Winter temperatures are finally upon us, which means it’s time to start enjoying our second wind of summer. What? But it’s not summer. Yes it is. Summer is basically just a time when you are always warm and you do beach things. And we’ve rounded up a number of inexpensive ways you can do all the beach things this season, like walking in the sand, day-drinking, playing boardwalk games, going swimming and more.
Caution: activities below should not be attempted if you have other things to do. Because much like an actual summer day spent at the beach, these things are mostly lazy, will take all of your time, and will inevitably end with you getting drunk.
1. Take the other train to Coney Island. The train of thought, that is! The Brooklyn Museum’s current exhibition, Coney Island: Visions of an American Dreamland 1861-2008, provides a kaleidoscopic visual record of BK’s most mystical beachside neighborhood. Walk through the photographic narrative of a bygone era, and imagine yourself on the sandy shores without actually being there and freezing your toes off. Remember, the Brooklyn Museum is free with an NYC ID, which is a cinch to get!
2. Spend a day at the Rockaways. ICYMI last year, we had a pretty expansive guide to being a winter badass in the Rockaways that included things like art walks, hot yoga, winter surfing, cheap drinking… even a soothing mud bath. It’s the perfect beach hangout hideaway at the end of the A Line, and you won’t have to deal with the mass of tourists (or the consequent mascot madness) in Coney Island.
3. Get drunk at breakfast, any number of ways. Nothing screams summer on the beach like day-drinking which, if you’re good enough at it, can be the best thing to ease off of a heavy work week. Drinking at breakfast is a money-saver at these fancy restaurants, a heated affair at these spots with working fireplaces, and an actual open bar at these bottomless brunch spots. Once you’re sauced, your body temperature will skyrocket, everything will look hazy (just like a real summer day!) and you can laze around the borough mooching free samples for the rest of the day.
4. Treat Williamsburg like an indoor boardwalk. Beach bumming is impotent without the added thrill of a boardwalk, so turn Williamsburg into your personal beachside strip: start the day at Surf Bar (139 N. 6th Street), the beach-lovers’ hideout with sandy floors and $6 corn dogs you can nosh on while you practice taking expertly-positioned selfies that you can later claim are tropical vacation photos. Then, head to Barcade (388 Union Avenue) with your laundry quarters for an afternoon of old-school arcade games and happy hour drink prices. Once it’s dark out, crawl over to the likes of a Coney sideshow at Duff’s (168 Marcy Avenue), the metal mecca of South Brooklyn. Finish off your night with some grub from the El Diablo Tacos truck behind Union Pool (484 Union Avenue), just like the ones you’d score if you were doing the Coney boardwalk according to Lola Star.
5. Explore a new neighborhood. This past summer, Brokelyn interviewed some of the borough’s foremost personalities about how they spend a lazy Sunday in their neighborhoods. In other words, you’ve now got local-approved guides to Williamsburg, Bushwick, Fort Greene, Bed-Stuy, Crown Heights, Kensington/Windsor Terrace, Gowanus and Sheepshead Bay. Much like going to any beach requires a walkabout through the neighborhood that borders it, these guides will give you hours’ worth of culture, entertainment and adventure through areas you might never otherwise think to discover. Best of all, some of them are actually on beaches! (n.b. the Gowanus Canal is not a beach, no matter what this guy says.)
6. Break a sweat. You’re not going to be able to convince yourself it’s summer if you can’t pearl a little sweat on your skin. And it doesn’t have to be by joining a gym, even though we’ve got those cheap memberships rounded up for you. Sweating can also be achieved by going to any of New York’s Russian bathhouses (cheaper with this Groupon), or by taking a cheap dance class at any of these indoor spots, or by finding your nearest nightly dance party, courtesy of our awesome weekly events e-mail.
7. Swim in the Atlantic ocean with the other crazies. If all else fails, you may as well just go swimming on the actual beach in your actual bathing suit. New Years’ Day swimming was for the sheeple who just wanted a photo-op; you, on the other hand, can demonstrate your badassery by going swimming on a regular old Sunday with the Polar Bear Club. Bring a friend or go solo — the club is full of diehard swimmers who love seeing newbies give it a try, and there’s usually a guy snapping pics who’ll send them to you if you leave your e-mail.
8. Take our (legally binding) beach quiz. You can’t pretend you’re on the beach unless you know which Brooklyn beach you’re pretending about! Before you go out and take any of the advice above, consider taking our beach quiz to find out which sandy shore best matches your personality, your commuting style and your preferred beach activities.
Follow Sam for more seasonal delusions at @ahoysamantha