“I believe in New Yorkers. Whether they’ve ever questioned the dream in which they live, I wouldn’t know, because I won’t ever dare ask that question.” – Dylan Thomas
New Yorkers love to argue over which season brings the most magical energy to the city. Each have very valid arguments; however, there is something about living in New York City during the summer that just simply feels like some kind of fantasy. For many of the city dwellers, summer weekends are spent escaping to the Hamptons to relax and escape the heat. For the rest of us, weekends are spent at the Rockaways- a beach community in Queens with everything a beach goer could ask for: beach bars, a boardwalk, live bands, you name it.
Then there are the rooftops. If you follow me on any social media, you’ll see that a lot of my time here is spent on a roof somewhere. The rooftop of my apartment building is where my boyfriend and I spend a lot of time hanging out- watching the sunset over Manhattan, drinking wine. That is a perfect Friday night to me and it’s an inexpensive way to enjoy the beauty of the city. Then of course you have your friend’s roofs, the roof at your work, the roof at your boyfriend’s work… we love roofs here, ok? I think the reason we love them so much is because in those moments, you feel like you’re in a dream. You are separated from the annoyances of the city; you take in the elegance and the history and the glamour. I’d venture to say that even the most seasoned New Yorker occasionally asks themselves, “Is this real life?”
Of course, this is not to take away from the negatives of summer in this great city. The subway feels like 120 degrees and somehow I always have some smelly armpit right in my face. My thighs sweat and rub together if I don’t spray deodorant on them (it’s gross but I walk a lot so it’s a real problem!). Many places (like bodegas) don’t have central AC and everyone is just dripping in sweat. It’s a concrete heat trap; however, it’s nothing an escape to the Rockaways or a dip in the fountain at Washington Square Park can’t cure.
Part of the dream of living here is summer nights. Patio seating, rooftop bars, late night walks in your sundresses through Union Square. My advice to any new person feeling overwhelmed by the city, but haven’t spent a summer here, is to wait it out. After spending the summer here last year I felt that I may never leave. I may not. But if I do, I know that my summer memories will be my best ones, and one day I will look back on them and have a hard time discerning over what was a dream and what was reality- and that’s totally fine with me.
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