There are only four weekends left in the month of August--that's right, summer is almost over. Before we wallow in winter's looming grey days, there is still plenty of time for New Yorkers and visitors to enjoy the city in shorts and a T-shirt. Not only are there a plethora of beaches and green spaces to meander in, but there are plenty of events to choose from to kick off the end of a very short season.
McCarren Hotel & Pool
For those who wish to splurge on the last few days of summer, McCarren Hotel & Pool (formerly known as King & Grove Hotel) has an outdoor saltwater pool that is available to non-guests for a $45 entry fee. Once inside you are provided with a towel and a menu. Claim a plush lounging chair or relax at one of the wooden tables under the awning. Although the drinks and food are not on the cheap side, there are some delicious specialty cocktails to choose from and a juicy burger that will satisfy any poolside cravings. Make sure to get there early to avoid the late-afternoon shadows caused by the buildings surrounding the pool.
McCarren Hotel & Pool is located on N. 12th St. between Bedford Avenue and Berry Street. Take the L Train to Bedford Av. Click here for more information on tickets and reservations.
Rockaway Beach and Boardwalk
This summer Rockaway Beach is nearly back to normal after almost two years of restoration efforts to the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy. Despite the crowds and the cold murky water, Rockaway Beach's cultural history is still prevalent to this day making it a perfect destination for a "daycation." Ride the A train early to scope out a good spot on the sand and be sure to check out the hottest locales: Playland Motel (on Rockaway Beach Boulevard between 98th St. and 97th St.) offers food, drinks, accommodation, and Sunday dance parties on the beach; Rockaway Beach Surf Club (on 87th St.) is an event space, restaurant and bar offering laid-back vibes and Southern-style food this summer; and Rockaway Taco (on 96th St.) is a taco-lover's heaven.
McCarren Park's Summer Screen
Although this may be classified as a nighttime activity, the free-for-all Summer Screen in Williamsburg's McCarren Park is a relaxing outdoor activity. Only two screenings remain for the summer. "The Big Lebowski" plays tonight, Aug. 6. The final movie is left up to an internet poll and is scheduled for next Wednesday, Aug. 13. The event begins at 6 p.m. with food vendors stationed around the park and local Brooklyn bands play before the movie. It is located on the corner of Bedford Avenue and N. 12th St (take the L train to Bedford Av). The movies begin at sundown.
If you miss out, not to worry. The event is in its eighth year and next summer they are expected to repeat the festivities with a new set of movies.
If you truly want a break from the sirens and the cement walls around you, venture to Prospect Park in Brooklyn instead of Central Park in Manhattan. Designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux (who also designed Central Park), Prospect Park is said to better reflect their vision for a grand city oasis. This 585-acre park with the main entrance at Grand Army Plaza is a prime location for birdwatching in the city. The Prospect Park Audobon Center located at the boathouse organizes nature education and activities for both adults and children. Spend the afternoon hiking through the Ravine District, with entrances near Prospect Park West and 3rd, 9th and 15th Streets. There are waterfalls, woods, and stone bridges at the center of the park. The north side is perfect for picnicking. Bicycling is permitted only on the 3.35 mile Park Drive that winds through the park. There is also a zoo for children.
Take the 2 and 3 trains to Grand Army Plaza; F and G trains to 15th St./Prospect Park; or Q and B trains to Prospect Park.
Drive to the Gold Coast of Long Island
If you own a car or are capable of renting one, you'd be surprised how much of Long Island you can cover in a day. A rewarding destination near the end of summer is the North Shore of Long Island known for its beautiful country and grand estates. From the heart of Brooklyn, it is less than an hour's drive to Sands Point Preserve, the former home of the Guggenheim family in the 20th century. In addition to an immaculate estate that is free for visitors to wander, there are six hiking trails that lead through the woods, around a pond, and down to a cliffside beach on this 216-acre nature preserve. Sands Point is also reflective of F. Scott Fitzgerald's fictional setting in "The Great Gatsby". Continue along the coast to bypass farms and splendid upper-class homes before you trek back to the city.