The End-of-Summer Blues: A Labor Day Survival Guide


I was walking around the city this weekend, and I came upon an interesting flyer. “We are walking out of the city,” it read. “We are meeting in Union Square, and heading North.” North? That’s us!

Naturally, I was intrigued, so I went to the website looking for more information. The website was in chorus with the flyer. It said that, starting August 23, people were going to congregate in Union Square and walk up Broadway. They’d camp out in Van Cortlandt Park for the night [*shudder*], then resume walking the next day until reaching their destination of Croton Point Park. Did they make it? Anyone come across any trekkers on their way to Croton Point Park?

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I hope someone did, because I have a question for them about their journey: why? What made them take this hike out of the city? The flyer and website make it seem like it’s a protest—the website lists the Bill of Rights for some reason—but no express purpose is clearly mentioned.

If I had to guess, I’d say these walkers were just bummed that summer is ending, and they want to take advantage of their last weekend. Walking out in the sunlight, camping in the park—they’re soaking it in before thoughts turn to back-to-school and football season.

If that’s the reason, then I sympathize. Staring down Labor Day, I’m not ready to let the summer go. Labor Day weekend is typically the dead-zone for popular culture—the Olympics and big summer movies are over, but fall TV and Oscar films haven’t started up yet—so there’s not much to distract you from the fact that summer is ending. What’s a staycationer to do?

I say do what the walkers did, and make the most of your last summer moments. While most of our cultural venues have packed up shop for the long weekend, there are a few still open for business. If you’re looking to end your summer with a bang, you might want to check out one of these events:

  • The Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival’s production of Cymbeline has everything you can want in an end-of-summer affair. It’s entertaining, saving you from a night of cable-TV marathons, and it’s outside, so you can take advantage of the lingering warm weather. The show closes on August 30.
  • Visiting a farm is a good way to transition from summer to fall. In the summer, lots of delicious veggies are in season, and fall brings with it lots of harvest festivals. Celebrate both seasons with a visit to Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, where their August 31 Vegetable Tour will focus on the herbs, flowers, fruits, and vegetables in their main production field, four-season greenhouse, and various gardens. Stop at the farmer’s market on the way out to bring some goodies home.
  • Stone Barns isn’t the only venue in a harvest mood. The folks over at Philipsburg Manor are participating in their Green Corn Festival all throughout the weekend. The festival celebrates Native American culture with storytelling, cooking demonstrations, and a participatory presentation of traditional Native American dance. That sounds like way more fun than walking from Union Square to Croton Point Park.
  • Bad weather threatens to drive us indoors, but that doesn’t mean we’re stuck in the family room with a game of Monopoly. Instead, head over to the Hudson River Museum, which will be showing its “Space is the Place” exhibition up until September 7. After viewing all of the weird and wonderful art about space exploration, you might be in the mood to head over to the museum’s planetarium for one of their star shows (“The Friendly Stars” at 12:30, “The Sky Tonight” at 1:30, “Larry, Cat in Space” at 2:30, an “Light-Years from Andromeda” at 3:30 on August 30 or “Fito, Gato en el Espacio” at 3:30 on August 31).
  • And, of course, it wouldn’t be a holiday without music. In this case, I recommend the Watercolor Café, which will be featuring the David Janeway Trio on August 29 and the Doug Munro Trio on August 30.

After that, Fringe premieres, and you’re all on your own.

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