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18 Things for You To Do When Everyone's Left the City in the Summer

By DNAinfo Staff | July 22, 2015 7:35am 

NEW YORK CITY — When the warm weather draws so many people out of the city, it's a great opportunity to take advantage of those normally overrun spots (such as Bed Bath & Beyond or the entirety of SoHo).

DNAinfo's neighborhood reporters share with you their favorite things to do when the neighborhood gets a little less crowded in the summer.

Go to a Mets game during the day

The average attendance at Citi Field this season is 29,284, according to Major League Baseball. With a stadium capacity of 45,000, you'll have plenty of room to stretch out watching the Mets — currently two games behind the first-place Nationals — and eating your way through the ballpark. If you manage to get to a day game during the week, like when they play the Padres July 30, you'll have even more room to hang out.

Eat and Drink at Smith Street Hot Spots in Boerum Hill and Carroll Gardens

An empty neighborhood could mean finally checking out some local hot spots that are usually jam-packed with long waiting times. That could include Leyenda, at 221 Smith St., a new cocktail bar from the team behind Clover Club. Other popular eateries include June Wine Bar, which serves a sizable selection of natural wines or Battersby, the tiny critically acclaimed restaurant from chefs Walker Stern and Joseph Ogrodnek.

Take advantage of the short lines at Bed Bath and Beyond

By now the scramble to get a summer air conditioner is over — though there are always latecomers who find themselves desperate during a heat wave — as is the initial frenzy to buy barbecue and picnic supplies. This is the sweet spot just before the "back to school" push and the hordes of teens shopping for dorm room essentials before they ship out. Get that Brita water filter or the new duvet cover you've been wanting now while the lines are manageable.

Sample Chuko Ramen, FINALLY

In winter, the line is out the door and around the corner for Chuko Ramen's steaming bowls of noodles and soup, but in the summer months, steamy weather outside shrinks the wait to 10 or 15 minutes instead of an hour. Take advantage of the lull to try out the popular Prospect Heights spot where, on a recent weekday night, only two people waited outside the cozy Vanderbilt Avenue restaurant instead of the usual crowd.

Check out Metropolitan Avenue between Union Turnpike and Continental Avenue in Forest Hills

Stroll along Metropolitan Avenue, which offers a slew of great summery spots. Grab an ice cream at Eddie’s Sweet Shop, at 105-29 Metropolitan Ave., one of the oldest ice cream parlors in the city or sip a refreshing tiki drink at End of the Century Bar at 104-08 Metropolitan Ave. The stretch also boasts several popular restaurants, which may be less crowded in the summertime, like Michelin starred Danny Brown Wine Bar & Kitchen. Neighborhood movie theater Cinemart Cinemas, at 106-03 Metropolitan Ave., which screens both first-run and art films also features an outdoor cafe.

Check out the Museum of the Moving Image

During the summer, many Astorians flock to the famed Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden or the Olympic-sized pool at Astoria Park. So why not escape the outdoor crowds — and the heat — by heading to the air-conditioned galleries of one of the neighborhood's favorite museums? You'll also be able to catch its current "Mad Men" exhibit, which has been extended until Sept. 6.

Avoid the lines at the much-hyped Rockaway restaurants

After Rockaway Taco's chef, Andrew Field, left his Beach 96th Street outpost to whip up his famed fish tacos at the nearby Rockaway Beach Surf Club, he didn't just bring the tilapia with him. Those long lines for tacos and elote followed him, too. But if you visit the new Tacoway Beach during the week, you can avoid the long wait. Eat a taco, drink some beers and enjoy a nearly empty backyard bar as the A Train rides above you.

Visit the New York Botanical Garden

The New York Botanical Garden is one of the most picturesque spots in The Bronx, and it's much easier to enjoy when you can focus on the plants instead of the people. Summertime visitors can also take advantage of the venue's Frida Kahlo exhibit, which runs from May 16 to Nov. 1.

Take advantage of East Harlem's Museum Mile (Fifth Avenue between 103rd and 105th streets)

El Museo Del Barrio and the Museum of the City of New York both offer discounts to NYC Municipal ID holders. With local crowds gone, there should be more room to enjoy some of the summer exhibits. Additionally both museums offer free nights of entertainment called "Uptown Bounce," which feature live music, food trucks, and special exhibits.

Go for a dip in Kosciuszko Pool in Bed-Stuy

As your neighbors head out to nearby beaches, cool down at Bed-Stuy’s Kosciuszko Pool. Located at Marcy Avenue, there’s plenty of room to take a dip, either in the Olympic-size pool or smaller wading pool. Hours are from 11 a.m. through 7 p.m.

Shop in SoHo, west of Broadway

Stroll the streets of SoHo on summer weekends when it seems like the rest of the city has fled to the Hamptons. Broadway is pretty much always a madhouse, but the sidestreets to the west, typically clogged with frustrating slow-walkers, are pleasantly empty in the summertime.

Hibernate at Sunshine Cinema

For a laid-back afternoon, catch the latest indie flick or documentary at Sunshine Cinema on the Lower East Side. Afterwards, head to a neighborhood restaurant and enjoy the extra elbow room — locals say it’s much easier to get a seat during the hottest months of the year.

Tour the Orchid House at Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Frequently mobbed during cherry blossom season in the spring, Brooklyn Botanic Garden is a great spot to visit in the dog days of summer. The warm, moist air of the Orchid House will provide little respite from the city's heat and humidity, but that means you'll probably encounter few crowds.

Hit Bloomingdale's

The summer offers a little respite to those who usually avoid Bloomingdale's crowds. The store is less crowded and frantic since the neighborhood is quieter. It's easier to shop and try on clothes.

Indulge in treats from Shake Shack and Levain Bakery on the Upper West Side

During the spring and fall, the lines for these two tourist hot spots jam the narrow sidewalks, but when the city clears out at the height of summer, locals stand a chance again. Grab two Levain cookies and take them home to make an outrageously good ice cream sandwich, or find a quiet bench to savor yours and enjoy the relative peace. If you really want to indulge, pair your enormous cookie with a burger from Shake Shack, best devoured in nearby Central Park.

► Get dinner at Al Di La

Your chances of getting a table at this Park Slope institution without a lengthy wait go up substantially during the summer when many families leave town.

Explore Fort Wadsworth

While Staten Islanders head to the Jersey Shore or South Beach on the weekends, take a trip to Fort Wadsworth instead. The national park has historic military structures, camping, biking and unbeatable views of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.

Enjoy some jazz at the 92 Street YMCA

The 92Y has many programs throughout the year but its Jazz in July Festival is an easy way to get your fill of live music on weeknights after work. Listen to hits by Sinatra, Duke Ellington and others performed by six ensembles. The festival is July 21 through July 30 at 8 p.m. each night. Single tickets from $52.