Wednesday, May 25, 2016

5 AWESOME WAYS TO ENJOY MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND IN NYC


{ This post is basically all things you should do in addition to a stop at Grand Banks, above. }

I am almost unfailingly without plans each year on Memorial Day weekend. I feel like it usually sneaks up out of nowhere—suddenly it's the end of May and summer is "starting" and everyone is going to The Hamptons and I'm... Chillin' in my apartment? Telling myself it's great because there won't be any waits for brunch? Kay.

Surprise to literally no one, this weekend is Memorial Day and I am going to be here in New York City. I have enough fun plans and travels sprinkled throughout the rest of the summer that I'm not too upset to be here this weekend (I promise, I'm fine). Additionally, a bunch of my friends will be here too—which is really all that matters, right?

On that note, what should we do with a three-day-weekend and an ambitious desire to make the most of it? Well, as I've written about before, it really is kind of great to be in the city during holiday and typical travel weekends. (Labor Day weekend guide, Thanksgiving weekend, parents-in-town guide.) Aside from brunch and other standard weekend fare, I am determined to infuse this long weekend with some special and memorable plans that will make it feel like more than just "that one time in May I didn't have to work on a Monday."

Ahead, I've laid out my five best Memorial Day weekend in NYC ideas. I also took the liberty of breaking them down into three levels of luxury, which may or may not align with how much said activity or adventure actually costs. That means that while it says I have five ideas, I really have 15! How generous am I!?

// CLICK THROUGH FOR YOUR #MDW OF DREAMS //



1. GET OUT ON THE WATER

Champagne Cocktail: The Honorable William Wall
Okay so this isn't the first time I've brought up this place, but once again I'd like to ask that even though you're reading about it here—don't tell anyone else. This is one of the best-kept summer activities in the whole damn city, and let's all just agree to keep it that way. Buy a ticket in advance here, show up at the dock in TriBeCa and then you will be whisked out to a barge in the middle of the harbor—a barge that is actually a floating, multi-story clubhouse with a full bar. Sunsets, breezes, boat races, and you can pack a picnic. See you there, yes?

Glass of Rosé: The Circle Line
I think I've told this story on the blog before, but one time a few years ago, a couple girlfriends and I decided on a whim to ride The Circle Line cruise around the island of Manhattan just for kicks. We brought a twist-top bottle of wine and commandeered some plastic cups. We sat in the back of the boat out in the open air, chatting, giggling and sort-of listening to the captain point out various landmarks. No, you're definitely not supposed to bring alcohol on these boats, but what's summer without taking a risk or two?

Can in a Bag: The Water Taxi 
Did you know that you can take a boat between 34th Street on the East side of Manhattan over to Queens and Brooklyn? And then you can take that same boat from Brooklyn to the Financial District and then walk to Walker's in TriBeCa and eat a delicious cheeseburger? Indeed, you can. If you're broke AF but still need to feel that wind in your hair, NYC Water Taxi is a suitable option.

*What to Wear: Something Eyelet
Anytime I'm doing something on or near the water the adjective I think of is "breezy." Right now, my favorite way to wear that adjective is with anything and everything eyelet. I'm particularly smitten with Madewell's off-the-shoulder eyelet blouse and these Gap shorts with a pretty scalloped hem.

2. HANG BY A POOL


Champagne Cocktail: A Staycation at The Parker Meridien
If you're feeling particularly indulgent and determined to have access to a body of water over MDW, why not book a staycation at The Parker Meridien? This luxe hotel pool boasts incredible views of Central Park and a tiered outdoor sundeck—so while I'd recommend spending as much of the weekend as possible wrapped in a white robe, you'll also be able to work on your tan, sip many cocktails and take a refreshing dip without ever having to put on shoes. (Day passes for this pool are available for $150—but like for that price why not just get a room and make a weekend of it, amiright?) *If you're looking for more NYC staycation ideas, check out my tips for doing so in Williamsburg, Soho and Midtown.

Glass of Rosé: McCarren Hotel and Pool
Checking out the McCarren Hotel and Pool is high on my to-do list this summer, mostly because of all the hotel pool day pass situations, this one seems like the most bang for your buck. It's $60/day on weekends ($45 on weekdays), and from what I hear the crowd is mostly fun and young. You can also reserve poolside beds, but they are muy pricey. (Check out Timeout New York for more hotel + pool situations.)

Can in a Bag: Chelsea Piers
Okay so actually, getting a Chelsea Piers Day Passport is probably the best use of your money. Along with access to the huge pool and sundeck that stretches out over the Hudson River, you can also hit up the gym, driving range and batting cages and/or go ice skating (Sure?)—all for $60. Alternately, you can take a risk and investigate the 2016 situation at Manhattan Park swim club. Last year this pool on Roosevelt Island was painted rainbow colors by the artist HotTea, and you could get access for about $35—and order Seamless to be delivered!

*What to Wear: A One Piece Swimsuit
To me there's something very cool and classy about a one piece swimsuit, and I know I'm not alone in that. They're having a serious renaissance right now—so much so that J.Crew even revived one of their classic scoopback cuts from the 1990s which I'm pretty into due to its simple design and vibrant range of colors.

3. HAVE A DECADENT PICNIC

Champagne Cocktail: A Private Residence
The true sign of a decadent, champagne-level picnic in New York City? Not doing it in public. (Privacy is the ultimate sign of luxury here, I'm pretty sure.) Tap into every friend you know who has a deck or rooftop access and organize a potluck situation. Or, cheat the "not going anywhere" idea and get on the Metro North to your local friend's parents' house in Bedford and veg out in the backyard. Their mom might even make a fruit salad.

Glass of Rosé: Governor's Island
One time I went on a first date (arranged via Tinder) on Governor's Island. Before you even think it, let me tell you that I am aware that this was an insane thing to agree to do with a stranger. I met the guy at the (free) ferry terminal with some agreed-upon picnic supplies, he brought the rest. Once on the island, we rented bikes and rode around for a while chatting and scouting picnic spots. It would have been a perfect day—lazing on a blanket under a shady tree, drinking wine, playing mini golf and riding the ferry home like that one scene in How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days—if this guy weren't a total goober. Point being: Do this with a person / people you like and you will be delighted, I guarantee it.

Can in a Bag: Central Park
I bet you already knew I was going to throw Central Park into the mix here, right? Well duh. Central Park is Manhattan's precious-but-sprawling jewel of a park, and as cliché as it might sound to locals, having a picnic up there really is a great way to spend an afternoon. My best advice? If you want to booze (again, duh) do not stage your al fresco feast in Sheep's Meadow. That's where everyone does it, and then gets a ticket. Find a quite knoll away from the crowds, put your drinks in Starbucks cups and don't forget to pack a frisbee. (Alternate locations for said low-key and potential literal #caninabag picnics include Prospect Park, Riverside Park and Hudson River Park.)

*What to Bring: A Stylish Beach Blanket
Everyone knows that the secret to a truly Instagram-able picnic is the perfect background. In this case, that means a fun, funky blanket or quilt of towels to set your spread upon. I'm currently obsessed with all those trendy circular towels (like this one from The Beach People).

4. GO TO A BAR WITH ACTIVITIES

Champagne Cocktail: The Met
The Roof Bar & Cafe at The Metropolitan Museum of Art is one of my favorite places in the whole city, which automatically qualifies it as one of my favorite places to drink, too. Couple an afternoon of epic art at The Met with a cocktail on the roof for the perfect cultural and boozy one-two punch.

Glass of Rosé: Royal Palms
Somehow, even a few years after it opened, I've managed not to hit up Royal Palms yet. However, I have it on the top of my list for this weekend since shuffleboard seems awesome and all anyone tells me is that this place is incredibly fun. 

Can in a Bag: The Gutter
If you like bowling and cheap pitchers of beer, this is your spot. I definitely love both, and The Gutter is a welcome throwback to the dirty, old school smoke-filled alleys where I used to bowl in high school. (I was on the team, okay?) It's a great option if it happens to rain this weekend, and you can fold it into a whole Williamsburg day with brunch at Allswell and summer jewelry shopping at Catbird. (If it is nice? Conclude your day with sunset rooftop drinks at The Ides at The Wythe!)

*What to Wear: Denim Shorts
Dresses and off-the-shoulder things are not right for a day of drinking and activities. Instead, bust out your favorite pair of denim shorts with a cool t-shirt or a tucked-in blouse. Rock your favorite flat sandals or sneakers too—these kinds of days, it's best to be ready for anything. 

5. SEE A MOVIE


{ Drinks at Syndicated }
Champagne Cocktail: Syndicated
The first time I heard about Syndicated it was the designated bar of choice for my friend Joseph's birthday. He gathered a small crowd to celebrate, have some drinks and watch the seminal 80s classic, Predator. You guys, this place is so rad. The theater is tiered booth-style seating with little tables, and waiters will bring you drinks and snacks throughout the movie. Tickets range from $3 to $5 per movie, which is great since the food and drinks can add up. This weekend's showings include Thelma & Louise and Pee Wee's Big Adventure—so like, just imagine watching either one while having a craft cocktail and eating $18 fried chicken or $6 popcorn with many different seasoning options. *Do note that this place is very close to Roberta's... Do with that information what you will.

Glass of Rosé: Outdoor Movies All Over Brooklyn
One time back when I was living in Seattle I went on a date to an outdoor movie with a guy that I really liked. I have no idea what movie we saw. However, I remember very vividly how fun and romantic it was to sprawl out on a blanket and some pillows in the soft grass and laze around in the summer air. If you want to get your romance on this weekend, check out the schedule of Movies Under The Stars happening all over Brooklyn. Or you know, just go with your friends and goof around and make fun of all the corny couples around you!

Can in a Bag: The AMC Theater at 84th Street on the Upper West Side
All you and I need to know about the AMC at 84th Street is that they have insane motorized recliner seats that you can reserve ahead of time. Sneak in a screw-top bottle of wine, plastic cups and some indulgent sandwiches from Zabar's and go see Neighbors 2.

*What to Wear: A Bralette
Nothing says "I came here to do nothing" like a bra that won't really let you do anything. Go head-to-toe comfortable for a movie day (or date) in a pretty and chill bralette, a soft cashmere sweater (it's always cold in theaters) and boyfriend jeans.

ANY OTHER AWESOME/SECRET NYC ACTIVITIES I SHOULD KNOW ABOUT? TELL ME!

Photo Credits: My Instagram (Are you not following? You totally should) and @Syndicatedbk

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