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An Incomplete Rating of A New York City Summer

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The glorious Central Park summer day. Image courtesy of this site

This is exactly what the title says it is. Regardless of your own personal preferences, most people have a strong opinion one way or another about New York City during the summer. Some people love it, while others can’t wait to get the hell out. This is an incomplete assessment of those individual things that make summer in NYC what it is.

1.) Nearly naked people

You get all kinds of nudity during the NYC summer. The women on the right are attending the annual “NYC Go Topless Pride Parade.

The most exciting ritual of living in a place with actual seasons is the act of digging up the clothes you haven’t gotten to wear in 9 months. It’s the closest I will ever get to the experience of coming home from the hospital after carrying a baby to term and giving birth. And when summer arrives in New York, what that means is that almost everyone is wearing as little clothing as possible.

Men. Women. Children. The elderly. Skin everywhere. It’s glorious.

You get to see everyone’s questionable tattoos. People flaunt their crusty toes without a care in the world. Excessive body hair goes unchecked. Beautiful people pull this off exceptionally well (like they do most things), but summer is a time for everyone to flaunt their stuff, regardless of how questionable that decision may be. This would earn a perfect score, but more skin means a higher chance of sunburn, and that’s not good for anyone. I give this a 4/5 rating.

2.) Guys that leave their house without a shirt

Even entitled celebrities get in on this. Picture via this site.

There is a heavily populated jogging and bike path near my apartment. Sometimes, when I’m feeling particularly spry, I will grab a sandwich and go eat it on one of the benches that line the path. This allows me to do my two favorite things simultaneously: people watch and be a glutton at the same. But I have noticed an unsettling trend occurring as things have heated up: shirtless dudes who never had a shirt to begin with. I never noticed it before, but now it’s all I think about. It’s easy to spot them because they aren’t wearing a shirt and also they don’t have a shirt at all. What if it starts raining, dipshits? What if you want to go into a business? What if somebody says “cover up them titties!”? What a fool you would be.

Hey bra, what if it rains?

Remember the last paragraph, when I was talking about how great skin is during the summer? These jabronies are the unfortunate exception that rule. Aside from the fact that it’s inherently problematic that men are allowed to walk around shirtless while women still get harassed for things like breastfeeding, you are basically announcing to everyone that you think you are above the law. Even if it’s the lamest and least important law in our entire society. Only points awarded to these guys are the ones who did leave the house with a shirt on, but then saw a litter of stray kittens and popped that shirt off to make them a cozy little bed before continuing their jog. Those guys are fine, I guess, but I bet that doesn’t even really happen all that often. I give this a 1/5 rating.

3.) Critters

With the increase in temperature comes an increase in the notorious NYC critters, namely cockroaches and mosquitos. What you might not know, however, is how essential roaches and skeeters are to human survival. Cockroaches trap loads of nitrogen by feasting on rotting organic matter and then releasing it into soil, which is used by plants to create oxygen. Next time you see a roach, why don’t you thank it for the air you breathe, you ungrateful little snot. Mosquitos play their part too. They are a vital source of food for larger, less bitey creatures like birds and frogs, which many ecosystems depend on. Here’s something else you might not know: I don’t give a shit about any of that. Critters of all shapes and sizes are assholes with boundary issues and, as far as I’m concerned, they can all rot in hell. I give them all a 0/5 rating.

4.) Humidity

Even Monica Geller-Bing wasn’t immune. Courtesy NBC.

I’ve already written extensively about New York’s Humidity. The TLDR version: Highly underrated. Don’t believe me? Educate yourself, sucka. I give the humidity a 5/5 rating.

5.) Air Conditioning

This is an accurate depiction. Art via this site

While I’m on the subject of controversial opinions, I might as well tell you that air conditioning is not all it’s cracked up to be. I wouldn’t dare live without it, of course, but that doesn’t mean it’s perfect. At best, it cools off a room while simultaneously sucking out any moisture in the air. At worst, it is loud and always turned up too high and dripping gross condensation on poor unsuspecting citizens outside. Sure it feels nice, any relief from the heat does, but there can be too much of a good thing; for example, how every business and train in the city are chilled to sub zero temperature for no apparent reason whatsoever. It’s nice at first until you realize you’ve been given the choice between the surface of the sun and a meat locker. I give it a 3/5 rating.

6.) The Subway Sauna

This is real in NYC and apparently also in Paris. Image via this site

Take the normal inconsistency of NYC public transportation, and add the aforementioned air conditioning overload to the fact that a subway platform during the summer is like having a plastic bag filled with hot soup wrapped around your head until you’re seconds from passing out. Then factor in the horrible summer repair schedule affecting trains all over the city. What do you get? Your only option: Feeling like a plastic bag filled with hot soup is wrapped around your head. This get’s a rating of 1/5.

7.) Busted Open Fire Hydrants

The joy is real. Pic via this site

When I first moved to New York I honestly didn’t even realize this was a real thing. The first time I saw that water stream across the sun cooked pavement I audibly gasped. It was like un-finding out that Santa isn’t real. And then, the Californian in me thought “Oh no! That water! We need that water!” But after living in New York I realized that no, we don’t need that water at all. Some type of precipitation falls from the sky seemingly every week, regardless of temperature. If anything, we need to waste this water, and these joyous youths dancing through the freshly dampened streets are the heroes we need. This is wonderful and I give it a rating of 5/5.

8.) Ice Cream

Crowds line up for some “Big Gay Ice Cream”. Image via this site.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret: Ice cream is always good. It doesn’t matter what temperature it is outside, or if it’s soft serve or gelato, or if it’s three dollars from a truck or ten dollars from some artisanal shop with flavors like Cracked-Pepper Guava or Rose. That’s what makes this such a hard one to rate. Because ice cream is always good (have I mentioned when ice cream is good?)

Summer time means it’s more available. Ice cream trucks are more present throughout the city and the dudes that roam prospect park with their carts and bells come out of the woodwork. It is, obviously, an undeniable way to beat the heat. Unfortunately, summer also means the arrival of fair weather ice cream fans. Those posers looking for nothing more than some cheap relief and some easy Instagram fodder. The crowds of yokels grow and it becomes harder to enjoy the act of eating ice cream. It does not, however, take much to enjoy because ice cream is: *cups hand to ear towards studio audience who all respond in unison “always good!” I give this a 4/5 rating


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Jesse McGrath

Jesse McGrath

Jesse McGrath is a writer, comedian, educator and all-around sweetheart. Born and raised in the Bay Area and educated at San Francisco State, he recently migrated out east to Brooklyn. English teacher during the day, full-time delinquent every time else.