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Summer’s Last Hurrah: No Plans Yet? Here’s a few suggestions…

Don Adkins, Managing Editor, with Contributing Writers: Caitlin Leonard, Joanne Lessner and Danielle Zickl, August 31, 2016

Labor Day has its beginnings dating back to the 1880’s, and by 1894 it was an official U.S. Federal Holiday set aside to celebrate “the contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of the country.”  Its true meaning becoming diluted over the years, fast-forwarding to the present where it’s regarded as “the last weekend of summer” (even though the calendar says September 21st).  Be that as it may, our collective consciousness seems to cry out “what am I going to do with three days off from work?”

Many people make elaborate plans ensuring they are beach-side enjoying those last days of warmth, while others consider a picnic and engaging in a few outdoor activities (softball, badminton, croquet or throwing a frisbee with their dog), as celebratory as it gets.  If you’re still on the fence, here are a few last-minute suggestions to aid you in your decision-making process.

Going Out of Town:

It’s pretty tough to get a reservation for lodging and/or rental cars at this late date, but there’s always the possibility of cancellations, so look into these options if you think you have the wherewithal.  Popular spots nearby are New Hope, Pennsylvania, subject of a ZEALnyc feature. Also popular is Cape May, NJ, along with all the beach towns that dot the Jersey shore.  If Long Island is on your radar, then you’ll be considering the Hamptons, or Montauk, located at the tip of Long Island, as well as any of the smaller towns along the North Shore.

If you are game for even more adventure, look north to Canada, featured in two of our previous features about Prince Edward Island and the Charlottetown Festival, which boasts the Anne of Green Gables house, or perhaps a trip to the Stratford Festival, just outside Toronto, where Shakespeare and theater reign supreme.

If you’re looking to stay closer to home but still wanting to attend some performances, consider heading to Lenox, Massachusetts for the final weekend of the Tanglewood Festival.  While it doesn’t look like the famous jazz festival will be happening this year, there are still a few concerts to take advantage of, including the Boston Pops with the B-52’s on September 2nd.

Staying in Town:

Some NYers actually enjoy the peace and quiet that a holiday weekend brings. Other than the hustle and bustle that is always present in Times Square, most other neighborhoods become almost “Mayberry-like” in their pace, taking on a completely laid-back feel — you’re finally able to get into that perpetually booked restaurant, movie theaters are less crowded, and it’s just easier maneuvering around the city.

If you’re looking to be outdoors, our picks include the Best Places to Enjoy Nature in NYC, with information on The Hills at Governors Island.  Out-of-town guests for the weekend? ZEALnyc has you covered with The Top 5 Tourist Destinations Native New Yorkers Should Experience. For a local beach AND amusement park experience, I hate to say it, but nothing beats Coney Island.  It has surf, sand, rides, cotton candy and the original Nathan’s Hot Dog stand—what more could you ask for?

For a taste of culture, the Metropolitan Opera is hosting a festival of HD performances previously broadcast in movie theaters.  These free screenings take place each evening through Labor Day in the main plaza.  Chairs are provided on a first-come, first-served basis, so plan to get there early if you want a seat. Also, the Metropolitan Museum of Art will be open until midnight on Friday and Saturday evenings this weekend to accommodate the crowds to see the Costume Institute’s exhibit Manus X Machina before it closes (late hours for this exhibit only).

Finally, if you decide to stay in town, you know you’re going to want a special treat, so check out ZEALnyc‘s ‘We All Scream for Ice Cream‘ highlighting places to enjoy ice cream and/or frozen concoctions throughout the city, some of which may lead you to new, unexplored neighborhoods. That’s the joy of being here on a quiet holiday weekend — the chance to explore and feel like a tourist in your own city.  So go have your last summer hurrah, courtesy of ZEALnyc!


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