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After more than a year away from beaches, bar crawls and movies under the stars, vaccinated New Yorkers are ready to re-enter the world. To help readers maximize their summer fun — and stay on top of evolving public health guidance — The New York Times is reviving its weekly Summer in the City newsletter. Created in 2018 by Elisabeth Goodridge, now the deputy editor for Travel, and Jessica Anderson, deputy editorial director for newsletters, as a curated guide to summer fun for New Yorkers, the newsletter went on hiatus last year. But the new edition is now published every Wednesday, with event ideas through Labor Day.
In a recent conversation, Lauren Reddy, The Times’s audience director for editorial special projects who oversees the newsletter, shared what’s new about this summer’s edition — and the first item on her own summer to-do list.
What should subscribers expect from the newsletter?
After a difficult year, I hope the newsletter helps readers get out and fall back in love with New York City. We’ll start each week with activity suggestions around one theme that we’re excited about for that week. But we’ll also include a longer list of varied ideas and relevant Times reviews to help every single reader find inspiration. Many readers, myself among them, loved the free and low-cost ideas, so we’ll be keeping those each week.
How are you navigating the fact that not everyone is vaccinated or comfortable venturing back into crowded spaces?
We want to be mindful of readers’ differing comfort levels as they venture back into the world after a strange year. We’ll be providing suggestions for both indoor and outdoor venues, with and without crowds.
Is the newsletter geared toward native New Yorkers, or people new to the city?
We aim to be helpful for anyone who wants to plan a fun summer day out in New York City, whether they’re veteran New Yorkers or visiting us for the very first time.
Will you be more focused on spotlighting favorite places or seeking out new things?
Of course, there are some beloved spots we’ll be reminding readers to revisit, especially as those venues adapt and evolve this summer. We’ll also be introducing readers to newly opened places and events they may not have discovered otherwise.
Many things-to-do newsletters come out on Fridays. Why did you choose Wednesday?
I love to have my weekends mapped out in advance, and many subscribers from past summers have told us they are planners as well. The spontaneous folks out there are welcome to open up the email for inspiration when they wake up Saturday morning, or find the info on our site at any time.
What’s different about this year’s newsletter?
Our readers are diverse in their preferences and told us they wanted to find at least one idea that worked for them in each newsletter. So, in addition to our primary theme for each week, we’re including event suggestions across many neighborhoods and for many occasions — whether you’re headed out with your kids, with friends, with a hot date, or for a special evening by yourself. And, we have two wonderful new writers!
Both from the Metro desk, right?
Yes. We sought out writers who have their fingers on the pulse of the city, because it’s changing so rapidly. And writers who would continue to make the newsletter fun to read. Michael Gold and Julia Carmel were the names that kept coming up. Michael is a reporter who’s been covering the city’s reopening and the mayor’s race for Metro, and Julia is a news assistant who writes about culture and nightlife, topics I anticipate readers are hungry to hear about. And I loved this piece Julia wrote on how the pandemic has affected lesbian bars in the city.
Do they take suggestions?
Yes! Our inbox was flooded with enthusiasm and suggestions when we launched, which reinforces our hunch that readers would be more eager than ever for this information. Please, if you have feedback or ideas for what we should include, email email@example.com.
What’s first on your own summer to-do list?
I always look forward to free outdoor movies and concerts in city parks. I also really enjoy outdoor dining — I prefer it versus indoor, honestly. Why not enjoy the fresh air and people-watch after a year inside?
To be the first to know about the best things to do in New York City this summer, sign up for the Summer in the City newsletter at nytimes.com/newsletters/signup/SUM.