Sound Advice by Ruth D. Bernstein

I always look forward to summer in New York because there are so many outdoor activities to enjoy. After being confined to quarters a lot this winter, being outside will be a treat. Here are some of my favorite activities. They are free, relaxing and, in most cases, quiet, using vision as much as hearing.

Enjoy these hearing accessible activities

The New York Philharmonic Central Park Concert series begins with performances on June 17th and 18th. Although I have a profound hearing loss and there are no assistive devices, for some unexplained reason, I can hear the music. I hope to make the concerts hearing accessible next year.

Thanks to TDF/TAP, the accessibility program at the Theater Development Fund, there is one captioned performance of each production of Shakespeare in the Park. Contact TDF to get your name on the waiting list for tickets for this year’s captioned outdoor shows.

Hearing accessible activities include Central Park volunteeringAs a volunteer gardener in Central Park, I pull weeds, clip bushes and rake leaves, my answer to going to the gym. I’m also on the Central Park Conservancy mailing list, which details Park activities which you can also view on their event calendar.

There is an unusual art exhibition at the northern end of the park, Drifting in Daylight, which is definitely worth visiting. You will be intrigued by the creativity of the artists.

Don’t miss the Conservatory Gardens, off Fifth Avenue between 103rd Street and 105th Street. These formal gardens with an impressive fountain in the center, are one of the park’s designated quiet areas. It’s a gem!

Captioned movies outdoors

Hearing accessible activities include captioned movies in Bryant Park

Real-time captioning makes movies in Bryant Park one of my favorite hearing accessible activities.

One of my favorite hearing accessible activities is outdoor movies. Bryant Park is hosting a movie festival, beginning with Ghost Busters on Monday, June 22, 2015. These movies are free, begin at sunset and are presented with CART by Lauren Schechter of Total Caption. Chairs (no sitting on the grass), for those using this service, are in an enclosed section on the far right about mid way back on the 42nd Street side. Ask the guards where to go. A good turnout is needed to ensure captioning continues. I look forward to seeing you there.

In August, the Central Park Conservancy will be celebrating their 35th anniversary with a one week, closed captioned movie festival from August 25th-29th.

Hearing accessible activities in NYC include the High LineFor those of you who have not already done so, walk the High Line, see the art, people watch and enjoy the beautiful views of the city. Although there are lots of shady areas, take a hat and water. It gets hot on the open walkways. I recommend going around 7 PM when there is usually a nice breeze. On weekends and summer evenings, you can buy food at various places on the walkway. There are also lots of other places to eat in the area.

Lincoln Center Out of Doors provides a cornucopia of outdoor events, most of them free. There is dancing for everyone, movies, opera on an outdoor screen, shows for kids and grownups and unlimited fun. Check the calendar for events from July 22nd through August 9th.

SI ferry holds a special significance

The Staten Island Ferry is a cooling, free ride and a very special experience for me. My mother, sister and I arrived in New York as refugees from WW II in May, 1940. We were traveling from London on my mother’s Belgium passport. My father could not join us for three years because he was born in Germany and the British classified him as an enemy alien. In celebration of July 4th and the freedom America gave me and my whole family, I ride the ferry every year at the beginning of July so I can pay my respects to Miss Liberty, the first sight I saw as a 7-year-old arriving in New York Harbor. I usually go at sunset. That way I see the panorama of the harbor in all its glory. The return trip completes the evening with the special sight of Miss Liberty lit up and the sparkling night view of the city’s skyline.

Share your favorite NYC activities with me »

Have a delightful summer outdoors in New York!