If we could, we’d wave a magic wand and make every summer weekend four days long. Sadly, we’re not that powerful. We can though, do our best to make your summer the best ever, with our outdoor movie calendar, round-up of free spots to do yoga, concert guide, beach reads and, with these seven summer pro-tips, including your new favorite app, the best cocktails for steamy nights and what to binge watch for when only AC and the couch will do.
What to wear: $20 sunnies at In God We Trust For a long time I’ve had a personal policy that forbids me from spending more than $15 on a pair of sunglasses. I have a terrible habit of throwing them in my bag, dropping them, or misplacing them all together. The result is a cluttered tangle of Target specials, crappy aviators I’ve bought at gas stations and plastic freebies, none of which I really enjoy wearing. In God We Trust has changed all that. The boutique stocks $20 pairs of sunglasses in of-the-moment and classic styles. They’re all better than average quality for a $20-pair of sunglasses–just nice enough so that I finally bought a case for mine, and actually use it, but I’m also not afraid to wear them in the water when I go to the beach. Perfection.
What to bring on vacation: Sky Guide ($2.99 on iTunes) Mars and Jupiter have both been highly visible in the night sky in New York recently, which I know thanks to Sky Guide. Launch Sky Guide and hold your phone up to the sky and the screen displays a labeled map of planets and constellations that syncs up with what you are seeing overheard. You can click on individual celestial bodies to learn more about them, and track the rise and set times for the sun, stars and planets. It’s all exceptionally intuitive and well designed, and one of the only apps I’ve wholeheartedly felt good about paying for. It’s fun, if a little depressing to see all the stars that aren’t visible in New York, shining behind the light pollution, and truly awe inspiring to launch Sky Guide around a campfire out in the middle of nowhere (no wi-fi or GPS signal needed for it to work). Just be prepared to pass your phone around while everyone takes a look, because it’s really that cool.
How to stay caffeinated: Grady’s Cold Brew Bags ($12 for 12 servings) and the Alkemy Cold Brew Kit ($18 for eight servings) Let’s all take a deep breath and accept that cold brew costs $4 a pop. That’s close to $300 for a summer’s worth (and that’s just for one a work day). The good news is that you can ignore all of those overwrought articles about making perfect cold brew at home because there are two completely un-fuck-up-able options for you instead. Grady’s cold brew bags are in my fridge all summer long (especially since the C-Town on the corner of Metropolitan and Graham have been selling the tins of four bags for $5 each). There’s also a neat new travel option from Alkemy Brew Lab. Their Cold Brew Kit comes with two coffee sachets, each of which makes about four cups. The cool part is that it’s designed to be brewed right in the plastic packaging, complete with lines that show you how much water to add and very detailed instructions. Now you can wake up to cold brew in any cabin, tent, hotel room or Folgers-drinking-relative’s house, all summer long.
What to watch: Marcella, on Netflix I’m not saying that Marcella will fill the Game of Thrones-shaped hole in your weekly viewing schedule. It’s a dark, moody British mystery with a nearly inscrutable and highly unreliable narrator and if you have a low tolerance for red herrings and confusion, it’s probably better to stick to the ever delightful Great British Baking Show on PBS. But if you’re waiting impatiently for a new season of Broadchurch (filming this summer), loved River and have a general affinity for difficult people and British dramas, well, crank the AC and get comfortable on your couch and don’t try to figure this one out. You won’t see it coming.
What to drink: Probably five years ago I was at Robeling Tea Room trying to decide what to drink on an insanely hot night. The bartender suggested a rosé spritzer and it changed everything about summer drinking for me. Usually I just take a tall glass and fill it with ice, add rosé or an unoaked white wine until it’s about two-thirds full, squeeze a little lemon juice in and then top with seltzer. A dash of bitters or a splash of Aperol, Lillet or even Campari is also nice–it’s a very forgiving drink. If you want to take it to the next level, check out Spritz, the new book from Talia Baiocchi and Leslie Pariseau. They drove around Italy collecting classic spritzer recipes all to make your warm weather drinking more pleasurable.
Where to picnic: Pier 6 at Brooklyn Bridge Park I almost hesitate to write this because up until now the lawn area on Pier 6 in Brooklyn Bridge Park, which just opened for this summer, has been something of an undiscovered treasure. There’s a very cool water feauture and playground for kids, as well as a Fornino if you didn’t bring your own picnic at the part of the pier closest to the main path through the park. It’s not immediately apparent that if you walk down the pier toward the water the beautifully wild vegetation opens up into a lush, spacious lawn with views of Lower Manhattan and Governors Island. Make some gazpacho, grab a blanket and go before it gets too crowded. You can also take the East River Ferry from Pier 6 to Governors Island (that’s the only destination from this pier), on Saturdays and Sundays for $2, round trip, free before 11:30am and for IDNYC card holders. Schedule and details.
What to eat: There are two recipes I make constantly in the summer because they are perfect. The first is a gazpacho from The New York Times and it is classic and perfect and you will make at least once a week, I promise. Best Gazpacho Recipe really is just that, and all you need is some vegetables, salt, olive oil and a blender. I use an immersion blender and make it in a big jar, seal it up and keep in the fridge. My second summer favorite does require you to boil water for pasta, which I suggest doing in the morning before it gets oppressively hot. It’s adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi’s wonderful book, Jerusalem, and could not be more delicious. Ottolenghi recipes can feel overly complicated, with very long ingredient lists and many prep steps, but Pasta with Yogurt, Peas and Chile is really the exception. You make a creamy sauce with Greek yogurt, olive oil and feta, and mix that with pasta, fresh peas and basil, and top with pine nuts toasted in chile oil. It’s satisfying, easy and a surprising way to use yogurt that really, really works.