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Photograph: Courtesy Creative Commons/Flickr/Nick Southall

8 gross things you’ll experience in New York as summer arrives

You gotta take the good with the bad.

Will Gleason
Written by
Will Gleason

As life-affirming as outdoor movie screenings and al fresco meals truly are, let’s not forget that—like a delicious summer brunch served on a vintage boat that makes you hopelessly seasick—the summer-in-NYC good is almost always accompanied by the summer-in-NYC bad. These are the gross, stomach-churning things coming our way whether we like it or not, summer after summer.

1. Sweaty, overcrowded subway platforms

Think train delays and full platforms in the winter are bad? Try getting packed into a space hotter than one of those sweat lodges Oprah used to be obsessed with. At least the sweat covering everyone’s skin provides a natural lubricant for squeezing into the last spot available on the train.

2. The garbage smell

As the weather heats up, the thin layer of urine, garbage juice and pigeon poop that lightly coats our city’s streets begins to be gently cooked by the sun like a delicious skillet of huevos en purgatorio. As a result, the semen trees of spring soon curdle into a pervading scent more akin to a suburban waste treatment plant. Thank goodness, we spend most of our summers on roofs.

3. Beach surprises

It may seem like you’re a world away when you hit up of one of New York’s best beaches for the first time, but, unfortunately, Coney Island and The Rockaways are firmly within the five boroughs. That means the water there is not exactly as clear as one would encounter in the Bahamas. You’re always just one backstroke away from a candy wrapper, plastic bag or worse.

4. Sweaty cuddling

If you are already dating someone, then get ready to enter a new phase of your relationship the first truly hot night of summer. With every inch of both your bodies covered in sweat, it’s pretty easy to reconsider whether you really want that human taking up half of your bed every night. If you’re bringing someone home for the first time, you might want to do a cool-down lap around the block first.

5. Flip-flops

You’ll spot on them on bros in cargo shorts. You’ll see them on girls in maxi dresses. Hell, you’ll probably even spot a few discarded loners wallowing down on the subway tracks. Even though it seems to go against every rational idea of the basic level of protection one would need to walk around the city, people keep pulling these out of their closets every year. Beware: If the previously mentioned one-night-stand is sporting a pair of flippers, get ready to encounter some feet straight out of Shire.

6. Air conditioner drip

“Oh god. That’s not rain.” We’ve all had that sinking realization after a seemingly innocent drop of water falls on our head in the middle of a bright, sunny day. For the most part, the fluid that drips out of air conditioners is mainly just condensed water. But if it’s been sitting in the unit for long it could contain bacteria. Either way, it’s definitely not a shower you want to have.

7. People getting basically naked

Some things just can’t be unseen. While no one minds ogling an attractive stranger soaking up some rays in Sheep’s Meadow, sometimes you can get hit with too much of a good thing. There are children here, man in whitey tighties treating this small clearing like it’s his personal beach in Ibiza.

8. Cockroaches

Cockroaches are a year-long problem in New York, but summer is when the really big ones come out. Mosquitos may be buzz bombing your ears keeping you up at night. Ants may be making a Shake Shack-like line to and from your refrigerator. But it’s these creepy crawlies that have to take the cake for being the most disgusting summer company you can keep in New York. (Other than everyone on that sweaty subway car, obviously.)

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