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New York City Your Best Tool for Learning English

What to say about one of the BEST months of the year (I realize that I probably say that about every month living in New York City) besides IT’S THE BEST?! I love the cooler, crisp air and the coziness that the month promotes. It’s around this time that I pull out my winter clothes, and I always get excited when I see the chunky sweaters and the cozy socks that I completely forgot about over the spring and summer. Nothing’s better!

Since New York City is still trying to figure out navigating during COVID, it can be tricky thinking of things to do in the month of October that will also guarantee that you stay safe and healthy. So I came up with a list of things that you can do that will satisfy both of those requirements. And if you’re trying to put your English skills to use in real life, I made sure to pick out activities where you can utilize those talents outside of the classroom. So pull out your favorite flannel, let’s get to planning your October in New York City!

1. Brooklyn Book Festival, until October 4th

If you’re a big reader like me, then this will be your jam! Come to meet some of your favorite authors, listen in on literary discussions, and even pick up some new reads while you’re there! This event is outside so you can feel safe enough in the time of the pandemic while it’s still comfortable enough to actually be outside. Obviously, if you’re trying to improve your English reading, this is the place for you. With all reading levels welcome, you’re sure to find something worth your time. And if you’re trying to work on your English speaking, then this is also the place – learn new words and phrases from authors all over the world – what better opportunity?!

2. New York Comic Con, October 7 – October 10

Okay, so this is one that I’ll never fully understand, but it’s a HUGE hit with fans of comic books, action movies, and anything that really just has a theme! People from all over the world travel for this extensive event, and almost all come in costume! This year, the event is back after being cancelled last year, so I’d recommend getting your tickets sooner than later if you’re interested – it’s bound to be packed! Bonus: if in-person isn’t your thing yet, they’re also holding a virtual capability as well so you can continue your safe practices. Binge your favorite theme book series or movies before you go so you can get hyped up AND brush off your English speaking skills!

3. Haunting at Berkeley Oceanfront Hotel, Asbury Park, NJ

So OF COURSE I had to include something Halloween-related in this list, and if you’re up for a little bit of travel, this could be 100% worth your time and extra effort. (I didn’t know about this, and even I’m interested in checking this out!) Known for its paranormal activity for over a century, people come to this site for the thrilling experience and to willingly be spooked. Luckily, this location is taking the pandemic incredibly seriously, as they require taking your temperature and that you wear a mask, they have multiple sanitizer locations, and ongoing cleanings. So if this is up your alley, be sure to check this opportunity out, call for ticket availability, and make sure you grab your mask on your way out the door. Be sure you know how to scream for help in English!

October is a month in New York City that is not in shortage of things to do, thanks to the Halloween holiday. In addition to all of the above, you’ll surely be able to find plenty to do in your neighborhood and beyond that can help you celebrate the holiday. Even though Halloween is technically just one day, you’ll find that us New Yorkers really embrace the spooky season, and we’re more than happy to celebrate for practically the entire month of October! And again, because the weather is still so pleasant and inviting, especially with the beautiful colors, you’ll want to spend as much time outdoors as possible – so as always, I encourage you to keep practicing your distancing, always mask up, and be respectful of others and their space. We won’t get out of this until we all continue doing our part. Have fun this month, and I’ll see you in November!

Category : Stay in New York

I’m sure we can all remember where we were on September 11, 2001. I was in high school, my junior year, in Latin class. At that point, very few people had cell phones – and the ones that did had the very basic Nokia devices. Googling the news or watching live streams wasn’t even a possibility. Silence struck the rooms and the halls. We were all laced with fear and concern. When I came home from school that day, I remember the hugs my parents gave me. I remember the eerie silence and sadness at dinner that night. I think even then, as a teenager, I knew that nothing would ever be the same.

Fourteen years later, I moved to New York City. Despite the excitement and pride that I felt once I got here, I also knew that I had respects to pay. I knew that New Yorkers had a pain in their heart that I would never be able to understand. The first time I went to visit the 9/11 memorial, I was overcome with emotion. It was almost as though you could FEEL the loss. It was so incredibly moving. Every time I go back down to the site, I’m moved and humbled.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of that tragic day. It’s an anniversary that won’t be celebrated. It’s a day that will have every single person reflecting on the tragedy, remembering loved ones that are lost, honoring those that served and fell.

This will be the 6th year that I’m in New York City on September 11th. Every year, there’s always a silence that falls upon Manhattan. It’s almost like people whisper instead of talking. You catch people lost in their thoughts, gazing out the windows. Some people cry. It’s a day that affects everyone.

Since this year is 20 years since the attacks, you might be thinking about what you can do to honor those that lost their lives. It’s a bit tricky due to the ongoing pandemic and the safety measures that we’re all taking to stay safe, but there’s plenty that you can do to mark this historic day.

1. 9/11 Memorial and Museum

This location will be reserved for family members of those lost for health safety purposes. While the location will be highly trafficked this day, it’s best that you reserve this spot to let the victims’ families have this moment to mourn, honor, and grieve. This memorial is always open, so if you feel the calling to show your respects, please consider a different day of the week or later in the month.

2. Visit your local church or place of worship

Most holy locations will be holding special services on this day for people to pay their respects. No matter your belief system or religion, you’re bound to find a location that will fit your needs so that you can honor the anniversary in your own way.

3. Stream the experiences

Because of our place in the current pandemic, it’s also not a terrible idea to honor the day by staying home. Thanks to our streaming capabilities today, there are tons of documentaries that tell the personal stories of people affected by 9/11. You can revisit the day through other peoples’ memories, learn about those that lost their lives, and honor their memories through storytelling. I’ve done this a few times on select years, and it always leaves me humbled. I recommend this for anyone that is looking for a way to understand, cope, and mourn.

Like the Titanic sinking, Pearl Harbor, or the JFK assassination, anyone alive during historic events like this will never forget where they were when they heard about the attacks. I’ll never forget that day in Latin class, and I’ll never forget the feelings of sadness when updates continued to come in that day, that week, and that year. While I wasn’t in New York City when the attacks took place, I know people that lost loved ones. I’ve listened to the stories of those that were here, who they called, how they coped.

Now that I’m here, and now that I’ve seen the memorial and visited the museum, there’s a newly found relationship I have with the event. Emotionally, I feel connected. Our company will be holding multiple moments of silence on the day, and while I’m not a religious person, I do plan on paying my respects to the fallen. I plan on calling my family and telling them how much I love them.  I plan on going to bed that night, thankful for my life.

Category : Stay in New York

With September all of a sudden here, you might be wondering what there is to do this month to keep yourself entertained (and safe) as we get closer to cooler temps and shorter days. September is one of my favorite months of the year, just because there’s a crisp in the air that makes outdoor activities comfortable and fun. As we continue operating with the pandemic and doing what we can to stay safe and protected, you’ll want to approach anything you think of with some careful planning and consideration. We still don’t know how much longer we’ll be living in this state of uncertainty, but while we do, it’s so crucial that you and your friends think carefully about every activity you take part in.

A good rule of thumb before committing to any activity is to research their refund policy and how they’re navigating safety – this is a good habit to integrate so that you can make plans without worrying about losing money if the event gets cancelled or coming into contact with someone that isn’t vaccinated. We’re doing better than last year, but we still have to operate with caution. With that said, here are a few things I’ve got my eye on this September in New York City that I’m looking forward to.

1. Times Square Ferris Wheel, through September 12

This is a brand new and limited-time event, so be sure to do your research on this one! First of all, if you feel like braving the crowds in one of the biggest tourist traps in the city, good for you! Secondly, if you want to grab a brand new view of the city in an experience that is only here for a short period of time, be sure your phone is charged for the incredible photos you’re about to capture! Of course, since you’ll be in the epicenter of the Big Apple, you’ll be able to interact with people from all over the world, putting your combined native language and English translation skills to use big time! Don’t forget your mask and your hand sanitizer!

2. Governors Ball, Citi Field, September 24 – September 26

After being cancelled last year because of the pandemic, there’s a lot of anticipation for this year’s event for that very reason. Large crowds are tricky to navigate during this time, so it’s important to bring your mask, plenty of hand sanitizer, and be smart about how close you are to others. The organizers are requiring proof of vaccination or a recent negative test result, so you can rest a bit easy with that consideration! As of now, it sounds like the event is still on, so get excited! There are tons of big names in the lineup this year, so start preparing by building a GovBall playlist on Spotify, which will put your English skills to great use! Before you know it, you’ll be singing along in real time to some of the biggest names in music right now!

3. The Magic HOUR art walk, South Street Seaport, through September 30

The pandemic has impacted every single person in this world in countless different ways. For those of us that stayed in the city during the 2020 year, our experience was unique due to the high COVID diagnosis rates and the limited healthcare crisis. For artists, this was a moment of reflection and expression and inspiration – if you’re interested in taking a peek into others’ experiences, this is the immersive art walk for you. This exhibition houses the works of over 30 artists through multi-sensory exhibitions that will transport you to the experiences of so many that will make you relate, understand, and feel connected in a time when connection wasn’t possible. While this event is outside, still be sure to bring your mask and your vaccination documents so that you can feel safe and confident during your experience.

The world is still adjusting and healing from this ongoing pandemic. We all need to continue doing what we’re doing to keep ourselves and everyone else safe – but that doesn’t mean we have to stop living and experiencing the beauty of New York City. While there are certain things that are opening back up, we have to treat these allowances with respect – we do that by being mindful of our behaviors, respecting others’ space, and protective ourselves. The end of COVID is hopefully in our future, so let’s keep working together to make that someday soon.

Category : Stay in New York

Ahhhh, summertime in the city – there’s really nothing like it. On a good day, you can roam about the streets and parks without a care in the world, letting the sun hit your shoulders and immediately elevate your mood. Other days….well, not every summer day in the city is great. It can get pretty hot, and there are some blocks that provide zero shade. Some days, breezes don’t come through, and the intense sun can make garbage days tough to walk through. Either way, August in New York City can be awesome, but this month can also be a challenge to stay comfortable. When in doubt, pack your sunscreen, have an exit strategy, and stay hydrated. 

This August, summer might look and feel a bit differently than summers past. Obviously, we’re still living in the time of a global pandemic, which is sometimes hard to believe that it’s lasted this long. In New York City, given the high population and the dense tourist areas, you’ll notice that many are still wearing their masks, despite vaccinations, thanks to the new variant and the uncertainties around it. As a vaccinated and somewhat healthy individual, I’ve been wearing my mask anytime I leave my home to err on the side of caution. I’ve even recently gotten a test to ensure that I haven’t contracted the new strain, again, even though I’ve been vaccinated. We continue to learn more about this as we go on, so the activities that I’ve listed out below are best for the summer, but please also be mindful and careful about what you choose to embark on this summer so you and your loved ones can continue to stay safe and healthy.

1. Pixar Putt, Battery Park

If you’ve got Pixar fans in our friend circle, this could be the best activity to take them to – for a limited time, Battery Park will be transformed into a Pixar heaven, equipped with a mini-golf course designed by all your Pixar favorites. What I like about this particular activity is that not only is outdoors to keep you safe with plenty of fresh air, but you’ll be so close to the water that you’ll get bonus views as you make your way through the course! Be sure to call ahead to make sure you pick a day or night that won’t be too crowded, but don’t wait too long – this experience is for a limited time only!

2. Bryant Park Movie Nights

This is another one of those New York City staples that I just LIVE for – and because this is outdoors, you can feel safe that you’re getting the ventilation you need. Grab your friends, plenty of blankets and snacks, and grab a good seat with a good view. Back this year after taking summer 2020 off from this series, you can expect extra spirit in the air as New Yorkers flock back to this classic event. This series extends into September, so if you need more time, you’ve got it!

3. Pier 17 “Backyard” rentals

Okay, so I might be stealing this idea for myself, so I might see you there this summer! Getting your own outdoor space in New York City is incredibly tough to come by, so The Rooftop at Pier 17 has a solution for you! You’ll be able to rent mini-lawns on this popular rooftop, equipped with coolers, chairs, umbrellas, and more to make your summer getaway just what you needed – without even leaving the city! And so many more bonuses are included, like a huge screen to watch movies and sports on, the option to order delivery food and drinks, and even the ability to rent out larger gaming courts for cornhole or bocce ball. Don’t get me wrong – I love the city, and I’m a city girl at heart, but I also grew up in backyards, so there’s also something very nostalgic about this experience that I’m so very much looking forward to. Obviously this is outdoors, but again, be sure to pack your mask and some hand sanitizer just to be on the safe side.

Summer in the city doesn’t have to be a bust just because we’re still getting through these tough days of the pandemic. As long as you’re being smart (and somewhat creative), you’ll be just fine! The cold days will be here before you know it, so do what you can to spend as much time outdoors this month as possible!

Category : Stay in New York

Okay, so let’s talk about the elephant in the room. We’re still in the middle of a pandemic. It’s unbelievable to think that we’re still navigating this, despite all our scientific and technological advancements towards our healthcare system. Despite all that, we still have to take care of ourselves and how we respond. It makes me sad to see other regions in our country not take this issue seriously, as people are losing their lives as a result. I, for one, am taking all of this as seriously as possible. Even though I’m fully vaccinated, I still wear my mask everywhere I go, I ensure the people I’m with have also been vaccinated, and I’m now getting tested on a weekly basis. We have the resources at our fingertips to follow protocol, so it’s best everyone else do what they can until we officially beat this thing. 

With that said, you might be wondering to yourself, “how in the world can you enjoy the city if we might be facing another lockdown in the near future?” As upsetting and frustrating as that reality is, it’s important to remind ourselves that if we do, indeed, go into another lockdown, that at least this time we’re prepared. I’ve rounded up a few ways in which you can either prepare or continue to stay safe if we can avoid another shutdown. 

1. Wear your mask

This is so simple, and it frustrates me beyond belief that we still have to remind people of this, but this is the easiest and cheapest way to keep yourself and those around safe – whether you’ve been vaccinated or not. With this new variant going around, we’re obviously still learning about it, so it’s best to just be safe (as opposed to sorry) when it comes to getting around and trying to have some kind of normalcy in your life. 

2. Get vaccinated

If you haven’t yet, please do what you can to make your appointment. It’s incredibly easy, it’s free, and there are now places that are offering incentives if you get your shots. The side effects (for most) are minimal, so please, please, please do your part to protect yourself. 

3. Stay outdoors

It’s been a tough year of cancellations and postponements, so I certainly don’t want to face more time indoors, so now is the best time to take advantage of the summer weather. If you’re craving that social interaction, grab your friends and hit up the parks or other outdoor spaces that offer plenty of ventilation and fresh air so that you can breathe easily and confidently. When in doubt, also be mindful of how close you are to others. The six-feet rule is still very much a guideline that’s recommended, so continue being mindful of that practice.

4. Learn from our first year

No one wants another lockdown, but if we don’t follow the protocol provided to us, we’ll have to keep facing more restrictions in the future. It was difficult that first year, adjusting to quarantine, not seeing loved ones, working from home in situations that weren’t ideal, and so on. But we made it through, and we started to get a taste of what “normalcy” looked like. As a unit, we need to continue following the rules and being safe to avoid another repeat of 2020. We now know shortcuts that can keep us entertained (binging our favorite feel-good shows, puzzles had a great comeback, and even Zooming with our loved ones filled a hole that we didn’t know we’d have).

Living in New York City during a pandemic hasn’t been easy. We evolved from being one of the worst hot spots in the world to being a model of safety and healthcare following the vaccine roll-out. I’m proud to be a New Yorker, and part of that pride comes from how we handled the pandemic and the treatment of our fellow New Yorkers. We can’t convince every single person to get the vaccine and take the pandemic seriously, but we can continue to do our best to raise awareness of all these options so that we can stay safe and keep our beloved city a safe destination. New York City is a trip for most, but for some, it’s where we call home. Let’s treat it and our fellow New Yorkers with respect so that we can continue to be the model city that we are.

Category : Stay in New York

Summer in New York City can be incredibly fun, and it often feels like there are endless possibilities for staying entertained with things to do, see, and experience. The weather can often be a bit unpredictable, as one day it could be in the 90s and sunny, and the next day could be in the high 60s and rainy – you’ll learn quickly to roll with the punches and prepare for the unexpected.

Now that we’re coming off the heels of the pandemic and restrictions are also being lifted, it can also feel like a summer that we’ll never forget. We finally get to experience a sense of “normalcy” after missing out on regular life for over a year. With this in mind, there are quite a handful of opportunities to celebrate this post-pandemic summer so you can also simultaneously keep your English skills fresh and active. Get ready for an awesome summer!

1. Governor’s Island Luxury Camping Retreat

So even I’m new to this, and I just found out about this (believe me when I sent this to my friends to see who’s interested!), and it seems like it could be such a fun experience. Not only will you be able to reserve one of three options for sleeping spaces, but you’ll also have tons of amenities that you’ll be able to partake in throughout your stay, not to mention the incredible views of the Statue of Liberty and Lower Manhattan! If you feeling like saving some money, grab a handful of friends to help split the cost, and be sure to pack the sunscreen! Because this is an experience that offers collective experiences, you’ll meet tons of new people, allowing you to practice your English social skills! Pack a book for some relaxing evenings by the water so you can also keep your English reading skills sharp – this is an experience you won’t soon forget!

2. Concerts Under the Stars, Various Locations

If you haven’t learned yet, rooftops are EVERYTHING in the city summers. Not only do you get breathtaking views, but the gentle breeze and spirit that comes from feeling like you’re on the of the world can transform you to a completely different mindset. This year, grab a handful of friends and splurge on a fancy night out at one of the various locations that is hosting a concert under the stars. Live jazz music by some of the biggest names will take you back to a simpler and more elegant time and will make you feel like you’re part of the Rat Pack and living in a different era. You’ll be pinching yourself all night that these kinds of experiences are right in your back yard.

3. The Tiny Cupboard Comedy Club, Bushwick

To continue the theme of rooftop experiences, this is another amazing option to enjoy the summer nights safely and with a hearty laugh. Not only will you, again, get to check out some of the best views known to man, but you’ll laugh till you cry while you take it all in. Located in the heart of Bushwick, you can easily continue the evening with some splendid Brooklyn eats and drinks. Because you’ll be speaking, listening, and reading English all night, your English skills will continue to be used and practiced in a functional way so it doesn’t seem like you’re in school!

4. Little Island, Pier 55

I absolutely HAD to include this one because it’s so new and exciting! With plenty of green spaces and walkways and even performance venues, you could easily spend an entire summer day here, with never ending views of the Hudson River and the NYC skyline. It’s the perfect day trip to get some fresh air, Vitamin D, and the chance to put your English skills to use by bringing your friends and catching up with one another. You’ll meet tons of other curious New Yorkers during your day of adventure, so be sure to bring your smiles!

There’s no doubt that the city is back (I’ll even argue that it never left), so be sure to take full advantage of the warm and sunny summer days this year in New York City – because you’re in the greatest place in the world! Wear comfortable shoes, pack your sunscreen, and get ready to make some post-pandemic memories. Fall will be here before we know it, so be sure to take full advantage of everything you have at your fingertips.

Category : Stay in New York

The pandemic has been quite the experience, huh? I experienced a range of emotions throughout this whole time, from worry and concern to frustration and irritability to more recently, hope and excitement. No one could have predicted the journey of 2020 and 2021, and I think that’s what caused so much anxiety amongst us as a people.

It felt like it took a really long time for us to arrive at this place where we can start living somewhat “normally” – on the other hand, when I stop and think about it, it’s pretty incredible that we were able to understand the virus and develop a scientific solution to it in less than two years. We’ll continue to feel like the effects of COVID-19 in various ways for the years to come, but for now, while I write this from my Manhattan apartment, I’m enjoying myself for the first time in months. I’m seeing friends more often, and I’m doing activities that I hadn’t done in over a year, like attend concerts, go to bars, and experience indoor activities.

While these restrictions that are lifted are providing people hope and the reminder that our lives are close to going on as normal, it’s still important to be safe and think carefully with everything you do. Even though I’m fully vaccinated, I still bring a mask with me wherever I go because I know that some people have varying comfort levels. I know some people that are not vaccinated, and I know people that have contracted COVID even AFTER they received their vaccination. In other words, it never hurts to be extra cautious. Here are a few recommendations that I can share with you as a fellow New Yorker.

1. Keep bringing protection

Again, even though I’m vaccinated, I still always have my mask on me. When I go into stores, most still require that you wear a mask. I’ll wear my mask in a restaurant until I’m seated at my table. I also always carry around my sanitizer – I know that we, as a world, started to take cleanliness and hygiene to a new level when this all started, and that should be something that we continue when it’s all over. You have one body – please do what you can to protect it and others. As we continue to hear more and understand these new variants, it’s important to stay diligent and responsible, even as we get stronger and healthier as a world.

2. Respect others

We all have our personal opinions and beliefs – we’ve arrived at these stances from personal experiences, which should be a reminder that the same is true for everyone else. There are some people that are not comfortable with receiving the vaccine, and some that are all for it – regardless of your position, it’s important to stay respectful. I feel very strongly and in support of the vaccine, but when I listen to friends and family members that are hesitant, I have to respect their decision, even if I may not agree with it. Please keep this in mind as we continue to move forward.

3. Take a second to appreciate life

At the end of the day, we lost thousands of lives to the pandemic. Whether you were personally affected or if you were one of the lucky ones, it’s important to keep perspective on the entire experience. As I said earlier – you have just the one body. It’s up to you to take care of it, to be mindful and careful, and to treat it with respect. If putting on a mask is a rule for a business, just put it on – it could save a life.

2020 will go down as one of the most difficult years of our lifetimes. As much as we’re all excited to put the year behind us, we also have to do what we can to keep it close, to learn from it, to know how we grew as a people. I’d imagine that this won’t be the last global pandemic in mankind, so we must do what we can to learn from this experience so that future generations can learn from us and use the 2020 pandemic of an example of what to do. It’s up to us to now shape the future of human health so that our children and their children and their children can avoid a repeat experience of last year.

Category : Stay in New York

It certainly feels as though we’ve been living through this pandemic for a long time, doesn’t it? I think back to the days of commuting into my office every day, attending comedy shows and concerts, socializing with coworkers in packed bars…it’s hard to believe that so much has changed so quickly and so drastically. It’s hard to imagine life before the pandemic sometimes.

As we approach the 2021 summer season, there’s a certain spirit in the air that I haven’t felt since all of this started. With people being vaccinated and lockdowns being lifted, it almost feels as though normalcy could be close. I understand that “normalcy” is a very flexible word, but I’m truly looking forward to the day when I can hug my friends again, see my coworkers in person, and live characteristics of my life without fear again.

I received my second vaccination shot a few weeks ago, and upon going home that day after that second shot, I felt that spirit, too. It felt like I finally had the permission to look forward to things again. While I was sitting on the bus on my way home, I remember thinking about all the things that I want to start planning for – visits to family members in other states, meeting new family members that I have yet to meet, going to the beach…the list goes on.

That hope stayed with me for a few days. Even though I’m vaccinated, I still wear my mask when I’m running errands or going for a walk. I ask my friends their vaccination status before meeting up with them. I’m still incredibly careful. I predict that as we get deeper into the summer months and more people celebrate that hope that I explained earlier that we’ll see large numbers of people letting their guards down. Understandably, it’s an individual’s choice to do so, but as we still live in a densely populated city, I highly recommend to keep practicing safety as much as you can.

1. Bring your mask

I know this is broken record, but I can’t stress this enough. Again, even though I’m fully vaccinated, I wear mine to continue to play safe. I don’t want to put my body at risk for anything, just to be on the safe side, just because I didn’t feel like wearing a mask anymore. It’s also been a strange security blanket for me over the past year – it’s like bringing your purse everywhere – it becomes a part of you without even realizing it. I also continue to wear my mask out of respect for other people. I want people to understand that I respect THEIR bodies and that I’m wearing it for THEM.

2. Don’t go crazy

It’s probably really tempting after the year we’ve had to max out your credit cards and double up on your vacations that you couldn’t go on for over a year. But again, I urge you to think cautiously – there are going to be LOTS of people with the same ideas in mind, and you may not know how they feel about vaccines. It’s your life, yes, so be sure that you’re thinking wisely about what’s important and the best way to keep you and your loved ones safe. When in doubt, mask up. That’s all I’ll say.

3. Respect boundaries

Unfortunately, the pandemic very quickly became political, causing even more division within our country. The pandemic has also become a personal experience for every single individual. Not one person knows how their body would react to an encounter from the virus OR the vaccine – as much as we know that science is really on our side, we also have to take into consideration that some people may not feel comfortable putting something foreign into their bodies. It’s easy to disagree with those that have different viewpoints on the matter, and at times it can even be infuriating, but we have to show respect for these differing viewpoints. As long as people are safe, you should understand that you should do what you can to stay safe as well. We’re all learning about this as we go, so the more togetherness we can achieve out of this circumstance, the longer we’ll be in the long run. Respect each other, and respect each other’s boundaries, and before we know it, we’ll be in the clear with COVID and the past year behind us as nothing more but memories.

Category : Stay in New York

It’s kind of unspoken, but the Memorial Day weekend always feels like the start of the summer season to me – it reminds me of being a kid in school and knowing that the last day of school was soon and that the long days of summer bliss were just around the corner. Even though I’m now in my mid-30s, I still get that same kind of giddy feeling towards the end of May as we inch closer to June. For me, it’s a mindset of allowing myself to have fun, relax, and make memories. This summer, I’m hoping, is looking to be a lot different than last summer, especially since I’m fully vaccinated and ready to make up for lost time. As with any scenario, New York City will be right there with me along for the ride. Sure, I’ll probably take a few trips and a few weekends away, but for the most part, I moved to New York City to LIVE in New York City.

If you’ll be here for the month of June like me, you’re probably looking for a few ideas on what you can do to entertain yourself while still staying safe as we’re navigating these new days of the pandemic. Bonus: if you’re looking to put your learned English skills to use during these events, I made sure to highlight ways in which you can put your learnings into practice for listening, reading, and speaking English. With that, grab your sunscreen (and your mask), and get ready to kick off the summer season in New York City.

1. Governors Ball Music Festival, June 4 – June 5th, Randall’s Island Park

If you’re anything like me, you probably don’t want to spend another minute indoors after the year that we’ve had. And since the weather is really kicking it into high-gear, I really want to make sure I’m outside as much as possible. Even though I’m fully vaccinated, I’m still navigating my events safely and consciously, so an outdoors event is perfect for people like me that are looking to still stay safe in all ways possible. You’ll want to bring your mask just to be on the safe side, since you’ll be around new people throughout the event. If you’re new to English and looking for practice, what better place to put your skills to use than an outdoor musical event? Brush up on your favorite artists, learn the new and trendy music, and be sure to sing along with your best pals.

2. Sunset Yoga, June 9th, Staten Island

I absolutely HAD to include this event because there’s truly nothing more magical than dusk in New York City – and if you can make it down to Staten Island for the day, I highly recommend checking this event out – not only is it in-person to cater to our need for human interaction in real time, but it will also provide you stunning and breathtaking views of the cityscape, that might make it even more difficult to focus on what you came to do in the first place – yoga! Grab a few friends and check out this outdoor event – you’ll learn new stretches (in English), and if you need any help, don’t hesitate to ask for personalized guidance so you can ensure you’re practicing yoga safely but also putting your English-speaking skills to good use.

3. Broadway, ongoing

Even though this doesn’t fit within my theme of outdoor activities this month, I felt compelled to include this in my list because it’s been a tough year for Broadway, thanks to the pandemic. They did what they could to stay alive, but virtual events could really only go so far in terms of massive entertainment. As Broadway begins to slowly and cautiously open its doors again, we should all come together and do what we can to bring Broadway back to the force that it once was. Once tourism picks back up and we reach greater and stronger vaccination levels, we’ll hopefully begin to see Broadway build itself back up again, allowing visitors from all over the world to revel in its majesty. While you’re here and while you can, do what you can to support this business and help it arrive back on its feet. No matter what show you can catch, you’ll put your English listening skills to use, and don’t forget to pick up the Playbill so you can learn all about the production in your own time – using your English reading skills, of course! Let’s bring the city back to life!

Category : Stay in New York

It’s certainly been quite the year for all of us – if you’re anything like me, you’re eager for this late spring and early summer season more than any other year in the past. I’m officially halfway to full vaccination, and this has brought me so much joy and hope for our future. I’m always excited for the month of May in the Big Apple, but this year just feels different – I feel like a little kid all over again! I can’t wait to see my friends, travel, and just feel like life is just generally getting back to normal. May is always an awesome month to be in the city, so if you’re looking forward to life in the city this month like me, I wanted to pull together a few things you can take advantage of.

If you’re trying to keep your English skills sharp, these activities will allow you to keep that practice going and ensure that your reading, speaking, and listening talents are in constant improvement – all while enjoying all the benefits of living in the best city in the world!

1. Central Park

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I know this may feel and seem pretty simple, but after being couped up for what feels like ages, this is the perfect destination to take advantage of the greenery, the fresh air, and the beautiful scenery. We’ll still need to practice mindful distancing and safety as everyone else continues to get vaccinated, but this the ideal place to get caught up on fresh air and time with your friends. Pack snacks, music, and a list of clever games to play that can get you reacquainted with your social circle – to make it fun and interesting with your English skills, try only speaking to each other in English and helping each other out if one of you gets stuck. Not only will you have fun in the coolest park in the world, but you can keep your English skills sharp and fresh.

2. Governors Island

After months of shut-down, this hidden gem is opening back up this month. It’s kind of one of the city’s best kept secrets – a simple (and fun) ferry ride out of Lower Manhattan, you and your friends can sightsee on a gorgeous spring day, get some fresh air, and get a change of scenery. There are a ton of historical sites for your group to check out and plenty of bike paths and walking trails to ensure you’re getting your exercise, too. Be sure to visit all the written guides so you can keep your English reading talents alert, and with plenty of island signs all over the place, you’ll be reading so easily that you won’t even realize it! (Don’t forget your sunscreen and your mask!)

3. Cinco de Mayo, May 5th

So while this is an event and holiday that the whole world celebrates, you can be a part of this regardless of your ethnicity or origin. There are TONS of restaurants all over the city that honor this fun holiday with dinner and drink specials to commemorate this widely celebrated Mexican holiday. You could actually get a win-win out of this holiday, as you’ll likely be able to practice your English with your friends as you’re socializing and catching up with one another, but most of the menus will likely be in Spanish, so you can also even see how skilled you are in this language as well! New York City is still operating at strict percentage laws, so be sure to keep that in mind as you’re looking for places to go, but with all the options in this great city, you and your friends shouldn’t have any issue finding the perfect spot to grab a few tacos and margaritas.

It’s been a difficult year for all of us in New York City – if you stuck it out and stayed here like I did, this spring season probably feels even more sweet for you. It can feel like we’re getting a second chance! If that’s the case, I still strongly urge you to practice safety and thinking as you’re spending more time outdoors and around people again. People are still getting vaccinated, so we’ll need to continue to operate wisely, so keep wearing your mask, bring hand sanitizer, and always think ahead about the plans you make. We’ve made a lot of progress, but we still have some work to do, so don’t let the warm weather take down your guard.

Category : Stay in New York