It’s finally summertime in New York City, and yes, living is easy, especially if you indulge in what the season has to offer. From drinking cocktails alfresco to celebrities performing Shakespeare outside to opera stars taking the summer stage, there is plenty here to keep you busy:
- Shakespeare in the Park. For the past 50 years, the Delacorte Theater in Central Park has produced Shakespeare in the Park, and often the popular shows feature celebrities and award-winning talent. This year’s lineup includes Modern Family actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson and prolific TV actor Hamish Linklater in The Comedy of Errors, showing through June 30. The next play is a musical adaptation of Love’s Labour’s Lost, directed by Alex Timbers and featuring music from Obie-winning composer Michael Friedman. Act fast to snag the free tickets: You need to go to the website on the day of the show, enter your information and keep your fingers crossed that you get them.
- Wine dinner at Mandarin Oriental, New York. Head to this Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star hotel for a special dinner featuring Numanthia wine. On June 24 in Asiate’s private wine room, sample vintages from this Spanish vineyard with winemaker Manuel Louzada as your guide. All tastes come paired with chef Angie Berry’s dishes, including risotto with grilled squid and strawberry-tarragon vacherin.
- Charlie Parker Jazz Festival. Kicking off in Harlem on August 23 with Jimmy Heath and his big band performing Bird Is the Word, this free festival dedicated to the jazz great goes all weekend. The first two days, find performances at Marcus Garvey Park Amphitheater. Then on August 25, head to Tompkins Square Park in the East Village to hear Lee Konitz, Sheila Jordan, Christian Scott and Warren Wolf.
- Barbra Streisand party. Just like Fanny Brice, this summer you, too, can have it all with the special “Hello Gorgeous!” package offered at Five-Star Trump International Hotel & Tower New York. For $925, you and a companion will get a continental breakfast in Nougatine by Jean-Georges, a manicure and pedicure at the newly-renovated The Trump Spa New York, DVDs of Funny Girl and Yentl and a CD of previously unreleased songs by Streisand. The package is in honor of Streisand receiving the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Charlie Chaplin Award this past April.
- My Brightest Diamond and the Kronos Quartet. On July 25 at the Damrosch Park Bandshell in Lincoln Center, prepare to be wowed by My Brightest Diamond’s Shara Worton, a singer who takes her voice to haunting heights and creates catching, almost pop-like songs. For this free performance (RSVP on Facebook), Worton teams up with classically trained violinist Emily Wells. Next, expect an equally powerful show by the Kronos Quartet and special guest Mariana Sadovska.
- Film festival. Attend the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s BAMcinemaFest from June 19 to 28. For five years, it has culled some of the best takes from the film festival circuit, and this year includes Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck’s Ain’t Them Bodies Saints and Jonathan Groff’s C.O.G., a film based on a chapter from David Sedaris’ book Naked.
- Cocktails on top of the world. For many New Yorkers, summer means not only beaches and shorts, but also eating and drinking outdoors, a pastime especially pleasing if it’s on a rooftop. At Salon de Ning on top of the Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star The Peninsula New York hotel, you get a 1930s East-meets-West flavor 23 stories high. Sip a Ning Sling with lychee liqueur and fresh mint leaves, or go for the bubbly 5th Avenue Spritz with Aperol and prosecco.
- The beach. One of the hottest places to hang out this summer is all the way out on the tip of the Hamptons in Montauk. This once-sleepy town now bustles with top-notch parties and shows, including the July 13 Blonde Redhead concert at The Surf Lodge (where you can also stay), and weekend DJ sets and exclusive poolside parties at the No. 50 Beach Club at the Montauk Beach House.
- Robert Plant Presents The Sensational Space Shifters. With his new band, Led Zeppelin’s frontman will play some original songs as well as tunes from Zeppelin’s repertoire that they mix up with African rhythms, folk and a little funk. The show takes place July 27 in the Prospect Park Bandshell, and a portion of the proceeds from the $50 tickets goes to support Celebrate Brooklyn! and the park.
- Dancing in Hudson River Park. Starting July 14 and running until August 11, head to Pier 84 every Sunday for free dance lessons as part of Hudson River Park’s annual MoonDance. Afterward, test out your new moves to tunes from a live band. The season’s debut party is swing with George Gee Swing Orchestra, which is then followed up by salsa with Los Hermanos Colon on July 21 and tango with Hector Del Curto’s Eternal Tango on August 4.
Photo Courtesy of Fairmont Hotels and Resorts