NEW YORK—There are two things that I don’t like about summer. The first is that at a certain point it always gets too hot to bear, which leads to thoughts of ‘What a relief it will be when the weather cools down.’ The second is that it does cool down and winter becomes imminent.
Winter has its offerings that are worthwhile. They include beautiful white snow, cozying up with a cup of hot cocoa under a blanket, the joy of the holidays, and ringing in the New Year. The problem is that everything in winter also has some kind of fallout. Snow melts, cocoa makes horrible stains on blankets, the holidays typically degrade into daydreams about the time when they will be over, and New Year’s becomes a day of staying home and doing nothing.
Thoughts of the coming delights of winter have led to one idea in my head, looping over and over: stay near the water’s edge until the winter’s cold winds drive you away. Everyone has that type of thought from time to time. It starts and stops and won’t leave you alone; it’s a constant nagging like a 2-year-old demanding something while tugging on your pant leg incessantly.
In such a situation, I believe what’s at work is our true, inner-self urging our overworked self to follow a natural impulse. We’ve all heard that voice telling us to quit that job that we hate and don’t need, to give it all up and move to a foreign country, start a rock band, or open a really cool coffee shop and be a latte bum. But as far as impulses go, making the most of the rapidly waning sunshine and its accompanying warmth is fairly harmless.
I’ve spent the past few weeks making good on that impulse. Although it’s already October, there is still some sunshine—and chances—left.
Of all the countless choices the best place to start is by crossing the Brooklyn Bridge. Not as intimidating as it might sound, crossing the bridge (weekday late mornings are best) takes about 30 minutes and affords breathtaking views of the East River, Manhattan, and the Statue of Liberty.
There’s also Brooklyn Bridge Park, which can easily be combined with a trip to or from the bridge. Of course the park is adjacent to one of Brooklyn’s coolest neighborhoods, DUMBO. Both have diversions and attractions to offer whether you’re a poet looking for some caffeine and writing space, or parents with a small child.
The South Street Seaport in Lower Manhattan will soon have a construction site at Pier 17, but at least for a few more weeks you can enjoy it in all its glory. There are the antique ships at dock, the two-mile esplanade with its path that hugs the shore from East River Park to Front Street, and the historic buildings at the Seaport.
Whatever or wherever, the city has no shortage of places on, in, or near the water to play and commune with nature. The only thing that’s running out is time.