1) Showering before bed and drying off juuust enough to be clammy.
2) Finishing a Mister Softee vanilla soft serve with a chocolate dip with no mess and no drip on a hot day, the work of champions, the sport of kings.
3) Dressing up for the Mermaid Day Parade, the only day in Brooklyn where families and naked people (and sometimes families of naked people) gather together to celebrate the MAJESTY OF THE SEA.
4) Forgetting just how difficult it is to get a watermelon to soak up that whole handle of vodka the day before your friend’s annual 4th of July barbecue/drunkfest. But pulling it off anyway because nothing gets in the way of you celebrating this country’s independence like getting shit-faced on vodka-infused watermelon.
5) Not flipping out about not being on the perfect roof when the fireworks go off over the East River. Instead, just hang out with, like, two great friends, indoors, eating and drinking in a cleared out restaurant—maybe like River Styx or Extra Fancy—because everybody else is sweating their asses off with a not that great view of the too long show of colored explosives, sad that their group didn’t stay together because nobody could agree about the best place to watch from. It’s the “relax and don’t” try summer version of New Year’s Eve. The more you pretend like nothing is happening, the more fun it will be.
6) Sweating. Seriously. It’s your body’s natural air conditioning, it’s your body getting it all out. Feel better, feel cooler. No shame sweating 2016.
7) When the label on a sweaty bottle of Presidente comes off in one perfect peel.
8) Delaying your first bike ride of the summer because you never fixed the flat you picked up on what turned out to be the last bike ride of last summer.
9) But then: Biking to Ft. Tilden from wherever you live. You’ll be surprised by how the neighborhoods are connected, and by how much shorter it seems then passing the time while watching as spilled soda crawl towards you on the A. While you are there check out the MoMA PS1 special outdoor exhibit by artist Katharina Grosse.
10) Getting really good at keeping the ingredients for Aperol Spritzes on hand, because you can drink about nine of them, not get too drunk, yet maintain a slight buzz for hours on end, and stay kind of hydrated while you’re at it. Offer these to your friends who you invite over to hang out on your roof and watch the sun go down and don’t make it more complicated than that. The key to life lies in this activity. You’ll have to do it to find out.
11) Incorporating your swimsuit into your daily outfit so that you can jump into pools of water wherever you see them: Brighton Beach, the sprinklers outside the Brooklyn Museum, or just open fire hydrants in the street. Summer is way less stressful when you can sweat through your clothes or get completely soaking wet and not even worry about going home to change before you go out again at night.
12) But maybe bring an extra swimsuit to change into after you get wet because, um, you don’t want to risk any itchiness in places that aren’t too comfortable to scratch in public.
13) Waiting until it gets just cool enough to venture out onto your stoop and nurse a Campari and soda with a thin slice of orange, watching the neighborhood walk by in their summer finery.
14) Tracking the movements of that one bouncy castle as it hopscotches your entire neighborhood, one Block Association Annual bbq at a time.
15) The subway ride home from Coney Island, which will never, no matter where you’re going, take less than one full hour, but will probably take longer depending on how sunburned/dehydrated/bloated/
16) Grabbing your favorite picnic blanket out of storage, filling a thermos with rosé, and heading down to the Red Hook waterfront for whatever classic movie Red Hook Flicks is playing that night. Bring along extra bottles of rosé, just remember to take off the labels because (pro-tip) drinking in public tickets aren’t valid if cops can’t prove what the ABV of your beverage is.
17) That one friend who you only invite to your Prospect Park bbq because for some reason he’s always really up-to-date on the NYPD’s current enforcement protocols for open-container laws. (That friend is us. See above.)
18) No matter what, use the heat, humidity, and sun as three perfect excuses to bring your hat game to the next level. But also challenge yourself not to wear a single bad Panama hat. Go the baseball, cowboy, or big floppy brim route instead. Count how many people stop you throughout the day to tell you they like your hat. The world loves a person in a non traditional hat, and you love it back.
19) The moment when you get home from a long, hot day at the office and your roommate has frozen lemonade in cups with popsicle sticks for homemade, DIY treats that cure all your stress.
20) Seeing how far into the summer you can go before you install your AC. Be the person at all the gatherings who regales the group with “this is how I lay in my room like a slug and manage to not sweat” stories. Everyone thinks you’re crazy but admires your slightly off-putting ascetic resolve at the same time.
21) But also: That first round of AC-fueled summer fling sex.
22) Finding yourself at Trans Pecos Saturday July 9th and Sunday July 10th for the 5th and final :'( Summer Scum. Rest your senses a the week before because you are about to see 52 noise acts performing 15 minute sets (or less). This year performers are converging from Denmark, Italy, and all over the US to make a truly stacked line up. That’s not even including the great local acts such as Cienfuegos, Pharmakon, Via App, and KHF.
23) Waking up before 10am on Saturday morning to catch the Rockaway Beach Bus (you can grab it right at Pearl’s for $25 round trip) down to the Rockaways to play in the surf all day and fall asleep on the ride home. And that leads to the first Rockaway Taco visit of the season–and the many, many more that will come after it.
24) Beach Mondays. Did you know that there’s free street parking in the Rockaways on weekdays? That’s why you should take off on a workday to support beach Mondays. Or beach Tuesdays. Or beach Wednesdays. Or beach Thursdays. Or beach Fridays.
25) Owning a car, so you can drive to the Rockaways for beach Mondays.
26) But also not berating yourself if you don’t spend like seven weekends at the Rockaways or Riis Beach or Fort Tilden this summer, and don’t fall prey to the false belief that all your friends who are going to the beach every weekend are having more fun in life than you. Yeah, the beach is fun, but you know what else it is? Also pretty boring and far away and dehydrating and rife with sunburnt bodies. Summer doesn’t happen at the beach alone; it also happens everywhere, including all over New York City, and holy shit are there a number of fun things to do, many of which are free, and happen all summer long.
27) Making friends with people with central air and large flat screens and spend entire days watching all the best TV series you never watched, i.e., The OC, and/or re-watch all of Friends or Big Love, where Chloë Sevigny has never been better. Do that specifically on days when the rest of your friends are having a boring picnic at Prospect Park, sweating straight through their cotton-based clothes.
28) Gardening, because even if everything you grow dies at least you got your hands dirty.
29) Hosting a BBQ. Like, hot dogs are fine. Some hot dogs are even delicious. But you know they’re not the reason you’re firing up the grill. You’re setting something on fire outdoors in New York City and inviting all of your friends over to watch. What’s not to like?
30) Breaking out the beer coozies, which, though pointless, are as to summer as mugs of hot chocolate are to winter.
31) Binging an entire season of some garbage show you’ve never watched because it’s literally too hot to move/go anywhere and sitting at home is an act of self-care.
32) Hearing [insert summer song] blasting through car windows. Every new car turning onto the block is a reason to burst into song.
33) The smell of sunscreen, which is the smell of possibility–at least for pale people.
34) Having a mushroom day in Brooklyn Bridge Park. That place is bat shit crazy now—what with those gigantic hand ball and volleyball courts and highly-landscaped terrain and high-end food vendors—so drugs might give it the the opposite effect and make it seem normal. Find a healthy patch of grass and lay on your back and chill out for hours and get a tan while you trip and think about stuff, oblivious to the madness around you.
35) Using one of your Summer Fridays to read in Carroll Park until Gowanus Yacht Club opens so you can save a table for your friends who don’t have Summer Fridays.
36) And finally.
Collages by Sarah Lutkenhaus