Hints Of Life Guest Columns
August: the summer’s last stand
Written and Edited
By Simer Dhume
As we step into August, I remember a quote from A Line Made by Walking, by Sara Baume, “This morning, the sun endures past dawn. I realise that it is August: the summer’s last stand.” It’s in the last month of summer one wants to accomplish everything outdoorsy before we hurtle towards another fall. Though every season has its own beautiful charm, saying goodbye to summer isn’t easy. It stirs up emotions ranging from the joys of childhood memories to nostalgic remembrance of more recent summers and the excitement of our hopes and plans for the seasons to come. Do you relate to it all?
On my recent visit to Central Park, I spotted a Gray Catbird singing, perched on a big rock in the lush and dense Ramble. It sang to it’s heart’s desire and I stood there listening to it’s melody for coon’s age.
How to identify a Gray Catbird?
Gray Catbird is a very distinctive mimid. Though, it generally remains hidden in the understory of dense thickets woodlands and residential areas. It often cocks its longish, black tail, and is usually detected by its harsh, down slurred mew call, reminiscent of a cat’s meow. A chunky, medium-size bird, it is larger than Catharus thrushes yet smaller than other thrashers. No other North American bird has a uniform dark gray plumage. Monotypic. Length 8.5″. (Source: National Geographic)
August in New York City is especially beautiful and the best time to visit. To help you make the most of summer’s last stand, Hints Of Life shares 10 absolute best outdoor things to do this August in NYC. Although most of us are vaccinated, being outdoors is still the safest.
1. Recharge and Soak up the Sun in Central Park:
Especially in the summer months, Central Park is NYC’s beautiful backyard. The lush 843-acre patch of nature in the middle of Manhattan is one of the city’s biggest attractions and greatest assets. You will find many people using green space at all times, playing sports, having a stroll, or just soaking up the sun. It is great for the hot and sticky days in August, as you will always find some shade to rest a little. Many New Yorkers use the green field to lounge, relax, and escape the big-city bustle for a while.
But if you’re an explorer and like hikes and trails, check out our article about Central Park, to find meandering trails, and naturalistic landscapes that are dressed in thousands and thousands of breathtakingly picturesque flowers.
2. Shakespeare in the Park:
One of the biggest attractions at Central Park is “Shakespeare in the Park.” Make your way to Delacorte Theater to see one of the most famous plays in the world. In recent years, some stars have made it to the stage as well. Stop by and you might see Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline, Al Pacino, Blythe Danner, George C. Scott or Denzel Washington.
Find out more about the Shakespeare in the Park event in New York and the current dates here.
3. Bryant Park Film Festival and Bryant Park Picnic Performances:
The city offers a plethora of free events. One of the best in August is visiting the free Bryant Park Film Festival and picnic performances. In the heart of Manhattan, you will see people gather in the summer months with blankets and chairs they’ve brought themselves to relax at the outdoor movie theater and concerts by the New York Philharmonics. Bryant Park is just under a 5 minute walk from Times Square, surrounded by tall trees, so it’s a bit secluded from the rest, but you’re still in the middle of it all: Isn’t that simply Awesome!
You can get a seat from 5pm, the films start around 8pm as darkness falls, and the Philharmonic concerts 7pm. You can find out more about the events and the free concerts at Bryant Park website.
4. Summer Streets in NYC:
Summer street is a multi-day, annual, car free event held on the first three Saturdays in August. This event takes place in Manhattan between the Brooklyn Bridge and Central Park. Nearly seven miles of NYC’s streets are open for people to play, run, walk, and bike along Park Avenue and its connecting streets.
More details can be found here.
5. Jazz at Pier 84:
New York City is one of the entertainment capitals of the world, and much of that entertainment is from music. Every second Wednesday in August, the concert series “Jazz at Pier 84” takes place. New York and jazz are a combination that resonates with me and reflects the city’s persona, its character. And the best part is you sit at the Hudson River enjoying not just the great music but the majestic views. It’s free because it’s a project of Hudson River Park and the Jazz Foundation of America.
Check out the event calendar, to mark your dates and plan your trip to Jazz at Pier 84.
6. Free Kayaking on the Hudson River & East River:
Whether you’re a seasoned kayaker, or an amature kayaking in summer is adventourous and an amazing way to discover New York through its water. What makes it a really cool event is it allows you to book several times a month. You can start at the Manhattan Community Boathouse (Pier 96 at the Hudson River) or at the Brooklyn Bridge Park between Pier 1 and Pier 2 (every Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday until the end of August).
7. Music on the Green with Carnegie Hall at Madison Square Park (August 4 + August 11):
In collaboration with Carnegie Hall, Music on the Green is a free concert series inspired by Maya Lin’s Ghost Forest that brings artists from the Hall’s Ensemble Connect to reflect on the themes of the exhibition. The concerts are held every Wednesday (August 4 + August 11) on the Oval Lawn (6 – 7 p.m.).
You can find more details here.
8.. NYC Restaurant Week (July 19 – August 15):
Are you a foodie? Restaurant Week in New York is especially for you and is popular among locals. Why is it popular? During this week you can visit the best restaurants in the city and eat for a fixed price, which is significantly lower than the regular prices of the restaurants. In other words, you can experience the fine dining that the city offers at a much economical price. Make the most of the Restaurant Week in New York, click here for all the dates & info you need to know!
9. Sail around the city:
Many of the sailing cruises have already reopened and are back to the rivers of New York City. Sailing in New York City is one of my favorite things to do during the summer. There’s nothing better than watching the sunset and enjoying a glass of wine onboard.
10. Explore Governors Island:
Governors Island is one of my favorite places in New York City. Especially in the summer, it’s a lot of fun to explore. Being completely surrounded by water, the fresh breeze fills your lungs making you feel refreshed and rejuvenated. It’s best to rent a bicycle (or even tandem, if you dare!) to ride around the island. It’s much more comfortable than walking. Even though you can only explore the outdoors, there’s still a lot to do: have a picnic, ride on NYC’s longest slide, chill out in one of the hammocks, climb up the hill to enjoy gorgeous views of Lower Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty, take a look at Fort Jay, enjoy fresh lemonade, or even go glamping for anything between $200 and $600 a night. Be sure to reserve your ferry tickets in advance as capacity is limited to ensure safe distances.
Celebrating August rains or the famous monsoon in India, our guest writer pens a heartfelt poem. We advice, sit back, relax, and savor “Tranquil Storms’ by Sugandh Swani.
An exposed leaf bathed in raindrops | Picture credit: pexels
By Sugandh Swani
There is a wild storm inside, One that stirs up ever so often, Untamed, unchained ready to pounce, That only these monsoon winds can soften. They stroke the forehead once, twice, And brush the locks falling over the face, Snogging the strands one by one, Leaving faint fragrance in the amorous chase, And just like that the storm subsides, Finding a way to the corner of the eye, Dropping a warm wet kiss on the lips, That taste its silence with a smile and sigh. By then the leaves start to whisper, Their tales of love to the sky, Of how they saw the bees coquetting, With the colourful Cosmos ever so shy. And I listen and look at these stories in silence, Of flowers sweating and blushing, coy. The storms are long lost in the past, All I know is a little peace, a little joy…
Sugandh Swani is a Public Relations professional and a poet at heart. To know more about her poetic endeavors follow @sugandhswani on instagram and twitter.
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