Explore New York City

Ask the Expert: Summer in the City

With warm days and temperate nights, summer is the perfect time to explore New York City. Check out Harlem’s eateries and clubs; take a ride on the Staten Island Ferry and catch a summer breeze with suggestions from Kathleen A. Nugent-Harris, concierge at

With warm days and temperate nights, July is the perfect time to explore New York City. Check out Harlem’s eateries and clubs; take a ride on the Staten Island Ferry and catch a summer breeze. Kathleen A. Nugent-Harris, concierge at Loews Regency Hotel, shares her recommendations on how to do up summer in the city. 

Loews Regency Hotel
Kathleen A. Nugent-Harris, Concierge at Loews Regency Hotel, 540 Park Avenue, 212.759.4100 (©Cameron R. Neilson)

What have guests been asking about the most lately? Visitors to the city often inquire about what they can do once they have visited the well-known, “must-see” attractions. What a lot of visitors and New Yorkers alike do not know is that there are many activities that are free to the public. The Harlem Meer—located in northern Central Park and comprised of 11 acres of water, surrounded by lush vegetation, walking paths and the Lasker Rink and Pool—is a fabulous spot to spend an afternoon with family or friends. Pack a picnic, borrow a fishing pole and participate in the catch-and-release program or just enjoy the serenity of the area. The pool, which is free to use, is the perfect place to cool off on a hot summer day. Another great way to enjoy the splendor of the city is to rent a bike at Bike and Roll’s Central Park location. You can enjoy the beauty of Central Park, bike across the Brooklyn Bridge, follow the scenic bike path that runs along the Hudson River, choose a combination bike and boat tour or just venture out on your own and peddle to your heart’s content.

Red Rooster Harlem
Mac ‘n’ cheese and greens at Red Rooster Harlem (©Paul Brissman)

Most travelers will pay a visit to the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, etc. But what are the top three off-the-beaten-path locations or attractions visitors should check out? Take a ride on the Staten Island Ferry and take in extraordinary sights for free. The 25-minute trip is well worth it; you can see the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, New York Harbor and the skyline of Lower Manhattan. Taking a Levys’ Unique New York! tour is a great way to learn about different neighborhoods, art, architecture and history of the city. I took a graffiti and street-art tour that was fascinating. The Brooklyn Flea operates every Saturday, April through November, in Fort Greene. It is fun just meandering through the vendors to find vintage clothing and jewelry, browse through boxes of vinyl records, or perhaps find some treasure to repurpose for that special spot in your home. And when you are hungry and your feet are tired, head to one of the many food vendors to try steamed pork buns, tacos or ribs. 

What’s your favorite neighborhood and why? Any favorite restaurants, shops, etc.? Harlem is on the move! Brownstones that were previously abandoned have been renovated and once shuttered buildings have evolved into vibrant new restaurants that attract a young crowd. Chef Marcus Samuelsson’s Red Rooster Harlem is always hopping and serves Southern-accented American cuisine. You can hear live music in Ginny’s Supper Club downstairs. Also bustling is Corner Social. Some newcomers to the neighborhood worth a try are the French restaurant Chéri and the modern speakeasy La Bodega 47 Social Club

What are some great activities to do in July? There are a lot of outdoor activities—many of which are free throughout the summer, including Central Park’s Shakespeare in the Park series and the HBO Bryant Park Summer Film Festival.