Off the Beaten Path: Adventures in NYC

by Megan L. Wood

fishing boats (1)

Brought to you by Heineken.

In France, most of the country shuts down for the month of August as its citizens escape the heat and humidity for their annual beach vacations. In New York, most of us are lucky to have offices with air conditioning and a friend whose parents have a pool to visit on the weekends in Long Island. By the end of summer, we’re over the heat but still desperate to make the most of it before the leaves change. So what’s a jaded New Yorker to do this August other than marry a French person and adopt the best of their cultural norms? Here are some ideas for enjoying the city indoors and out:

Rooftop camping:

Do you love camping but hate the idea of schlepping upstate with all your gear? Is the roof of your building accessible? Is your landlord the absentee type? If the answer to all these questions is yes then pitch a tent on your roof and spend the night under the stars you can’t see because of light pollution. I thought I maybe invented this idea, but a quick Google search let me know that the New York Times was all over this concept last summer.

Nitehawk Cinema:

Movie theaters are obvious summer destinations because of the air conditioning and opportunity to sit in a darkened room for two hours without speaking. But sneaking in a beer isn’t as fun as a server bringing you one with an order of fish tacos, like they will at Nitehawk in Williamsburg. The theater shows new releases; cry it out with Boyhood, and curated series like naughty movies at midnight. If you love it there so much you can drink at the bar before and after films are shown.


This is one of the spendier items on the list, but wouldn’t it be fun to get away from your roommate for a long weekend and stay in a hotel? Split the cost with a friend at Aloft New York Brooklyn, which has available rooms in August for less than $200 a night. Crank up their air conditioning, bring your own booze, and swim in the pool with a retractable roof. Bonus: pets stay free. Double bonus, someone else will make your bed in the morning.


Because of gentrification, Gowanus is no longer just the above ground section of the G train. Royal Palms Shuffle Board is kind of a cool hang, and a definite upgrade from bowling because you can wear your own shoes. The courts are open on a first come first served basis. Reservations are available for groups of 10 or more. Check their calendar for rad events like food truck visits and 80s night. No one under 21 allowed means no strollers and you can swear to your heart’s content without getting any dirty looks from parents. Go to the nearby, newish Whole Foods for ginger shots afterwards.

Hotel pool:

Try to talk your way into SoHo House, get rejected but insist on using the restroom. There, you’ll find the I.D. card of a British woman whose identity you will temporarily steal — allowing you to bring your three best lady friends to the rooftop pool where you will discuss body hair until staff discovers that you are not actually British. Oh man, only do that if this was 2003 and both Sex and the City and SoHo House were still relevant. Otherwise, go to La Piscine at Hotel Americano, which is open to the public after six.

Fishing charter:

Sheepshead Bay in Brooklyn has a small harbor of seaworthy vessels that take groups of amateur fisherpeople out on the water near the tip of Coney Island. A friendly/brash crew provides fishing poles, bait, advice, and plenty of innuendo about poles. You can bring aboard all the Heineken and snacks you want. If flirting with the crew and catching rays is more your thing than reeling in fish, it’s your money and you can do what you want with your time. The crew will filet any caught fish that’s legal to keep and send it home for you to eat, but, um — I wouldn’t. Make reservations online or just roll up to the harbor before noon on a Saturday. Competition for passengers is fierce between the boats; they’ll gladly make room for you and your pole. See what I did there with the pole joke?

Chelsea Piers (1)

Golf at Chelsea Piers:

Ladies, let’s talk. Do you know where all the men in Manhattan are? They’re practicing their swing over the Hudson River at Chelsea Piers driving range. If you have a Tinder account, it will blow up here. If you’re actually there to practice your swing, the facilities are state-of-the-art and there’s a great breeze off the river with views of New Jersey. Waits for a space can be long, but there’s a full bar and a fun broesque scene. Rates are cheap on Sunday nights after six. And, ah, French guys golf. Play your cards right and maybe you can spend next August in Nice like God intended. Photo: Flickr user Ben W

Dinner Lab:

Looking for something different from the conventional restaurant experience? Dinner Lab is a “members-only dining club that pairs up-and-coming chefs, many of whom work on the lower rungs of top restaurants, with a hungry, adventurous fan base keen to sup at out-of-the-box locations — including a helipad, a church and a motorcycle dealership.” At Dinner Lab, locations are announced one day prior to the event, lending an air of mystery to the whole affair. Chefs are 100% in charge of the meal, cooking several courses of their most original and innovative cuisine. If you can brave the waiting list, you’ll undoubtedly eat some good grub and (and maybe meet some interesting people while you’re at it). Sign up for a seat at the table on their website.

SoFar Sounds:

Remember when you first moved to the City and went to awesome concerts every week? Of course you do! But eventually you became burnt out on the late nights, sweaty venues and obnoxious hecklers shouting in your ear. Fair enough. If you’re looking for an intimate, curated musical experience you can share with true music lovers, check out SoFar Sounds (short for “Sounds From a Room”). SoFar Sounds hosts small, living room performances twice a month for 100–130 New Yorkers. With an 800 person waiting list it may be a hot minute before you’re able to experience what SoFar sounds has to offer. But hey, it’s something to shoot for! You might as well go ahead and sign up today.

Watch how Heineken interrupted the routines of fellow New Yorkers in their latest social experiment “The Payphone”, starring Portlandia’s very own, Fred Armisen.

Learn more about how Heineken plans to get you to veer off the beaten path at

Top Photo: Flickr user MadAbandon