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Hello Readers!

A hot summer day in the city? An excellent idea would be going to the coasts of Long Island. But what if you don’t have a beach house in the Hamptons or cannot afford a 2-night stay in a bungalow? I would say it concerns the majority of New Yorkers, including myself. Well, there are still amazing things New York City has to offer during a heat wave. I will share my top three summer activities this summer.

Photo 1: Sheep Meadow, Central Park

Central Park. The best park in the world. I went to this great park on many different occasions, but the most memorable was on August 24, Ukrainian Independence Day.

Photo 2: Ukrainian flag in Central Park from a chopper/ photo by a tourist

Together with the NYC Ukrainian community and New Yorkers, we unfolded the biggest Ukrainian flag in the world. Ukrainians first presented the flag back in 2012 in Kyiv. Since then, the flag unfurling has happened in many cities in Ukraine, Poland, and recently in New York City. The event was organized by Razom for Ukraine, a non-profit organization who are collecting donations for humanitarian aid in Ukraine.

Photos 3 & 4: Supporting Ukrainian flag, Central Park

A stone’s throw from Central Park, there is Lincoln Center. Lincoln Center is the most recognizable center for performing arts in the US. It’s a house for Metropolitan Opera, NYC Ballet, Jazz, Film, Theater, and more. Right next to the building complex, you can find Julliard – one of the world’s most prestigious ballet schools.

My second favorite activity this summer was going to an outdoor classical music concert by Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra.

Photo 5: Program of Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra, Damrosch Park at Lincoln Center

Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra was created by the Metropolitan Opera and the Polish National Opera. They have gathered Ukrainian musicians and formed an orchestra in solidarity with the victims of the Russian aggression in Ukraine. The Freedom Orchestra was on tour in Europe and North America. The leader of the group is Canadian-Ukrainian conductor Keri-Lynn Wilson.

Photo 6: Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra, Damrosch Park at Lincoln Center, August 18, 2022

Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra’s program included four compositions:
1. Ukrainian composer Valentin Silvestrov’s Seventh Symphony
2. Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2, with Ukrainian virtuoso Anna Fedorova
3. “Abscheulicher!” from Beethoven’s Fidelio performed by Leading Ukrainian soprano Liudmyla Monastyrska
4. Johannes Brahms Symphony no. 4

In the end, the orchestra played the Ukrainian National Anthem. The audience stood to honor the musicians and show support for the Ukrainian Nation. It was a deeply touching moment, sad but uplifting. The Ukrainian National Anthem is an adaptation of a poem, ‘Shche ne vmerla Ukraina’ en. ‘Ukraine Has Not Yet Perished’ (1862) by Ukrainian poet Pavlo Chubynsky.

01 farmers marketPhoto 7: Sunflowers at Farmer’s market, Union Square

The number 3 best activity is visiting a local farmer’s market in search of fresh fruits and vegetables. The market that is close to my office and I visit the most is the Union Square Greenmarket. Farmers from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and perhaps Pennsylvania sell their goods three times a week. You can find fruits, vegetables, honey, cheese, meat, and also herbs, home plants, and flowers at the market. Everything is organic and delicious, and prices are affordable. I still remember the flavor of sweet cherries from the market, which I bought in June.

Photos 8 & 9: Fruits and vegetables at Farmer’s market, Union Square

I’m always exploring new areas of the market, but I also have my favorite vendors. One of them is Andrew’s Honey with their organic honey. Most of the honey comes from upstate New York. However, there is a part that comes from Midtown Manhattan! Yes, a rooftop can also be a home for bees. Andrew has appropriate conditions to keep bee hives in the city and organizes tours for people to see his vertical farm.

Photo 10: Andrew’s Honey supporting Ukraine, Farmer’s market, Union Square

It was not an easy summer for me. But, thanks to New York City, its support, and so many wonderful activities, it was a bearable time.

Thank you for reading, and I hope you will also find things that give you joy in hard times!


To support Ukrainians with Razom for Ukraine, click here: https://www.razomforukraine.org/donate/

Olga Kosterska


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