Your first move this summer should be to decompress. Visit this verdant green space beside Prospect Park on Tuesdays—when admission is free all day—to avoid the stress of the weekend crowds, not to mention the strain on your wallet. We recommend strolling past the waterfalls in the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden, before perching in the little viewing pavilion by the water and staring at the serene koi. Have you forgotten your crippling debt yet? Keep staring. Free on Tuesdays.
Your unemployment—real or imagined—is the perfect time to work on the Great American Novel you always knew was in you. Pen a new chapter and debut it at this monthly event for emerging writers: Each author has six minutes to read their work to a crowd consisting of established literati and those who are just there for the complimentary wine and cupcakes. (E-mail email@example.com with your genre, writing sample and short bio to be considered for a spot.) Even if you don’t get on the docket, the readings are bookended with two hours of mingling, allowing plenty of time for you to expound on your forthcoming tour de force. Free.
Taking in a concert at Central Park's Rumsey Playfield is as essential a summer-in-New-York activity as a trip to Rockaway Beach. But the amazing outdoor shows aren't limited to that iconic venue: During SummerStage's three-month run, sponsored by the City Parks Foundation, a diverse roster of acts (past performers have included Pavement, Femi Kuti and the Positive Force, and Beach House) plays in green spaces throughout the city's five boroughs. And the best part: Aside from a few benefit shows (mostly staged in Central Park), concerts are free—the better for you to clutch a sweaty beer can as you sway along on a hot July night.