Does anything symbolize summer fun quite as much as ice cream on a hot day? If you’re looking for a top-notch treat, check out one — or all, no judgement! — of these fan-favorite ice cream parlors in New York City.
Location: 88 W Houston Street NY NY 10012
Hours: Sunday-Thursday: 12PM-11PM // Friday-Saturday: 12PM-12AM
Founded in 2014 by self-made restauranteur Nicholas Morganstern, Morganstern’s offers a classic ice cream experience. The ice cream parlor prides itself on serving texture-driven, small-batch ice creams that prioritize superb flavors and taste. Along with traditional standbys like chocolate chip cookie dough, cookies n’ cream, and mint chip, parlor favorites also include more unusual flavors such as green tea pistachio, salt and pepper pinenut, and burnt sage. The main star of the show is the ice cream, but don’t overlook Morgenstern’s other offerings! The parlor also serves pies, cakes, floats, and cocktails.
Location: 240 Sullivan Street, New York, NY, 10012
Hours: Sunday-Thursday 11AM-9PM // Friday-Saturday 11AM-10PM
When Mexico-born Fany Gerson opened La Newyorkina in 2010, she had a single goal: to introduce New Yorkers to the sweet flavors of her childhood. Her store, La Newyorkina, serves a variety of Mexican sweet treats. Her most popular offering — and the one that first promoted Gerson’s shop to fame — are paletas; frozen treats that can be enjoyed on-the-go. These delights come in a variety of flavors — from creamy and fruity to sweet and spicy. Popular options include Mango Chile, Pineapple Jalapeno, Mango Chamoy, and Passionfruit. All are made by hand in small batches using all-natural ingredients. Don’t just stick with the paletas, though — La Newyorkina also offers delicious chamoyadas, cookies, pan dulce, and cakes.
Republic of Booza
Location: 76 N. 4th Street, Brooklyn, NY, 11249
Hours: Sunday-Thursday 12PM-11PM // Friday-Saturday 12PM-12AM
Don’t feel bad if you’ve never heard of booza before — you won’t find it in stores. Booza, the precursor to our modern-day ice cream, was initially developed around 500 years ago in the Levant region of the Eastern Mediterranean. It’s a dense, smooth, and flavor-packed frozen dessert that sports a more stretchy consistency from what you might expect from ice cream. This change in texture stems from both its unique production process and two unusual ingredients: Sahlab (ground orchid root) and mastic (a resin). Traditionally, booza only came in a “candied cream” flavor; however, New York City’s Republic of Booza prides itself on bringing the dish into the modern era — and giving it a few tasty twists, of course. Flavors currently offered include chocolate, strawberry, horchata de chufa, French lavender, and sour cherry mahlab.
Location: 175 Kent Avenue, Brooklyn, New York, 11249
Hours: Sunday-Thursday 12PM-10PM // Friday-Saturday 12PM-11PM
Want some quirkiness in your ice cream cone? Oddfellows has you covered. The now-four-location parlor prides itself on making the unusual delicious. The idea for the shop first came about when one of the co-founders, Mohan Kumar was attempting to find an ice cream flavor that would suit his wife Holiday’s eclectic pregnancy cravings. During that time, one of Kumar’s longtime friends and bar owner, Sam Mason, made Holiday a batch of homemade pretzel ice cream. She loved it — and promptly suggested they open an ice cream parlor. The Kumar’s twins were born 2012, and the first OddFellows Ice Cream parlor opened a year later.
Today, Oddfellow’s flavor offerings range from delightfully classic to intriguingly original; their menu features highlights like burnt marshmallow, Thai iced tea, and toasted sesame Nutella along with standbys such as chocolate chunk.
Want a few more insights on which dessert spots in NYC are top-notch? Check out our blog on The Most Instagrammable Dessert Spots in NYC!
Let’s face it: New York gets hot in the summer. On the brightest days, it can feel as though the heat from the concrete sidewalk might melt the rubber right off the soles of your shoes if you don’t find some shade, fast. But not to worry — there’s a solution to the heat that doesn’t require you to trade summer fun for air-conditioned purgatory. This season, cool down with one (or all) of these New York City waterfront activities:
Fishing on Pier 5
Need a moment of serenity in the city? Pick up a fishing rod and spend a peaceful morning fishing on the West Promenade of Pier 5! The pier has been arranged for your convenience; it offers bait prep tables and fish cleaning stations for all who visit. The view and ambiance are second to none — even if you don’t get any bites! However, if you do find a catch, take care in who you serve it to; currently, New York’s Waterbody Advisory warns that any fish caught in New York City waters could be harmful if eaten by pregnant women, women of childbearing age, and children under 15 years old.
Relief from the summer heat is never far away in New York. The city maintains dozens of pools of all shapes, depths, and sizes for public use — the Bronx alone has nine swimming spots! Most of these public pools host free aquatics programs in addition to their open swim hours. Pack up your sunscreen and towel, but remember that you’ll need to leave food, glass bottles, electronic devices, and newspapers at home when you do. Floaties are also a no-go at the pool, so parents with young children should play at the shallow end when they visit.
Future Attractions: The Squibb Park Pool!
While the Squibb Park Pool isn’t available to the public this year, it will be soon. When the Brooklyn Bridge pop-up pool debuted on Pier 2 in 2012, it was one of the park’s most popular seasonal attractions. In fact, it was so appreciated that advocates from local neighborhood groups ensured that it recurred for two years after its original end date. The pop-up pool closed for good in 2018, but work is underway to ensure that residents can enjoy a permanent public pool in Squibb Park within a few years — so keep a lookout!
Boat Rentals in the Park
Central Park offers some of the most peaceful views in the city — and now, you can enjoy them from the water! Visitors to the park can rent rowboats and gondola rides at Loeb Boathouse from April until October. Rowboats cost $15 per hour, with a $4 charge for every additional 15 minutes. Professionally-crewed gondola rides can be purchased at $45 per half-hour. It’s a fantastic way to relax and enjoy summer in the park.
Why stay landlocked when you could explore the water? New York City’s countless water trails span over 160 square miles of ocean, rivers, bays, inlets, and creeks for residents to enjoy — and most of the time, you don’t even need to pay for the opportunity!
In Manhattan, the volunteer-run Downtown Boathouse offers paddlers the chance to enjoy no-charge, twenty-minute kayaking trips at their convenience. Their summer programming also includes free kayaking lessons on Wednesday nights and public, three-hour trips from Pier 96 on most weekday mornings. The Boathouse’s only major requirement is that paddlers must know how to swim and must sign a waiver before getting into a kayak.
Long Island Community Boathouse
The Long Island Community Boathouse in Queens also offers free kayaking; however, the boathouse’s major appeal lies in its weekend programming. During the summers, volunteers run hour-long, one-way paddling adventures between Anable Basin and Hallets Cove.
That said, New Yorkers’ paddling opportunities aren’t limited to boathouse-run trips. If you have a kayak of your own, you can set out from any one of the city’s 45 launch sites. However, if you choose to set out on your own, you must have a permit to do so and adhere to regulations set by NYC Parks.
Want more ideas for summer fun? Check out our post on the 7 Best NYC Outdoor Brunches to Enjoy in Spring and Summer!
New York City is a veritable hotspot for arts and culture in the summertime. No matter your artistic passions, at least one of the countless, long-running cultural organizations in the city will have something to appeal to your interests. Add one (or all) of the below festivals to your calendar and share in the excitement! Who knows — some of the best performers in the country may be just a short walk from your doorstep.
First launched in the summer of 1979 by Brooklyn residents, Celebrate Brooklyn! is one of New York City’s longest-running outdoors performing arts festivals. This multi-day summer concert series highlights the best, brightest, and most promising Brooklynite musicians of the year. Since its founding, the festival has showcased over 2,000 artists, many of whom used the appearance as a springboard towards greater success. The festival spotlights internationally-celebrated and emerging artists from all musical genres, including but not limited to classical, jazz, pop, alt, hip-hop and regional American. This year’s lineup features notable performers such as Patti LaBelle, Courtney Barnett, Shareef Keyes & the Groove, and Iron & Wine. Attendees should note that while the festival itself is and has always been free, certain performances are charity benefits and have an associated cost.
Celebrate Brooklyn! starts Tuesday, June 4.
Shakespeare in the Park
Shakespeare in the Park wasn’t always such a summertime staple in Central Park. When director-producer Joseph Staff initially launched the program, he did so with the not-so-hidden disapproval of the then-parks commissioner, Robert Moses. Moses didn’t have a problem with theatre productions in the park per se, but he was firmly against the lawn erosion that audience members were beginning to cause on the grass in front of Turtle Pond. He demanded that Papp charge a fee to cover the cost of sod and lawn care — but Papp refused to charge for the performances, stubbornly maintaining that the theatre should be free to any who cared to see it. A long legal battle ensued between the two parties and ultimately ended in Papp’s favor. Surprisingly, the clash reportedly left Moses with a deep respect for Papp and led the commissioner to request the funds the director needed to build a proper theater in the park.
Since then, Shakespeare in the Park has developed into one of New York City’s most beloved summertime arts offerings. It has entertained over five million people throughout its run, and in past years even featured standout actors like Meryl Streep, James Earl Jones, and Al Pacino.
Interested? You can find the dates for 2019’s productions below. Remember — while entry is free, you’ll need to claim tickets beforehand to reserve a seat!
Much Ado About Nothing: May 21 – June 23
Coriolanus: July 16 – August 11
Hercules: August 21 – September 8
Founded by Jay K. Hoffman, William W. Lockwood Jr., Schuyler G. Chapin, and George F. Schutz in August of 1966, the Mostly Mozart festival was initially intended to provide freelance classical musicians with work opportunities during the summer off-season. Then and now, the event’s in-house orchestra pulls its members from notable classical ensembles across the country; its performers hail from high-profile orchestras such as the New York Philharmonic, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, and more.
The focus of Mostly Mozart has expanded since its early years. While the festival primarily offers concerts that feature its in-house orchestra, it also features solo classical artists, dance pieces, panel discussions, and film screenings. Most events occur at the David Geffen Hall at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, but other venues include and are not limited to Rose Theater, Merkin Concert Hall, the Walter Reade Theater, and the David Rubenstein Atrium.
In 2019, the Mostly Mozart festival will run from July 10th through August 10th; tickets for various events available for purchase online.
Midsummer Night Swing
Midsummer Night Swing is a three-week extravaganza of dance, music, and culture. Held at Damrosch Park at the Lincoln Center, this long-running annual event offers new and experienced dancers alike the chance to learn how to swing, disco, salsa, ballroom step, and more. Each night follows a similar pattern: attendees arrive in the early evening for a formal lesson on the dance featured that night, and then spend the next few hours dancing the night away. The fun doesn’t always stop with formal steps, either; in recent years, organizers have even begun handing out wireless headsets and facilitating post-dance silent discos on certain nights!
This year, dancers can enjoy live music from celebrated musicians such as Bobby Valentin, Eyal Vilner Big Band, Curles Turner & Uptown Swing, and Bria Skonberg, among others. This is a ticketed event; attendees can buy four dance passes for $60, six dance passes for $84, a season pass for $170, or advance tickets for select evenings at $18 apiece.
Midsummer Night Swing will run from Tuesday, June 25 until Saturday, July 13th.
Want more artsy events on your calendar? Check out our blog post on the Coolest Pop-Up Museums in NYC!
Ah, summer in New York City! It simply can’t be beat—even when you’re beating the heat. Grab a treat from an ice cream truck, nap in Central Park, have a ball on Fire Island, and much, much more. Do you feel that NYC summer groove yet?
From cultural festivals to happening concerts to refreshing swims, the big city offers it all during this time of year. Without further ado, let’s take a look at six summer events in NYC that you absolutely have to attend. You should probably start requesting vacation days…like right now.
1. Experience literary masterpieces at Shakespeare in the Park
All summer long at Delacorte Theater in Central Park
Even if you didn’t forget all those awesome lines from Macbeth, Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, and all the other great works, you know Shakespeare is best enjoyed live. Bring some popcorn and soda to the 1800-seat Delacorte Theater in Central Park and enjoy a professionally-performed Shakespeare play—for free!
Free tickets are distributed every day there is a performance starting at 12 p.m. Check the performance calendar in advance, as tickets go fast.
2. Listen to the music at Panorama Music Festival
July 27-29 at Randall Island’s Park
Though Panorama Music Festival just launched in 2016, it’s already one the biggest music festivals in NYC. It’s easy to see why, with some of the biggest names in hip hop, electronic, and rock music coming to perform.
This year’s lineup is stacked. Feature acts include Migos, Gucci Mane, David Byrne, Charlotte Gainsbourg, DJ Python, Jhene Aiko, The War on Drugs, Lil Wayne, and numerous other great groups and individual talents. Clearly, you should be there, too! Grab a shiny glow stick, some retro sunglasses, and whatever other concert gear you need—and go.
3. Dance the night away at Midsummer Night Swing
June 26-July 14 at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
Remember this saying: Summer is for dancing. Wait, is that a saying? Regardless, take those words to heart—and head to Midsummer Night Swing during late June and the first half of July.
The dance floor at Lincoln Center opens each night at 6 p.m. There are group dance lessons from 6:30-7:15 p.m., which are then followed by live sets. There’s also a silent disco party that starts at 10 p.m. (it’s quite the scene). Be sure to book your tickets in advance, as they sell quickly.
4. Watch pro eaters at Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest
July 4 at noon. at Coney Island USA
Admit it: You’re intrigued by what it takes to win the Mustard Belt. In the men’s competition, Joey Chestnut won the 2017 Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest by eating an event-record 72 hot dogs in 10 minutes; in the women’s competition, Miki Sudo won by devouring 41 hot dogs in 10 minutes. Yes, those amounts in that time frame are mind-boggling—which is why the event is a must-attend. The contestants have a unique mix of true grit and highly expandable stomachs that you just won’t find anywhere else.
Even better, you can combine attending the hot dog eating contest with spending a day at Coney Island. Just thinking about all the candy, rollercoasters, and sand to enjoy at Coney Island should have you jumping for joy already.
5. Get out in the streets for the NYC Pride March
June 24 at noon, beginning at 7th Avenue and 16th Street
The NYC Pride March began in 1970, and is now the biggest Pride celebration in the world. In 2017 alone, there were more than 450 marching contingents. Famous celebrities, politicians, activists, and artists are always in attendance.
The 2018 theme, “Defiantly Different”, is about showing power and togetherness in the face of adversity. There are expected to be more than 40,000 marchers and 100-plus colorful floats. Grand marshals include Billie Jean King, Kenita Placide, and Tyler Ford. The march ends at 29th Street and Fifth Avenue, so look for a spot early somewhere along the parade route (or march in it!).
6. See dragons on water at the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival
August 11-12 at Flushing Meadows Park
The traditional Chinese Dragon Boat Festival (‘Duanwu’ Festival) commemorates the ancient poet Qu Yuan’s suicide with a spirited aquatic racing competition. In 278 BC, out of concern for his homeland, Qu Yuan jumped into the water and drowned himself. Local fishermen attempted but failed to save him by throwing rice dumplings to feed the fish (so the fish wouldn’t eat the poet). This is the history behind Dragon Boat Racing.
Each year in Queens, this history is remembered with the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival, where roughly 180 dragon-boat teams from around the globe race for glory. While attending, enjoy traditional food, martial arts demonstrations, lion dance performances, and more.