Summer is almost over. Did you do everything you wanted to do this summer? Neither did I! And while I personally think there’s nothing more decadent and luxurious than wasting an entire season of the year—especially when that season is summer, which is, sorry, but kind of the worst, thanks to all the forced gaiety and practically compulsory “fun” activities—I recognize that most people are not like me (and, really, that’s a good thing; I’m a lot), and so I figured I would come up with a handy list of all the things you can do over the course of the next week before summer is really and truly over, so that when you wind up talking to people about what you did on your summer vacation you’ll have something to say other than how you “drank some rosé at brunch this one time.” Even though that’s a perfectly fine thing to have done, and probably (definitely) better than my favorite summer activity (taking photos on the side of a country road of a dead baby chipmunk that still looked very much alive except for all the flies crowding its belly’s underside), you still might want to have something that will inspire the same kind of FOMO in others that your co-worker’s trip to Iceland inspired in you. And so, in no particular order, here are 17 things you should definitely do before summer is really, truly, FINALLY over.
1) Eat a Clam Roll: Didn’t make it to Maine this year? Yeah, neither did I. But! I did eat approximately 17 of Littleneck’s absolutely perfect, possibly best-sandwich-in-all-of-Brooklyn fried clam roll, which features impossibly plump clam bellies and a slick of tangy, creamy tartar sauce all on a toasted, buttered hot dog bun. Does it scream summer? Yes. And so will you after eating it. (Or maybe you’ll just moan appreciatively. I don’t know. I don’t know you.)
Littleneck: 288 3rd Avenue, Gowanus
2) Oh, and While We’re On the Subject: Is summer about eating? Sure, why not, insofar as summer is about anything other than embracing the not washing or brushing or doing anything to your hair look because suddenly your hair will look better than it ever has and you will have done nothing to achieve the look—like you did literally nothing, not even wash it or brush it—so it’s even better. And then you wash it because a bird shits in it and you have to start all over. Anyway! Summer food. Here’s what else you should be eating besides just that clam roll. Lobster rolls. Corn. Ice cream. Repeat.
3) Go to a Baseball Game: I don’t know if you like baseball and I don’t really care. Going to a baseball game doesn’t necessarily have a damned thing to do with liking the sport. It’s about being outside and drinking beer (see: summer activity #4) and that uncomfortable feeling when everyone stands up for the Star-Spangled Banner and you stay seated for too long and then finally stand but don’t put your hand over your heart (because, really?) and feel as awkward as you did when you recently attended an elementary school graduation and had to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance which is one of the creepiest things our children are taught to do in public school (line between church and state, what?). Anyway, the most important thing about this activity is not to spend too much money doing it. Go to the Brooklyn Cyclones, or go to the Staten Island Yankees, or go to the real Yankees and sit in the bleachers or even go to the Mets. But make sure to pay as little as possible for your tickets because where you sit doesn’t matter. Just, whatever you do, if you go to Yankee Stadium, get the meatball sandwich from the Parm stand. It’s so, so good.
4) Drink a Lime-A-Rita: I used to be a drink snob. Ok, I’m still a drink snob. But also: I love a Lime-A-Rita. Is this beer-margarita hybrid totally trashy and borderline embarrassing to be seen with? Why, yes! Yes, it is. But you know what else is totally trashy? Summer. And that’s honestly the season’s most likable quality. Plus, Lime-A-Rita’s have an 8 percent ABV, so any shame inherent to drinking one will disappear soon enough, along with most of your inhibitions.
5) Read Some Books: You know a good way to feel superior to everyone whose Instagram feeds are full of photos from Amagansett or Acadia or Austin? Tell them about all the books you read. Because, sure, some people might have been expanding their horizons literally, but you still have time to expand yours figuratively. And since you only have a week to cram in all that reading, might I suggest the following slim, but thought-provoking, conversation-starting volumes: The Beautiful Bureaucrat by Helen Phillips, Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, A Sport and a Pastime by James Salter, The Folded Clock: A Diary by Heidi Julavits, The Lost Daughter by Elena Ferrante, and, ok, well, this is not so slim but is so compulsively readable that you’ll get through it in a night if you’re anything like me, Infinite Home by Kathleen Alcott.
6) Get High by the Beach: Ok, I don’t really care if you get high. But I do think you should go to the beach. I don’t care if you hate the sand and I don’t care if you’re not an ocean person. You need to go to the beach if only for the experience of having the heat envelop you entirely (it’s going to be in the 90s all week… summer is here FOREVER) while listening to Lana del Rey sing about sinking into the sand.
7) Pick Your Own Song of the Summer: So, speaking of “High by the Beach,” did we even have a real Song of the Summer this year? Was it “Can’t Feel My Face”? I mean, maybe? I don’t know, because I am firmly a believer in picking your own Song of the Summer and just telling everyone and anyone who asks that it is THE Song of the Summer. Nobody will question you because, frankly, who even cares? Anyway. My Song of the Summer is actually two different songs: The aforementioned “High on the Beach” (which will also serve double-duty as my Song of the Fall… and every other season) and Post Malone’s “White Iverson” even though he spelled my name wrong. Nothing’s perfect. But that song is close.
8) Recreate Last Week’s Adrian Tomine New Yorker Cover: Titled “Gowanus Canal, Brooklyn,” this cover is supposed to be a provocative juxtaposition of industrial Brooklyn and its hipster kale-eating counterpart. So, ok. But also, it might just be nice reminder for you to head over to Whole Foods and treat yourself to some nice cheese and bread and maybe a LaCroix (pamplemousse, naturally) and look out at the rapidly changing terroir of this latest Brooklyn foodie hub. And pause for a moment to breathe in the infamous Gowanus stink, and marvel at the fact that this is one neighborhood in New York that is consistently smelly no matter what the temperature.
9) Mini-Road Trip: I mean, let’s be real here—it’s time to get the fuck out of Dodge. If you really want to do summer right, well, first of all, you certainly waited long enough, now didn’t you? But also, you need to leave this city, if only for a day. The good news is, you don’t have to go far. You don’t even have to technically, you know, leave the city. Just grab a Zipcar for the day and head up to Wave Hill in the Bronx, where the gorgeous gardens and more than century-old structures will allow you to both feel like you’ve made a great escape, while also taking enviable Instagram photos. Win-win.
10) Get Naked in Public: Now that de Blasio’s unleashed the morality police on the topless women of Times Square it’s time to say goodbye to this city and head to someplace where you can free the nipple. And where is that magical place? New Jersey, of course. Hop the SeaStreak Ferry to Gunnison Beach on the northern Jersey Shore and prepare to spend a very relaxing day sans clothes. This might just be the last chance you’ll get for another nine months to comfortably bare all without feeling a chill. So take this opportunity while you still can.
11) Go on a Boat: It doesn’t matter if it’s the SeaStreak to a nude beach or the Staten Island Ferry to, well, Staten Island, but you should definitely go on a boat this week. Why? Well, simply because we live on a fucking island here, there’s no getting around that, and it’s important to occasionally commune with our natural environment, and that includes our waterways. (Because, seriously, our parks? Are fine and all, but they’re as “natural” as Donald Trump’s hair, they’re just better tended.) So get on a boat and get destabilized in that very specific, boat-driven way. Just, uh, don’t start shouting “I’m on a boat” because it’s important to maintain your dignity while communing with nature lest nature—and literally everyone around you—lose all respect for you entirely.
12) Go Spend Way Less Than $100 in the Rockaways: One of my least favorite things I read all summer was Ginia Bellafante’s Times piece about dropping $100 on a day in the Rockaways. It’s just that it’s… kind of bullshit, you know? Like, I get it: It’s ironic how a beach that has long been traditionally working class now has all the trappings of bourgeois Brooklyn c. 2015 available for a price. And, ha ha, even taking the ferry for one day of recreation there will set you back the cost of a weekly MetroCard. (Not that anyone buys weeklies, right? Who buys weeklies??) But also: The Rockaways are great even if you can’t afford the ferry. Take the subway, it’s really not that bad. Or ride a bike, also not that bad! And eat till your stomach feels like it’s going to burst at Chicks to Go, which has the best damned rotisserie chicken in probably the world, but definitely New York City. And it won’t set you back anywhere close to $100. Or even $20.
Chicks to Go: 97-02 Rockaway Beach Boulevard, Queens
13) Spend at Least One Solid Afternoon Inside a Movie Theatre: Summer blockbuster season is officially over, but we haven’t fully swung into fall awards-bait season yet, so now is the perfect time to watch rep films or high-quality indies or The Black Panthers: Vanguard of a Revolution. The point is less what you watch and more the fact that you are hunkered down in a cold dark place (ideally with salty popcorn and a frosty root beer in hand) while it’s hot and bright outside. So, no, I don’t really care what you watch, just watch something. Anything.
14) But Also, Watch Queen of Earth: This is not a summer film in any traditional sense EXCEPT that it is about people’s unhappiness in their undeniably pleasant surroundings, which, ha, hello, that is basically the story of almost everyone in New York City every summer, including—especially—me. So, for that reason alone, watch it. But also watch it if you have any summer house-envy, because this will nip THAT right in the bud. Spoiler: Having a summer house—or even an open invite to a friend’s summer house—will solve exactly none of your existential problems. Sorry.
15) Jump in a Lake: After you watch Queen of Earth, you’re going to want to do a few things—force everyone you know to watch it so that you can talk about it, marvel at the brilliance of Teddy Blanks’s typography in the closing credits, think about what a national treasure Elisabeth Moss is—but perhaps chief among them will be to jump in a lake. This shouldn’t be the Lake in Prospect Park. Go upstate. You have to go upstate. Maybe stay at the Spruceton Inn, run by two ex-Brooklynites, and not only eminently affordable, but also centrally located in the Catskills, which is home to many, many rivers, swimming holes, and, yes, lakes. GO UP THERE AND JUMP IN ONE, WE BEG YOU. You’ll be happy you did.
16) Go a Little Crazy: Uh, I guess this isn’t mandatory? But summertime madness is a pretty important part of the seasonal experience, I really think. It would be a good idea to let out everything that you’ve kept pent up inside you all summer. Maybe release is as simple as letting out a primal scream into the still-hot night air. Or maybe what you should do is go—on the hottest day of the week—to a hot power yoga class and sweat out everything that’s bothering you and focus on nothing other than the way your muscles move together and feel yourself open up in a more expansive way than you’d even thought possible and power through your stinging eyes as sweat mingles with tears and you think you can’t push yourself any farther but you do until you just collapse into corpse pose and finally feel free. And sane. Finally.
Tangerine Hot Power Yoga: 225 Schermerhorn Street, Boerum Hill
17) Cloud-Gaze: I dunno. It seems like a fun thing to do in the last week of summer, right? Right. You never know what you might see.
Follow Kristin Iversen on twitter @kmiversen