It seems like not too long ago (because really, it wasn't) that we talked about the very best courtship rituals Brooklyn has to offer in the spring. Well, global warming is real, seasons are short, New York Times columnists are already complaining about the heat. Summer is essentially here!
And with it come totally different date options and requirements, most of which, admittedly, involve doing whatever you can to mitigate the heat. But also, legitimately fun, atmospheric things that you can't really do any other time of the year, whether you're looking for love or just, uh, trying to maintain. So with that in mind, I think it's safe to assume that 2013 is gonna be the most romantic summer of our lives. Yes?
Maybe not a good idea if this is your very first date—baseball games are an intense time commitment, and you probably don't want to spend like 6 hours or however long with some OKCupid stranger—but if you're already to the point where you enjoy sitting, snacking, and drinking beer with someone, there aren't a lot of better places to do it in the summer than at a Cyclones game. The games, which start up in mid-June, are way cheaper than you'd ever find for anything major league, making the whole thing sort of a nice, low-key alternative. But also, not that low-key: Cyclones games are nothing if not reliable for a crazy assortment of theme nights, giveaways, and firework displays (this year's schedule includes "Jimmy Buffett" and "Girl Power" shows). And nothing says "summer romance" like tchotchkes and fireworks.
Another thing to maybe save for someone you're sure you like (and with whom you can do collaborative activities without getting into a fight), but notable for being maybe the least sweaty of your options. Even when it's murderous out, things are always at least a little bit cooler on the water. Both the Sebagoe Canoe Club (which takes trips around Jamaica Bay) and the North Brooklyn Boat Club (near Newtown Creek in Greenpoint) have cheap or free trips available to non-members, so even the least experienced seamen out there can partake. Just maybe don't make any "seamen" jokes on your actual date.
So, this one's sort of designed as a nice middle ground between the serious "activity date" and "eating and relaxing date" types of people. And also a way to avoid having to choose between the dozens of places to eat a superlative taco in Bushwick. Probably best to start on the outer edges at Mr. Taco Don Cafe or Taqueria El Paisa (and at the many trucks you'll find along Broadway), then move towards L train territory (Tortilleria Los Hermanos near the Jefferson stop, or Taqueria El Fogon closer to Morgan) so you can then transition into grabbing drinks and basking in the air conditioning at whichever bar you happen to walk into first.
Mr. Taco Don Cafe, 935 Broadway; Taqueria El Paisa, 298 Irving Ave; Tortilleria Mexicano Los Hermanos, 271 Starr St.; Taqueria El Fogon, 1050 Flushing Ave
I have never in my life heard a single date concept better than "watching Belle and Sebastian and Yo La Tengo live on a summer night in the park." Just go. Even if you don't actually have a date.
A classic, obviously. Mini golf has always been, and always will be, the perfect date-y balance of friendly competition without strenuous physical exertion. It is one of the only games I actively like, and also, an easy thing to talk about if your conversation hits a weird lull. So! You can go hardcore and make a day trip to the Brooklyn Golf Center, or you can roll it into another a trip to Brooklyn Crab or Bushwick Country Club, both of which have courses, and also drinks.
Summer bike routes have been dealt sort of a serious blow this year with the continued closure and repairs on Fort Tilden, but for more committed riders—it's a long ride, so maybe skip this if it'll be your first bike trip around Brooklyn—the route to Jacob Riis Park and the Rockaways is still a beautiful one. It also still comes with the promise of sustenance (and, I suppose, the ocean) at the end, making it pretty perfect a day trip for those couples that are always biking everywhere together. Best to plan your route in advance (Ride the City gives foolproof directions), and make peace with the knowledge that you'll likely come out of this a little more red-faced and sweaty than usual, and that it will be well worth it.
A trip to the Brooklyn Museum is never the wrong thing to do, whether you're on a date or not. We'd argue, though, that it's an especially good idea this summer. Why? Well, air conditioning is a significant factor (as is proximity to the Botanic Gardens), but there's also "Gravity and Grace," El Anatsui's show of intricate, large-scale installations and sculptures, which are both breathtaking and completely accessible. The museum is also continuing their show of John Singer Sargent watercolors through the end of July, which, romantic! And, if we're being cynical, not a bad way to weed out the kind of people who'll use this as an opportunity to lecture you about Art. Those are not people you want to be dating.
There are a few ways to do this, and all of them are good. There's "destination" eating (and full-on meals) at Red Hook Lobster Pound, which does both lobster rolls and a more intense lobster dinner, and Randazzo's, a Sheepshead Bay classic that's been drawing people to the neighborhood with their seafood (much of which can and should be ordered fried) since 1960. If you feel like staying in north Brooklyn (or just don't want to be seen in public trying to use the lobster cracker thing), there's always the totally legitimate compromise of going to a bar that does oyster happy hour—Maison Premiere, Mazelle, and the Narrows are reliable, mood-lit options. And anyway, after all this time in the glaring sun, you can afford to sit in a dim room with a cocktail for a while.
Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.