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May 24, 2019

50+ Things to Do This Summer (2019 Edition)

It’s Memorial Day Weekend…which means it’s unofficially summer…which means it’s time for our annual 50+ THINGS TO DO THIS SUMMER list!! From opportunities to get more social (sports! trivia leagues! (…)

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#5 – The Chronos Cosmos exhibit at Socrates Sculpture Park. Photo Credit to Patricia Vittorazzi.

It’s Memorial Day Weekend…which means it’s unofficially summer…which means it’s time for our annual 50+ THINGS TO DO THIS SUMMER list!! From opportunities to get more social (sports! trivia leagues! book clubs!), to ways to learn a new skill, to the usual beat-the-heat methods of pool dips and frozen drinks, we’ve got it all! We hope you have just as much fun doing all of these things as we did writing them!

HAPPY SUMMER 2019!

Share all your summer adventures with us on social media with hashtags #whasummer2019 #weheartsummer.

1. Take a Dip in a Queens Pool

NYC’s oldest and largest pool in Astoria Park opens back up for the summer season on Thursday, June 27. Hours are from 11 a.m. through 7 p.m. daily, with a break for pool cleaning between 3 and 4 p.m. Free sunscreen is provided, and free swimming lessons are offered as well. Click here for more to know before you go.

If a public pool isn’t quite as much your scene, the trendy Profundo Day Club on the rooftop of the Ravel Hotel in Long Island City might be a better choice. Opening this weekend May 25, $60 will get you a full day-pass chair included.

There’s also Flushing Meadows Corona Park PoolFisher Pool in East Elmhurst, the Astoria Sports Complex, the Park City Swim Club in Rego Park,

astoria-park-pool-laps-on-the-left-queens

Image source: sach1tb on Flickr (cc)

2. Have a Picnic in Your Favorite Park

Grab a blanket, a cooler and a good book, and head on down to your favorite Astoria park! We’ll have an article on the best picnics to pack no matter which park you’re near soon, but in the meantime we recommend Château le Woof (check out their ‘food’ highlight) for Socrates Sculpture Park, Vintage on Ditmars for Astoria Park (they’ll have pre-packed baskets with the likes of bacon-wrapped dates, charcuterie, lobster rolls and cans of wine!), and Cannelle for Gantry Plaza State Park.

3. Eat Outside on Restaurant Patios

Getting an apartment with outdoor space is quite literally like STRIKING GOLD in New York, but at least there are tons of outdoor seating options for the rest of us! Check out our 2019 extensive outdoor dining guide HERE. Back patios like at Il Bambino and Pye Boat Noodle are kind of our favorite.

4. Watch Outdoor Movies

Missed a blockbuster from last year, or have a go-to classic you haven’t seen in a while? Odds are they are will playing outside in a local park this summer! You don’t have to feel guilty watching a movie during nice weather if you’re outdoors, right? Here’s our full list, with a few upcoming below:

5. View Chronos Cosmos at Socrates Sculpture Park

The park that double-functions as an outdoor art museum always has amazing summer exhibits, but this summer’s is especially moving–and photogenic. Focused on artworks that consider space, time, and matter in relationship to celestial entities and earth-bound processes, Chronos Cosmos: Deep Time, Open Space transforms Socrates Sculpture Park into a gateway to the universe.

Photo by Scott Lynch.

6. Take in the View at a Rooftop Bar

Try the Vista Sky Lounge, Penthouse 808, the Z Hotel and the Boro Hotel in Long Island City, or Luna Asian Bistro on Steinway Street in Astoria.

Vista Rooftop.

7. Eat Around the World at the Queens Night Market

This go-to weekly summer event (on Saturday evenings) just started up again! See the full list of vendors and performers here. At the New York Hall of Science in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

Image via Yelp user Wing. L.

8. Shop and Nibble at LIC Food & Flea

LIC Flea & Food is one of the premier weekend destinations in Queens with the best selection of curated vintage, handmade designs and artisan food vendors, plus Beer Gardens serving up local craft beer. It operates outdoors rain or shine from 11am-6pm on June 29, July 4, September 14/15 and October 4/5.

9. Spend a Night at the Opera at the Metropolitan Opera Summer Recital

The Metropolitan Opera’s Summer Recital Series returns to Socrates for its ninth season, featuring talented young Met singers performing arias and duets from a variety of operas on Monday, June 17 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Produced annually in association with SummerStage NYC and the NYC Dept of Parks & Recreation.

Seating is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis. Picnic blankets are encouraged!

Credit to Socrates Sculpture Park.

10. Make Some Music in Queens

Make Music New York is coming back to Queens for its 13th year and is better than ever! The musical event on the summer solstice (June 21) celebrates and promotes the natural music maker in all of us. This year there will be over 1,000 free, outdoor events taking place across all five boroughs. Some of the stand-out events in Queens include:

  • Percussia – At Diversity Plaza in Jackson Heights, local ensemble Percussia will perform a mash-up of classical, modern, popular and world music styles.
  • Queens Second Line – In Jamaica, at the Parsons Public Space, Queens Second Line will feature jazz performances in partnership with the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation.

11. Watch Local Bands Live

Summer is a great time to check out the local music scene. Some of our favorite places to watch live bands are The Strand (which JUST opened back up), RaR Bar, The LetLove Inn, and George’s at Kaufman Astoria Studios.

Relax with a cocktail, the sunshine, and a few tunes. Photo Credit: George’s Facebook page

12. Tour an Urban Farm

Brooklyn Grange‘s flagship farm is located on a rooftop in Long Island City, and they offer tours where you can enjoy a walk around the farm and learn about their daily operations and farming methods, the basics of their business model, and the environmental benefits of urban agriculture and rooftop farming. There are two tours, one at 11 a.m. and one at 2 p.m., on Saturdays throughout the summer and fall.

Credit to Brooklyn Grange.

13. Eat Fresh Seafood

Nothing quite says summer like fresh seafood. Try Taverna Kyclades (they’re not moving until the end of the summer!), Off the Hook, Astoria Seafood’s Eat-In Market, and AbuQir Seafood.

14. Enjoy an Oyster Happy Hour

Speaking of…slurping an oyster out of its shell just screams SUMMER, and luckily, there are lots of happy hour deals surrounding these treats from the sea. Mar’s offers oysters for $1.50/each Monday through Friday from 5 to 7 p.m., and $2 all day on Sundays. Off the Hook has $1 oysters from 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, and all night on Mondays. Sanfords also has $1 oysters everyday from 4 to 7 p.m.

raw-oysters-off-the-hook-astoria-queens

15. Visit SculptureCenter‘s LIC Public Art Commission

For SculptureCenter’s fourth annual Public Process program, the museum has commissioned Matt Keegan whose 8 foot tall rectangular structure will be installed in Long Island City’s Court Square Park from May 12-August 18. The name of the work, what was & what is, is pulled from a developer’s comment in a 2017 New York Times article on the longtime speculative interest for urban development in the area.

Courtesy the artist. Photo: Heidi Bohnenkamp

16. Help Clean Up Astoria Park

Keep our gorgeous East River shoreline looking pristine at the Astoria Park Shoreline Cleanup & Beautification events on Saturdays, June 8, July 27 and August 24 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Follow their Facebook Page for more updates.

17. Sip on a Greek Frappe

This classic Greek coffee drink made by frothing instant coffee, water, and milk/sugar (if desired), topped with ice, is the perfect pick-me-up for a summer day–and Astoria, of course, is the perfect place to get one. Our favorite is from Boulis Cafe.

frappe-zorbas-astoria-queens

18. Cool Down with Frozen Drinks

Speaking of cold drinks…frozen drinks are where it’s at during the summer! We love: the frozen Irish Coffee and Frozen Moscow Mules at Passage, FROSÉ BLANC at The Bonnie and PINOT FREEZIO at Sweet Afton, and Strawberry Daquiris at Beans & Lager.

19. Exercise Outdoors

Exercising is hard (at least for me!), but something about doing it outside on a gorgeous day makes it seem like so much less of a chore. Oh, and being FREE doesn’t hurt! Socrates Sculpture Park is offering Yoga classes on Saturday and Sunday mornings, and also Tai Chi on Sundays from MAY 18 – SEPT 15 for both (see full events calendar HERE). At Astoria Park, enjoy terrace roof Yoga on Saturday mornings.

20. Fist Pump to Electronic Dance Music at MoMA PS1

Jump to the music at MoMA PS1’s Warm Up Series–featuring a wide range of artists: emerging and established, local and global, and across genres–running every Saturday in July and August.

warm-up-2018-extra-lic-queens

21. Participate in Queens Pride

First held in 1993, the fight for social justice and the celebration of community continues with this annual display of visibility and pride. In 2019, we will be celebrating WORLD PRIDE, to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. Taking place on Sunday, June 2, you can register to march here or simply attend to support from the sidelines.

Queens Pride 1994.
Photo by Richard Shpuntoff

22. Walk Down the Street Fairs

The smell of fried food and view of random knickknacks is also one of those things that signifies summer–yes, we’re talking about Street Fairs. See the full summer lineup HERE!

23. Support a Local Filmmaker at the Museum of the Moving Image

Local filmmaker Dan McNamara is screening his Astoria-shot ’90s sci-fi/fantasy adventure Wish Weasel at the Museum of the Moving Image on June 14 for free. Reserve tickets here or refer to the poster for other local screenings.

There are also lots of other film screenings and events at the museum worth checking out this summer: see the events calendar here.

24. Do a Brewery Crawl in LIC

LIC is home to tons of craft breweries, most of them within walking distance of each other. Here’s what we’d recommend: start at LIC Beer Project at 39-28 23rd St, then make your way to Big aLICe at 8-08 43rd Rd, then hit up Fifth Hammer at 10-28 46th Ave, and end at Rockaway Brewing on 46-01 5th St.

If you want to show some love for Astoria breweries, stop by SingleCut (19-33 37th St, Queens) and/or ICONYC (45-13 34th Ave, Astoria) on your way home!

25. Or another kind…

We’d recommend a Dessert Crawl!

26. Lick Icy Desserts

Speaking of desserts, summer is the best time to indulge in your favorite icy treats. We’re talking ice cream (holler at Ample Hills!), Gelato (at Gelato & Co and another appears to opening on Ditmars), and FroYo (Sunberi and Green Apple Delight).

la guli gelato

La Guli Gelato

27. Go to a Biergarten

Now that Studio Square closed, Bohemian Hall is our only local option–but there’s no problem there! Enjoy large pints of European beer and Czeck food staples. On a smaller scale, check out MAX BRATWURST UND BIER. And though Anabele Basin isn’t quite a biergarten, it is another great option for outdoor drinking in LIC!

bohemian-beer-garden-astoria-queens

28. Try Kayaking or Canoeing on the East River

It’s always nice taking in a view of the East River, but what about enjoying the view from the river itself? LIC Community Boathouse offers free kayaking and canoeing from Socrates Sculpture Park’s beach at Hallets Cove (enter at 31-10 Vernon Blvd) on select weekends May-September. The boathouse also offers walk-up paddling at their main location in LIC.

kayakers on the east river

Kayakers on the East River

29. Get Your New Summer Wardrobe

Need a look for a summer BBQ or date night? Luckily you don’t have to trek into Manhattan to get a gorgeous new outfit. Try local boutiques Lockwood Style and Loveday 31 for vintage flair.

30. Enjoy the Waterfront

Whether from a park, restaurant with views, a walk down the block, or from the ferry, you must enjoy our neighborhood’s fantastic waterfront views this summer! Makes you feel a little closer to the beach…

waterfront-socrates-sculpture-park-astoria-queens

Wonderful views along the Socrates waterfront.

31. Put Your Feet Up at Gantry Plaza State Park

If you want to take quick subway or Uber ride, checking out Gantry Plaza State Park in LIC (4-09 47th Rd) is a must-visit for summer. Enjoy beautiful views of the Manhattan skyline, green green grass, and super comfy outdoor lounge chairs that you can kick your feet up on. Plus get a photo in front of the iconic Pepsi Cola sign!

32. Spend a Day Riding the Ferry

The Astoria Ferry opened last year, and during the summer (or any month, really) it is SO preferable to taking the steamy subway, even if you’re going as far as Brooklyn! You can ride it to Roosevelt Island for a picnic, LIC, Manhattan (East 34th St. or Wall St.), and the Brooklyn Navy Yard (with food, shopping and a whiskey distillery) was just added to the route. You can also transfer ferries in Manhattan to go to DUMBO or Williamsburg in Brooklyn (Smorgasburg anyone?). They also serve snacks and booze on-board, so you can always just ride it around and around and around and…

nyc-ferry

33. Take a Ride on a Citi Bike

Here is a map of where all of the Astoria Citi Bikes are located–the perfect way to get around on a beautiful summer day.

34. Start Your Novel

If this is one of your dreams, now is the perfect time to start! There are lots of affordable/low-commitment writing classes available to help you get going. On Sundays once-a-month at Astoria Bookshop, participate in a Creative Writing Workshop led by award-winning essayist, playwright, and creative writing professor, Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons. She also periodically hosts “Sip-N-Scribe”s at Q.E.D. with writing prompts, so be sure it follow their calendar for event updates. They also have comedy writing workshops if that’s more your speed.

35. Join a Summer Reading Book Club

If you don’t want to write one but love reading them, book clubs are a great place to lament about the deaths of your favorite characters or critique your author’s use of metaphors. Astoria Bookshop has clubs that include: Parenting for Social Justice, Young Adult, General Interest, Feminist, and Feminerdy. Check out the events calendar for specific days and leader contact info. Book Culture LIC hosts the LIC Cosmonauts’ Guild (for speculative fiction) at 6:30 on the third Thursday of each month, as well as the Raising Little Humans Book Club (for parenting and child development) on the last Monday of every month at 7 pm. More info here.

36. Test Your Random Knowledge with Trivia

If work’s a little less crazy over the summer, join a local trivia league! Or just grab friends and stop by one of the neighborhood bars on their hosting night.

37. Try Joining a Sports or Darts League

Summer is also a great time to participate in a sports league. Astoria Social organizes softball, kickball and cornhole teams. Oh, and if you’d still rather stay inside, there’s darts too!

Credit to Astoria Social.

38. Swap Your Hot Tea or Coffee for Iced

There’s lots of good cold brews around the neighborhood from Kinship to Gossip to Astoria Coffee–and might we suggest trying the newly opened Mighty Oak Roasters?

iced-coffee-astor-bake-shop-astoria-queens

39. Pick up Local Produce at Farmers Markets

Socrates Sculpture Park hosts “Roots Saturdays” every Saturday in the park with produce from Hellgate Farms and rotating partners like The Connected ChefBig Reuse and more for drop-in workshops, food demos, and activities for kids and families. There’s also an Astoria Greenmarket on Wednesdays from 8 am-3 pm, July 10 – November 27, 2019 on 14th Street between 31st Avenue & 31st Road.

socrates-greenmarket-j-glebocki farm-greens-potatoes-astoria-queens

40. Eat New Spring/Summer Menus

Check your favorite restaurant because most of them have been updating their menus for the spring and summer season! Might be time to stop in again at a local favorite you haven’t seen in a while. We’re eyeing The Bonnie’s charred string bean salad and the Ravioli al Limone at Vite.

41. Watch Independence Day Fireworks

Astoria Park always has an early fireworks display–this year’s is on June 27, with a performance by the Queens Symphony Orchestra starting at 7:30pm. It’s also the 35th Anniversary! We’ll have a guide on how to catch the actual 4th of July ones, this year over Brooklyn Bridge, a little bit closer to the date.

Image via Abdel Berraha

42. Check out shows at The ARC

The new 20,000-sq.-ft. concert and recording space in Astoria is bound to be loaded with shows this summer–so stay up-to-date with their performances here.

Credit to The Arc.

43. Eat Breakfast Shack in Athens Square Park

This was submitted by a reader–and sounds like a lovely summer morning. Grab breakfast at the Breakfast Shack food truck and eat it in Athens Square Park (where it’s parked) while people watching. Open Monday-Friday from 7am-1pm and serving Saturday and Sunday brunch from 10am-2pm (April through October).

truck-front-the-breakfast-shack-food-truck-astoria-queens

Photo credit: The Breakfast Shack

44. Go to the Carnival at Astoria Park

Taking place Wednesday, June 5 through Sunday, June 9 in the Astoria Park Parking Lot! Coupons available here.

45. Take a Class at AlterWork Studios

More leisure time = the perfect time to try your hand at something new! From pottery to sewing to tapestry weaving, become an amateur craftsperson this summer at AlterWork.

alterwork-studios-astoria-queens

46. Dance to a Silent Disco

At Bohemian Beer Hall and Katch Astoria all summer long!

Credit to Quiet Events.

47. Ride Your Bike Over to Randall’s Island

Maybe for a movie (see #4)?

Credit to Randall’s Island Park Alliance.

48. Get Your Summer BBQ On (Buy, Don’t Grill)

BBQs are a sure-sign of suburban summer, but luckily we have lots of options to buy it in the city (hey, it’s a lot less work too!). Try the newly reopened Strand Smokehouse, Mothership Meat Co, Butcher Bar, or the new Pig and the Peach pop-up at LIC Beer Project June 8,15,16 from 2-8PM.

49. Sing Karaoke

At Karaoke Shout, Sissy McGinty’s (every Friday night), Beans & Lager (every other Wednesday), Albatross (Mondays) and more!

50. Watch Your Favorite Movies & Play Drinking Games with Sauced Cinemas

They do screenings with drinking and trivia games at local spots Katch Astoria, The Astorian, and Bar Italia. Check out the full schedule HERE.

Credit to Sauced Cinemas.

51. Paint and Sip at The Paint Place NY

Create new art for your apartment and BYOB!

52. Volunteer Your Time

There’s options at Astoria Park (see #16), Hour Children, Heavenly Angels Animal Rescue, the Museum of the Moving Image, the Greater Astoria Historical Society, and more.

53. Listen to Authors Discuss Their New Books

Events at Astoria Bookshop and Book Culture LIC feature authors discussing their works about anything from careers, botanicals, the prison system, murder mysteries and more.

54. Show Some Love to Your Pet

Take them to the new dog run or to Château Le Woof for a treat and walk in the park (for you too)!

Dog pictured at Chateau Le Woof

55. Attend The Brass Owl’s 5th Annual Summer Party

Celebrate the first weekend of summer with The Brass Owl! Join the Ditmars staple for a day filled with treats, deals, and fun! Enjoy a free gift with any purchase of $10 or more, double loyalty points,15% off the entire store, more fun TBA!

56. Shop Lockwood Sales

We’re celebrating the official start of Summer with a Solstice Party! Happening Saturday, June 22nd from 12-5 p.m.

Here’s what you can look forward to:
– Double Lockwood Loyalty points at all locations
– DIY plant bar at Home & Gift
– Crafting corner at Home & Gift (make a crystal keychain or a sage bundle!) $10/each or spend $100 or more and do one for free
– 15 minute tarot readings at Lockwood Style with Gayle Stacher. Get a free reading when you spend $150 or more at any Lockwood location.
Or sign up for a slot ahead of time – $30/15min: https://lockwoodshop.com/15-min-tarot-reading-with-gayle-stacher/
– Buy a pair of THINX at Lockwood Style and get a free swag bag!

They will also be having an EPIC clearance sale (with 30-75 percent off hundreds of items at all locations) starting Friday, June 21!

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