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.
Though this happened last weekend, I never found out if they made it all the way to Croton. I wish I 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 Web site 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.
  • 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.
  • Don’t just appreciate the outdoors. Get involved with the Catskill Mountain Eco-Heritage Festival, which goes on Friday through Sunday. The weekend promises music, square-dancing, interpretive walks, garden demonstrations, and a “primitive skills” workshop. It’s up to you to start a chorus of  “Kumbaya.”
  • Finally, outdoors + movies = best of both worlds. Y’all know how much I love the drive-in.  If I were you, I’d double-check the lineup at the Overlook Drive-In in Poughkeepsie, which is currently running a comedic double-feature of Tropic Thunder and The Pineapple Express.
After that, Fringe premieres, and you’re all on your own.


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