Make New Friends and Keep the Old: Wet, Hot, New York Summer

This past weekend, College Girl was up in the city visiting me.  We devoted about two hours only to talking about her split with Navy Boy (after which I promptly defriended him on facebook – I am of the opinion that it’s totally appropriate for friends to hold grudges for each other when one half of the friendship is too nice to be mad on their own behalf, but I digress) and the rest of the weekend enjoying New York City in the summer.

I have no job, and all of my friends know this.  They know that my life is primarily dictated by how much money my parents are willing to give me at any given time, and seeing as how College Girl is their favorite friend of mine, they weren’t too hard to get money from for the weekend.  However, I set myself to the task of finding free things to do, and as most of us either know or are learning, there’s plenty to do in the city that’s free.  I think I’ve seen a few blogs from some of the other bloggers dedicated entirely to the city’s free events scattered throughout the summer.

Brooklyn Bridge Park and Bryant Park both have movies showing throughout the summer, sponsored by SyFy and HBO, respectively.  In Brooklyn, every Thursday you can see a movie with the sun setting on Manhattan in the background and music provided by a DJ.  Their selection is varied, from Dreamgirls to Rear Window to The Big Lebowski and I’m counting down the days until August 26th when they’ll be playing Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.   Bryant Park is showing old school Hollywood movies, with classic favorites Rosemary’s Baby and Carousel. These two parks aren’t the only places showing free movies throughout the summer, but they’re my two favorites.

College Girl got to New York via the Megabus right around noon, just in time for a day of thunderstorms.  I have this standing theory that whenever I have a visitor, the weather is going to be bad, and the rain starting just as she texted me that she was in her cab is my case and point.  We wandered around my area of East Harlem for a while, not completely out of the rain even with umbrellas, before an impromptu trip to Whole Foods for ice cream, waffles, and pie.  Let it be known that from my stop on the 6 to the Whole Foods at Union Square takes about half an hour, but it’s definitely worth it for the blueberry pie.  After that we decided on an easy night of Chinese food and “Degrassi.”  Laughing at the absurdity of a tornado warning in New York that night, we both relaxed and caught up on each other’s lives, hoping that the next day would bring nicer weather and a chance for me to show off what I’ve learned about the city from living in it on my own for a year.

One of the best things about the city in the summer, not even taking into account the free opportunities offered, is Central Park.  With that said, Central Park is the perfect place for those with few funds to hang out.  Every summer Central Park is host to Shakespeare in the Park, often boasting big name actors that love their craft so much they are willing to put on a free show.  Tickets are hard to come by, free as they are, and can be gotten through an online lottery or standing in line for hours.  Saturday was The Merchant of Venice, and as much as I enjoy Shakespeare I wasn’t that interested until I saw the name Al Pacino.   I haven’t lived in the city long enough to be  immune to the appeal of stars like him, and again, the fact that such a thing is free, blows my mind.

Central Park also has its Summer Stage, and since we were unable to get tickets to Shakespeare in the Park, College Girl and I walked around until we literally stumbled upon a crowd of people all heading to, what we soon discovered, a free performance of the  Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.  With the air cooling thanks to the sun going down, we watched the Alvin Ailey dancers with the soundtrack of live blue music in the background, and it was maybe of my favorite experiences of the city so far.

-Mary K

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