I know it’s summer in New York when the fire hydrants get turned on. It’s the city equivalent of sprinklers in the front yard, and it makes me so happy! Last year I started carrying my phone in a plastic bag so that I could walk through the big gushing streams without a care in the world.
I think it might be illegal, but I’ve never seen anyone get in trouble. All the city parks have misty water toys, though, and I speculate they might have been built to curb the fire hydrant tradition. Scratch that, I just Googled and learned that the fire department can open fire hydrants for you, just for fun! They usually open one per block, which is all you really need, and you’re not technically allowed to open one on your own, but you probably won’t get in trouble. So I guess the water toys in the park are just for additional fun. Water toys for all!
After the fire hydrants and the misty water toys, which come in all sizes and shapes (not just fish sculptures, as pictured above), I start noticing the soft-serve ice cream trucks—they play these weird songs I’d never heard before moving here. My favorite is one punctuated by dog barks.
Then, the senior citizens set up card tables to play bingo on the sidewalk in the shade of a tree (or building). I get invited to concerts in the park, which are free unless you count time spent waiting in line as currency. My friends start talking about rooftop access, and all I want to do is spend all day every day at the pool.
Last summer I worked at a restaurant on the Upper East Side, which completely emptied on weekends because all the rich residents escaped to the Hamptons. This year, at my office job, sometimes I get summer Fridays (you only work a half-day so that you can leave the city and weekend in style, presumably). I think even if I had the choice to go elsewhere, I’d choose to stay in the city on summer weekends, making sure to walk by fire hydrants on my way to the pool.