- When Martin Amis reads in Brooklyn, he does so out loud to crowds of people
The best part of summer is being outside. In the winter, you show up early to meet a friend or see a show and what can you do? Pretend you need something from CVS? Stand there and freeze? In the summer, though, you can just sit down on the nearest bench. In summer, you can just go outside and walk somewhere that's also outside. You can spend the whole day in the sun and then spend the whole night still outside. But, ok, being outside usually isn't an activity in and of itself. How to fill those fresh-aired hours? Why not read a book, ya mook? Here are the best places to do it.
Books on the beach... I mean, there's an entire industry that cranks out "beach reads." Personally, I don't understand the desire to read lighter fare just because it's hot out, but I still use the summer as an excuse to indulge in genre paperbacks. Brooklyn has a long strip of beaches on its Atlantic-abutting south end, but they get less populated the farther east you go, making Manhattan the ideal local spot to read with the least amount of typical beach distractions.
On your way biking down to Manhattan Beach on America's first bike lane when suddenly you're like, ugh, I'm so tired and sweaty? Just get off the bike lane and walk over to the pedestrian path, where there are benches galore that are often underused. (I mean, there are just so many...) All the reading and most of the sunlight you'd get at the beach without all of that sand in your shoes.
Bay Ridge Bike Path
Speaking of bike paths, the one along the waterfront in Bay Ridge is also full of benches where you can stop to finish a few chapters. As long as you don't look left toward the Verrazano Bridge, all you have to look at is Staten Island, so there's not much to be distracted by. But really, how could you stop looking at that goddamn gorgeous, marvelous bridge?
Fulton Ferry Landing
Don't have a bike? Hate CitiBank? Not into biking? Well, you could still do the Bay Ridge thing on foot, but if you're more the ferrying type, plop down on a bench near the ferryport here on the DUMBO/Brooklyn Heights border. You've seen the Manhattan skyline so many times it shouldn't distract you. I'd recommend reading on the ferry itself, except checking out the views of Brooklyn from out at sea is my favorite part of riding the ferry. (That and the convenience and speed!)
The Steps of the Grand Army Plaza Library
Reading inside libraries is for homeless people. But it makes sense that a place so full of books would attract you to it. Borrow a book and take it outside, where you can enjoy the fresh air without all of the ultimate frisbeeing in nearby Prospect Park. (If anything's not conducive to reading, it's ultimate frisbee.)
Prison Ship Martyrs Monument
Speaking of steps, the first time we ever visited this tower in Fort Greene Park we thought we were going to fall off the edge of the world. Turns out, as you approach that perilous drop off, it's just a staircase. Sit at the top and crack a spine. We've done it; it's nice. Need a book? Stop at Greenlight beforehand—it's my favorite bookstore in Brooklyn!
The Botanic Garden's Cherry Esplanade
If ever a place in Brooklyn invited you to sprawl out, it's here in the cherry-tree allées. Fresh fragrant air, soft grass, and the beautiful rows of spring-blossoming woodthings form the perfect backdrop for a little mental adventure.
This Crown Heights spot probably has more lit cred than any other bar in the borough for its reading series. That alone makes it the sort of place you might want to come to read (because we loooove reading in bars), but it also has a sizable outdoor space where it's not always as loud as it can get inside. Obviously Saturday at 11pm isn't the best time to try to pay attention to a book, but most other times you should be good.
Red Hook Pool
It takes a certain sort of person to read a book poolside; I'm pretty sure you have to be on Mad Men
. (And one of the really good-looking ones! I'm not talking about Harry or somebody.) If you think you could get away with it, why not set yourself up here in Red Hook? Because, really, how long can an adult just swim?
Newtown Creek Nature Walk
This quarter-mile walk along the polluted waterway isn't exactly like a stroll along the Lullwater in Prospect Park, but it's charming blend of industry and nature, which, uh, is like a metaphor for humanity and art, so what better place to enjoy literature, eh?
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