In the baking, stifling heat of a New York City summer, where can you go to chill out, kick back, and try to regain your cool? A few suggestions – all without having to stray too far from Manhattan or spend too much of your hard earned cash.
Coney Island – once the fairground jewel in Brooklyn’s crown, now a bit of a faded glory – is about an hour’s ride on the D,Q,N or F train from Manhattan where you can stroll along the boardwalk, eat clams, ride the rollercoasters (even more scary by virtue of being ancient, rickety and looking prone to collapse at any moment), wonder about what lies behind the doors of the freak shows and hope for a sea breeze to cool you down.
As a brand new New Yorker, just 3 months here and counting; it was a place I wanted to see and hoped that the old ‘coasters and ferris wheels would make for great Diana subjects (and taking photos of the famous 1927 Cyclone at least gave me an excuse not to have to ride it!)
Wandering along the boardwalk it’s hard to miss the renowned Nathan’s Hotdogs, which was founded in 1916 and home to the infamous 4th of July Hotdog Eating Contest – the record after 2011’s championship stands at 62 hot dogs and buns in ten minutes (and not without some controversy as the reigning champion was banned from competing and held his own simultaneous contest in protest in Manhattan). In any case, they have enough hotdogs to make you feel queasier than Coney’s favourite coasters. I love the bright yellow frontage of Nathan’s stall, and the way it looks as though it hasn’t changed in 50 years.
A little further out of Manhattan on your search for a cool sea breeze, and in the opposite direction of Coney Island, you’ll find Long Beach – just 40 minutes train ride northwest from Penn Station. It is, as the name suggests, a long expanse of golden sands and a boardwalk that stretches on seemingly forever. A quiet, empty contrast to the noise and bright lights of Coney Island. I love the perspective in this shot, and the bright blue sky that almost makes you feel the molten sand burning the soles of your feet.
If you’d prefer to stay a little closer to home, it’s worth checking out one of Manhattan’s free ferries – the famous Staten Island ferry departs from Whitehall Street in Lower Manhattan (take the 1 train to South Ferry), and the short 15-minute trip gives views of the Statue of Liberty just as impressive as those you get from the official trip. It’s such an iconic sight; it doesn’t really need any comment.
Another, maybe lesser known free ferry is the summer ferry (May – Sept) that runs to Governors Island departing Manhattan just around the corner from the Staten Island ferry terminal. Once home to the US Army, it’s now a lovely place to take a picnic in the summer months, hire one of the numerous bikes (no cars on the island) and cycle around exploring the old buildings and taking in the views of Manhattan. This picture doesn’t really do it justice, but I liked the old ice cream van in the leafy shade.
(I admit that I sneaked in a digital photo here! But since it features my trusty DianaF+ I wanted to include it)
Even closer to home, in fact without even leaving the island, there’s always plenty of cool spots to be found in that old fail safe, Central Park; here by the lake at 72nd Street with the misty Manhattan skyline in the background.
Or take in the view from the latest contender for Manhattan’s park crown; laze among the lush green vegetation on the newly-opened second section of the Highline Park – now running all the way from Gansevoort Street to 30th Street up the west side. This view is from around 28th Street and you can make out the New Yorker offices in the background.
A final favourite for finding some cool in the summer is inside the Guggenheim – there’s something very calming, cooling and serene about this architectural icon, especially the spiral of galleries inside. It’s a fantastic piece of architecture and makes for great imagery, such sharp lines but such organic shapes. Opened in 1959, it’s a cool respite from the buzz of 5th Avenue on the Upper East Side and right by Central Park if you feel the need for more escape after admiring its beautiful curves.
So, with parks, islands, beaches, and museums, there’s always somewhere to go and get some refreshing cool in the heat of the city. Just hope that everyone else doesn’t have the same idea.
The Diana F+ is a new twist on the ‘60s classic cult camera. Famous for its dreamy and soft-focused images, the Diana F+ is now packed with extra features such as panorama and pinhole capabilities. Available in our Online Shop.