Exploring the Big Apple on the longest day of the year
Among other wonders, New York City is known for the mind-bending, colorful billboards and illuminated LED screens in Times Square. However, during this year’s summer solstice, the concrete jungle will be powered by a different kind of light as the sun shines down on the city for 15 hours straight.
This June 21, savor the solstice sunlight and revel in the first day of summer in New York City with our selection of activities:
Brooklyn Bridge: It may feel like time stands still on this day as the sun shimmers for an impressive 15 hours, 5 minutes, and 39 seconds. Bask in this phenomenal event and soak up every second of the sun’s rays when you catch the sunrise from one of the city’s most beloved icons, the Brooklyn Bridge. Arrive by 5:25 a.m., to catch the first official rays of summer from the bridge.
Central Park: Before the city starts to stir, before the sweltering summer heat settles in, early morning is the best time to experience Central Park. Pick up a strong cup o’ Joe and a famous New York-style bagel during your stroll to Central Park. Two NYC bagel institutions are located just off the west side of the park: Absolute Bagels on Broadway and Barney Greengrass on Amsterdam. Both serve up some of the most beloved bagels in all of NYC. Perfectly crisped and chewy to boot, these bagels are the best way start to your longest day in the city.
Citi Bike: Skip the yellow taxis and crowded Subway trains and cycle through the city instead. There are 330 Citi Bike docking stations scattered around NYC; each offers the option of renting a bike for the day or for the week. This convenient bike-sharing system invites you to explore the cityscape on two wheels from the Hudson River Greenway to the Bronx River Path. Two other great itineraries are to cruise around Governors island for a car-free refuge from honking horns, or to hit the trails between Carroll Gardens and Coney Island.
Make Music New York: Starting at 11 a.m., you may be walking to a different tune as the Make Music New York musicians take the city by storm. For the eighth year in a row, more than 1,000 free concerts will take place all around NYC on the first day of summer. Brass musicians and percussionists looking to get in on the fun can join acclaimed band Red Baraat on the steps of the Brooklyn Public Library for “100+BPM,” an interactive performance commissioned by NPR Music.
Viewfinder Tip: This summer solstice, the New York Yankees are stepping up to bat against the Baltimore Orioles. The baseball game starts at 1:05 p.m. at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx.
NYC Craft Beer Festival: Too much summer sun already? Cool down with a cold one at the NYC Craft Beer Festival. This tasting event features nearly 75 craft breweries from all over the nation. Beer sampling session will be offered at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m.
Socrates’ solstice: After making some tipsy rounds at the tasting event, settle down and exercise your philosophical side at the Socrates Sculpture Park. This summer celebration begins at 5 p.m., and invites you to participate in art workshops, tap your feet to musical performances, and join in the solstice ritual led by Urban Shaman Mama Donna. Picnic as the sun starts to set over the city skyline and rejoice in the sweet summertime air.
Empire State Building: Alternatively, if you’d prefer to round out the first summer day independent of a group, get into an Empire state of mind and relish in the solstice sunset from 1,250 feet in the sky instead. Make the ascent up to the observation deck of the Empire State Building for a spectacular view of the entire cityscape, then bid adieu to the final moments of the longest day of the year at 8:31 p.m.
Chocolate Bar: Finally, sweeten up the remaining hours of the summer solstice with confection perfection at Chocolate Bar. Chocoholics and dessert devotees will find that this candy boutique rivals some of the trendiest cocktail bars in town. Be sure to indulge in spiced milk chocolate with chipotle chile and dark chocolate minty suckers; they are the perfect end to an otherwise perfect evening.
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