Here at Ask Gothamist HQ, we've received tons of questions about fun summer activities, like the recent question about the New York Philharmonic Outdoor Concert Series.
Gothamist readers seem to want summer activities that are fun (of course), free or low-cost, and easily accesible without a car. So, Ask Gothamist is glad to present the definitive guide to Summer of Fun 04 (SOF04).
Beaches: New York has beaches aplenty, many that are easily reached by train. If you haven't been to Coney Island, hop on the F train and get ready for some hot dogs and a ride on the Cyclone. If you prefer a less crowded beach and are willing to put in a little extra effort to get to a pretty, secluded spot, Fire Island can't be beat. You can take the Long Island Railroad and then a ferry to Watch Hill, and it makes a great day trip. Long Beach (on Long Island) is another great beach that is easy to get to on the LIRR.
Theres a state, too?: Just outside of New York city, theres a whole beautiful state also called New York. A trip to DIA: Beacon is a wonderful way to spend the day in a huge, air-conditioned space while checking out modern art. DIA: Beacon is easy to get to via Metro-North. While youre upstate, try going up to Cold Spring on Metro-North as well for some antiquing and a nice, leisurely lunch at the Foundry Cafe.
Barbecuing: It is practically your duty as a U.S. citizen to grill things. But I live in New York City, you say. How am I supposed to grill in my studio apartment? Well, if youre lucky enough to have a backyard or a rooftop, or have a friend who does, youre all set. If not, check out the Parks Departments guide to designagted grilling areas in parks in all the boroughs. You can pick up a portable charcoal grill for about $30 at just about any local hardware store, and some supermarkets carry them as well.
Biking: Hop on your bike in the morning before it gets too humid later in the day, or bike by the water to keep a cool breeze on your face. New York City has lots of great bike paths and greenways . Dont have a place to store a bike? Look in the yellow pages online for bicycle rentals.
Want to take your bike on Metro-North? A $5 lifetime bike permit is required to bring your bike on board - you can get one at Grand Central at the Customer Claims window or you can fill out this form online and mail it in with $5. (No permit is necessary for bikes on the subway - thanks to reader Mike for clearing this up).
Boating: You can kayak on the Hudson for free or rent a boat in Central Park, Prospect Park, or Flushing Meadows.
Music and Film: There are about a million free concert and film series over the summer. For free films, check out Bryant Park and Rockeller Center as well as the Brooklyn Bridge Park . Central Park Summerstage, the River to River Festival, the East River Music Project, and Celebrate Brooklyn feature free outdoor concerts all summer.
Enjoy SOF04. Dont forget the sunscreen!