Usually I wake up in a mess. In the summer, it's even messier. This summer is strange though. It's not super hot yet and it's already June. I can feel the heat slowly creeping it's way into the city. I see people in shorts and tank tops. I see people eating frozen yogurt and kids running around with ice cream dripping on their legs and bare feet. The dog walkers are coming out at noon, people are getting invites to rooftop parties, kids and parents are eating frozen yogurt outside, and in the small neighborhoods mothers are hanging wet clothes on clothing lines through their small kitchen windows.
But that's not summer in New York.
Summer in the city is different.
I think about the fire hydrants on the sidewalks being let open and water spurting out in a frenzy so the kids can cool off with water. I'm thinking about the random thunderstorms we would get in July -- people running to hide under store awnings. There is the slight coolness and sometimes hot waves down in the subway. Sometimes it would get too crowded and people patiently wait for the cool air conditioning made it's way to us. Bars are in high demand. The night rush at the High Line, and even the amount of people out at 3 AM is surprising. Let's not forget about the city parks -- teenagers have their basketballs so they can hang out until the park closes at 9. In Brooklyn and Queens, the barbecues are non-stop. Every time you walk past a house, you'd get the smell of burning charcoal and that's when you know summer is here.
My summers growing up were different. My father would take us to the library and we'd rush inside the small store and pick out picture books and maybe some mystery ones too. I remember the days we would go to Coney Island. The bathrooms were crowded and the boardwalk was filled with all different types of people. The best part was smelling the salty sea, running around in the sand, and eating fried food. We had mostly barbecues in my family. Food was such a big part of summer and we'd had such a small backyard there wasn't room for the family. My cousin would put out this small grill and we'd only grill some chicken. I remember staying out in the backyard until late at night and the slugs would come out to play. My little fingers would point to it and stare at it for hours.
Those summers are over and it's time to create new ones. I think some people don't bother leaving the city, but I think it's good to get out of the congested heat. Take a road trip, stay in a bed and breakfast, and explore the places that surround the big city we live in.