BY SHAQUILLA HARRIGAN
New York for the young and fun.
Age is usually nothing but a number. The Harvard bubble has reinforced this mantra given that our social scene isn’t dependent upon going off-campus to bars or clubs. However, after living in New York for the past month, I have come to find that my age separates me from fully getting to enjoy myself in New York. Being 20-1/2 years old in New York City can be a huge struggle — half the city seems to be cordoned off from me. During my first couple of weeks, anytime my co-workers or roommates wanted to go out, I didn’t know of any alternatives to to sitting at home and binge watching True Blood as they go to various bars and clubs across the city. I decided that enough was enough. I have made it incumbent upon myself to cast away my blankets, change out of my pajamas, and discover entertainment options for the under-21 crowd. While most venues in New York may cast me out after 8pm, I am pleased to present you with some of the places I’ve been or things I’ve done to explore the city. This is a small sampling of what New York has to offer the young at heart and young on paper. In the coming weeks, I hope to add to this list as I continue exploring New York.
1. Webster Hall: Located on 3rd Ave & 11th, this concert hall and nightclub opens its doors to everyone who is 19 years and older. The club features new EDM and Hip-Hop DJ’s every weekend making it a great place for those who want to dance the night away. Webster Hall has four different levels that offer club-goers six different clubbing experiences. Some of best places in the club include the basement typically which features underground or old-school hip hop, the main floor that hosts the latest hip hop hits, and the majestic upstairs concert hall is home to EDM, lights, joy, and jumping. Pro Tip: Ladies are free every Thursday night; cover: $15 in advance, $25 at the door
2. Bryant Park Monday Night Movies: Every Monday night Bryant Park and HBO hosts a classic movie night. The atmosphere is a wonderful way to spend the evening after a hard day at work. No need to worry about stocking up on dinner or snacks before you arrive because various food vendors are on-hand to provide moviegoers with food and libations. The movie usually starts at sunset, but in order to snag a good spot, you should come around 6. Pro-tip: Bring a beach towel or chair with you to work so you can picnic as soon as you get off.
3. Madison Square Park Concerts: Every Wednesday during the summer, Madison Square Park hosts a free outdoor concert featuring up and coming artists. Right off of the 23rd Street stop of the NQR, you can snag a spot under the trees and listen to the fun and upbeat music. This is also a great picnic opportunity, especially if you are interested in fine Italian foods. There is an Eataly gourmet Italian restaurant and grocery store 5 minutes away where you can procure delicious noms before the concert. Pro Tip: make sure you get up and dance!
4. Central Park Concerts: Besides being a wonderful getaway from the hustle of New York City life, Central Park hosts numerous events throughout the summer. My personal favorite is performances from the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. Bring your friends on either Monday or Friday evening to enjoy classical concert under the summer stars. Pack a nice picnic and be joined with hundreds of other New Yorkers and flitting lightening bugs to either kick off or close out a week in the concrete jungle.
5. Union Square Park: While Union Square (14th Street on the 4, 5, 6, N, Q, R, and L) is packed with possibilities for the 21 and older crowd, it can also appeal to the younger peeps as well. Grab a pint of ice cream from a near by grocery store and enjoy the multitude of street performances from breakdancing crews to even an odd interpretive dance numbers. You can also try your hand at chess or join in a game of double-dutch.
6. Washington Square Park: Every day, Washington Square Park has numerous activities going on. Some nights there are movies, others the park features yoga and tai chi classes. In addition, on any given evening, you can sit by the fountain and watch the various street performers break it down in the park. There are also impromptu concerts and art showcases. Washington Square Park is also a good place to take a nighttime stroll, especially under the arch dedicated to George Washington. Pro Tip: Check Washington Square Park’s events calendar to know exactly when certain events are happening.
7. The High Line: Located in the Meat Packing District, the High Line is an abandoned railroad turned urban escape. Walk up the stairs and earn yourself a beautiful view of the Hudson River and New York City skyline. The High line weaves through abandoned rail works and new skyscrapers. You can also enjoy the various art installments hidden within the gardens.
8. Coney Island: While Coney Island may not have the same appeal as it once did, I think everyone should get in touch with their inner Lana Del Rey and become Queens (and Kings) of Coney Island. While I am not a fan of roller coasters or other thrill rides, Coney Island does offer some of the most iconic rides around. I am looking forward to finally conquering my fear of heights by going on the Wonder Wheel Ferris wheel. For those not into sketchy amusement parks, I recommend going two stops away on the Q train to Ocean Parkway to get to Brighton Beach. This is a fun beach destination if you need a quick dip in salt water. Pro Tip: Go to Coney Island for the Mermaid Parade and the National Hot Dog eating Contest.
9. Metropolitan Museum Rooftop Garden: Mmm…why yes, I did visit the rooftop garden of the Met. If you would like to sound as pretentious as I just did, I highly recommend stopping by the Met (for obvious reasons) and then head up to the Rooftop Garden for a beautiful view of the Upper East Side.
I hope this list is helpful to all who are in New York for the summer. If you have additional suggestions please tweet me at @ShaqHarri or @HarvardIndy.
Shaquilla Harrigan ([email protected]) is 6 1/2 months from being able to see another side of New York.