End-of-summer hot list: Essential things to do before Labor Day

Don't let the season pass by without enjoying these top things to do. Plus, the one highlight to catch at each of NYC's big series before the end of summer.

  • Photograph: Luciana Golcman

    End-of-summer hot list: Summer Streets, Voice Tunnel

  • Photograph: Andreas Tjeldflaat

    End-of-summer hot list: "James Turrell," Aten Reign (rendering) at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

  • Photograph: Hyla Skopitz

    End-of-summer hot list: "The Roof Garden Commission: Imran Qureshi" at the Met, installation view

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    End-of-summer hot list: Head in the Clouds, Figment's City of Dreams Pavilion on Governors Islandhothot

  • Photograph: courtesy Intrepid Sea

    End-of-summer hot list: Intrepid Summer Movie Series

  • Photograph: The Central Park Conservancy

    End-of-summer hot list: 11th Annual Central Park Conservancy Film Festival

  • Photograph: Courtesy Socrates Sculpture Park

    End-of-summer hot list: Socrates Sculpture Park Yoga

Photograph: Luciana Golcman

End-of-summer hot list: Summer Streets, Voice Tunnel

RECOMMENDED: Summer in New York guide

Attractions and things to do before the end of summer

Summer Streets, Voice Tunnel

  • Critics choice
  • Free

This annual pedestrianization of a Manhattan stretch takes over the Park Avenue Tunnel, allowing walkers to stroll its length for the first time ever. Mexican-Canadian artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer transforms the seven blocks of subterranean space into an interactive light-and-sound installation, stuffing the tunnel with 300 spotlights and putting a recording device midway. Participants speak into the microphone and their words are piped through 150 speakers, with the level and pitch of each voice controlling the intensity of the illuminations. Arrive early: Lines formed during the first edition. Organizers advise showing up by 11am.

James Turrell at the Guggenheim

  • Rated as: 3/5

Art fan or not, you can’t close the door on the season without experiencing Aten Reign, the spectacular James Turrell installation that fills the Guggenheim’s rotunda with pulsating, ever-changing color. Take a seat on one of the white benches surrounding the atrium and look up as hypnotic LED lights bathe you in pinks, yellows, blues, greens and everything in between. Make sure to take in some of Turrell’s less monumental—but no less mezmerizing—light installations throughout the museum, such as the bordering-on-the-hallucinatory Iltar.

  1. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum 1071 Fifth Ave, at 89th St, 10128
  2. Through Wed Sep 25
More info

"The Roof Garden Commission: Imran Qureshi"

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

At first, you might miss Pakistani artist Imran Qureshi’s new work on the floor of the Met’s roof garden. Out of what looks like the aftermath of a bloody zombie attack, intricate paintings of flowers bloom, inspired by the traditional techniques of Mughal and Persian art. The installation is a powerful commentary on violence and hope in Qureshi’s homeland—making for a museworthy juxtaposition with the views of the UES skyline and Central Park.

  1. The Metropolitan Museum of Art 1000 Fifth Ave, at 82nd St, 10028
  2. Tue Aug 13 - Sun Nov 3
More info

City of Dreams Pavilion 

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Governors Island’s got a lot of goodies to offer—bike rides, vintage French carnival rides, kayaking and a roller-skate rental truck, to name but a few—but Figment’s art installations, which include an arty minigolf course and an interactive sculpture garden, might be the best of the bunch. The centerpiece is this year’s winner of the City of Dreams Pavilion design competition, Studio Klimoski Chang Architects’ Head in the Clouds, a cumulus of 120 pillowy segments made from recycled milk and water jugs, some filled with blue water. Enter to chill on the seating at either end, marvel at the shapes and shades formed, and let your thoughts peacefully float away.

  1. Governors Island
  2. Sat, Sun, holiday, Mon; through Sun Sep 22
More info

Intrepid Summer Movie Series: Top Gun

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Free

We’ve got that loving feeling for whoever had the inspired idea to screen this high-octane, eminently quotable, totally ridiculous flyboy flick on the flight deck of a decommissioned aircraft carrier. To add to the allure, the Intrepid’s collection of historic planes includes an F-14 Tomcat, as flown by Maverick in the film, and one MiGs (but, sadly, no faceless baddies). Bring a lawn chair or blanket, a picnic and aviators, but leave the booze at home, Iceman. The show starts at at sundown, but last admission is at 8:30pm.

  1. Pier 86, Twelfth Ave, (at 46th St), 10036
  2. Thu Aug 18
More info

11th Annual Central Park Conservancy Film Festival

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Pack a picnic basket and head to the gently sloping lawn north of Sheep Meadow for this five-flick series held over consecutive nights. Tens of thousands of New Yorkers decided the program, voting in classic, family, rom-com, horror and adventure categories. So what happens when you bend to the will of the mob? You’re rewarded with iconic NYC–based musical West Side Story, Steven Spielberg’s Hook, the Oscar-winner Silver Linings Playbook, Kubrick’s The Shining and the first installment of the Indiana Jones franchise, Raiders of the Lost Ark. Democracy—we sure do love you.

  1. Central Park 59th St to 110th St, between Fifth and Eighth Aves
  2. Thu Aug 22 - Mon Aug 26
More info

Socrates Sculpture Park

  • Free

As summer nears its end, seize every opportunity to be outside, building up your reserves of vitamin D for the coming winter. While many of the city’s free alfresco stretching sessions require setting an early alarm during the workweek, Long Island City’s serene, art-filled waterfront park offers three no-cost, beginner-friendly hatha yoga classes each weekend, taught by trained yogis Monique Schubert and Yojaida Estrella. The park is also home to a Greenmarket (Sat 8am–4pm, through Nov 16), so you can stock up on organic seasonal produce for a healthy postpractice picnic.

  1. 32-01 Vernon Blvd, (at Broadway)
  2. Sat; 9:30–10:30am and 11am–noon; Sun; 10–11am; Through Sept 29
More info

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