Sunday, September 4, 2016

10 things I learnt during my first New York summer

So September is here and its officially almost the end of summer; my first summer in New York. Its been such a wonderful summer but I have also been reflecting now that its drawing to a close and here are 10 things I have learnt after surviving my first summer in the city. 

 1 - It gets HOT

When I was warned about the New York heat during the summer, I laughed. I thought there is no way I will get sick of the sun and the heat. But I’m from England, land of the ‘okay’ summers and clearly didn’t know what I was talking about because week after week of relentless heat, I must admit even I’m ready for an autumnal breeze.  If you are in the city with kids, you can check out my guide to surviving a heat wave.

2 - Everyone screams for ice cream

I don’t usually have a big sweet tooth but my goodness I have consumed my body weight in ice cream this summer! Ice cream is such a big deal here. Awesome ice cream trucks are everywhere and with places like Big Gay Ice Cream and Ample Hills Creamery to check out, you can see why it is such a tempting way to cool down.

3 - Sometimes you head indoors

I never thought that I’d actively go looking for indoor activities during the summer, but the heat got to me and we did! We went to see every kids summer movie and hung out at places like the American Museum of Natural History and indoor play spaces. I never had to head indoors to avoid the heat in England, its madness.

4 - You will spend lots of time at the beach

Hands down one of the best ways to escape the city heat is to head to the beach. We are still without a car, but New York has some amazing beaches that are easily accessible by public transit. When I think of New York, it isn’t the beaches that come to mind, but honestly they are beautiful and I had no idea. You can read about our days out at Far Rockaway, Long Beach and Coney Island.

5 - You can go splashing around

In England we get enough rain that there isn’t really a necessity for splash pads. But in New York they are a thing big time. There has been so many times when I’ve been so jealous of little B when he has jumped into the splash pads to cool off. I only get brave enough to cool my feet!

6 - You will be relieved to get on the subway

Most of our adventures begin and end on New York’s subway and who would of thought during the summer you are actually relieved to get on the train as they are fully air-conditioned! Yes they get busy from time to time – but they are cool. You just pray your ride is not delayed as the platform gets soooooo hot and sweaty

7 - Summer Camps rule

I know English readers will be thinking what is summer camp? Before moving to New York I thought they took place out in the countryside near big lakes where kids kayaked and climbed trees all day and sat around a campfire singing Kum By Yah by night. While yes, you can send your kids to this sort of camp. The camp I’m referring to is a genius childcare solution they have in the states during the long summer holidays.  

A handful of helpers (usually not long out of school themselves) look after groups of kids taking them on trips, doing arts and crafts and generally keeping them out of trouble during the summer.

8 - You can chalk it up

It is perfectly acceptable for kids to literally cover the pavement or playground floor with chalk! And the chalk comes in big chunky sticks to help kids create their masterpieces quickly. I’ve seen some pretty amazing and also very sweet drawings around the city and particularly in Brooklyn. We didn’t really have this England we just had lame old pieces of teachers chalk to scrawl a hopscotch.

9 - Thunder bolts of lightening aren’t very very frightening

Why is it that America does everything bigger and better than England; including the weather! I have never seen thunder storms like the ones I have seen this summer in New York. The way the lightening dances and lights up the sky is amazing. You can usually spot me sat in the window of the brownstone just watching the storm. But the craziest thing is half an hour after its started, its passed and the world is hot and sunny again.

10 - It’s okay to wear flip flops (sort of)

You can always spot the visitors by their choice of inappropriate footwear! But what is a New Yorker to wear on their feet during summer? I’m of the belief that life is better in flip flops, I’m sorry but it is. And as soon as it was warm enough to ditch my trainers I did. But then it struck me, do I really want to know what I’m walking in? My feet frequently return from a day trekking in the city so filthy regular shower gel can’t remove the dirt. I have to scrub it off with exfoliator then clean the tub afterwards!

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