New York doesn’t have to be expensive either. A Circle Line Sightseeing Cruise is part of the NY City Pass program, which offers discounted entry to tourist attractions (citypass.com).
The Staten Island Ferry is also free and will take you to some inexpensive pizza places if you disembark at Terminal Pier 76. The ferries that cross the East River between Brooklyn and Pier 11 near Wall Street in Manhattan cost just a few dollars a trip and offer amazing views. And best of all, a ferry to Coney Island should also start this summer.
Whatever Covid has thrown at New York, this is a city that has prevailed.
Sarah Turner was a guest on Aer Lingus. Flights between Manchester and JFK start from £255 each way (aerlingus.com). Double rooms at the Conrad start from £427 per night (conradnewyorkmidtown.com).
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/escape/article-10952061/Why-New-York-need-perfect-summer-city-holiday.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 Why New York has everything you need for the perfect summer vacation in the city