NEW YORK CITY — For Kim, a 23-year-old finance industry worker who lives Downtown, summertime is the easiest season for flirting.
Her signature move, which she claims never fails, is a gentle touch on a man's arm. Flirting works best when there's skin-on-skin contact, she said.
"The guy is probably wearing a T-shirt so it's a warmer touch," said Kim, who declined to give her last name. "It seems like it is more personable."
It's no coincidence that dating experts have dubbed summer "the flirting season." New Yorkers are more relaxed, have more time off work, and aren't afraid to show a lot more skin.
"[The] thing that makes summer dating so much easier is you get to see the goods — everyone is walking around with a little bit less clothing," said Tracey Steinberg, a New York-based "dateologist."
"Men get to see legs and women get to see men's guns."
And a little accidental wardrobe malfunction can go a long way.
"If someone is wearing something that is off the shoulder and if it falls off — I'm not talking about having your boobs out — don't put it back up," Steinberg said.
Using her bachelor's degree in psychology, the happily married Steinberg regularly holds flirting parties for women who need a little guidance in the playful department. At the $95 per person workshops, Steinberg takes small groups of women to a bar to coach their flirting skills to oblivious men.
"Play with your hair. You can touch your knee because your legs are bare," she said. "It makes men think about putting their hand there instead of yours."
But dating coach Chris Luna from Craft of Charisma said sometimes too much skin can backfire.
"You will attract a certain type of guy," said Luna. "Some guys won't talk to you because you are out of their comfort zone."
He added that the summertime spike in flirtation is more than superficial — it's basic evolution.
"When you are freezing and walking down the street [in winter] that is all you can think about — survival," he said. "When it is cold, people are more distant and trying to survive."
When the warmer months come, the human instinct shifts from survival to fun, he said.
"When the weather heats up, people are more active," said Luna, 31. "It will trigger a biological response that will put dating, sex and relationships on peoples' mind."
The hot weather also opens up a host of potential meeting sites after a winter spent being cooped up indoors.
Steinberg rattled of a list of outdoor summer hotspots, such as Central Park or the many outdoor bars like Bryant Park Cafe and the Boat Basin on West 79th Street, that create the perfect atmosphere for a night of flirting.
Madeline Guidry, 21, who recently visited New York from Louisiana, said choosing the right location can bring added confidence when it comes to approaching guys.
When she's not in a place she feels comfortable about, "I feel under pressure and I can't be myself," she said.
Danielle, 33, an East Village resident who works in the fashion industry, said the best way to a man's heart is to laugh at his jokes.
"If they can make a girl laugh, it's golden," she said. And even if they are not funny, laugh anyway "because guys love to be funny."
She added that she never wastes her time flirting with a man who hasn't already checked her out.
"They are probably interested in your friend," she said. "Everyone has different tastes."
When all else fails, a teasing touch from a woman to a man can jumpstart the interaction, according to Luna.
"If a man is talking to a woman and she starts to touch him, literally his brain turns off," he said. While previously he might have thought in more platonic terms about her, post-touch this view could be very different.
Still, Grace Valastro, 21, said being too forward with your flirting can kill the vibe.
"If you think someone is cute, don't let them know," said Valastro, who is studying in New York for the summer. She prefers the dance floor as an ideal gateway to enter a flirting exchange.
"Dancing can go along way," she said, because the situation makes a playful touch appropriate, and people are on their feet and having fun.
And when it comes to a night of summer fun and flirting, motivation is everything.
"Flirting is the outward expression of feeling playful," said Steinberg, who uses adjectives such as "light and breezy" to describe the art.
"The essence of flirting is enjoying yourself and the person you are flirting with," Steinberg said, adding that a playful summer vibe creates a relaxed mindset, which is "conducive to going out and meeting someone new."
Ideal Flirting Locations From Dating Experts
The entire park is a destination for fun in the summer, according to Steinberg, who lives on the Upper West Side. Here you are likely to find relaxed people who won't mind a playful social interaction.
Bryant Park Café, 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue
Make the most of this extension of the Bryant Park Grill that is only open from mid-April to November on the locations upper level. There you will find a flirtatious and well dressed after work crowd from Midtown East.
The Boat Basin, Hudson River at West 79th Street
With festive lights strung from the ceiling and yachts moored on the river, flirters will fast forget the cares of the work week. The relaxed atmosphere creates a climate "for meeting someone new," according to Steinberg.
The Frying Pan, West Side Highway at West 26th Street
Technically you are stepping off Manhattan when you pay a visit to this seasonal boat bar moored at Pier 66 on the Hudson River. "Open air, on the water, cheap drinks, a lot of people" is perfect for a night on the prowl, according to Luna.
The Standard Biergarten, base of the Standard Hotel at Washington and West 13th streets
The outdoor space is ideal for fun with plenty of beer and even tables for a flirtatious game of ping-pong, according to Luna.
Beekman's Beer Garden, South Street Seaport at Pearl and John streets
Complete with sand covered decks and fire pits overlooking the East River, this beer garden is a good recipe for a night of flirting, according to Luna. Break up a night of gazing at city lights with a relaxed game of pool.