An Insider’s Guide to Your Best Summer Yet: New York Edition

From browsing the Hamptons’ hottest boutiques to spending a day on the Brooklyn waterfront, Compass agents share how best to spend the season on their home turf.

Editor: Hannah McWilliams
Illustrations: Ping Zhu

Double your fun on the East End

“The calm shores of inland harbor towns make for great paddle boarding; the open water along the Atlantic is ideal for surfing. For the best of both worlds, take advantage of Westhampton Dunes’ peninsular location — with both oceanfront and bayside beaches, you can switch off between the two throughout the day.” — Compass Hamptons agent Maria Cunneen

Discover the Hamptons’ best shopping

Whether you’re pursuing the perfect souvenir or simply desire a whoosh of A/C, the area’s boutique scene doesn’t disappoint. Hamptons agent Ginger Thoerner offers her recommendations.

For beauty…
Don’t be misled by its name; White’s Pharmacy stocks La Mer and Diptyque and employs aestheticians for on-the-spot consultations in its East Hampton and Southampton locations.

For fashion…
Influenced by Finnish roots, former stylist Tiina Laakkonen opened her Amagansett store, Tiina, in 2012. Expect a curated mix of known brands (Comme des Garçons, Marimekko) as well as burgeoning labels (Toogood, Wendy Nichol).

For home…
Featuring the likes of Georg Jensen silver and Hermès serving pieces, Turpan is East Hampton’s go-to for sophisticated housewares. In need of a host gift? Make this your first stop.

For books…
Browse BookHampton in East Hampton for staff-endorsed beach reads — current picks include the darkly funny Undermajordomo Minor and poignant drama The Expatriates — but also stop by for book-binding workshops and author panels.

People-watch in the West Village

“The West Village is home to some of Manhattan’s most elegant architecture — and stylish inhabitants. Following in the footsteps of Julianne Moore, Nate Berkus, Emma Stone, and countless others, snag a seat by the full-length windows of Café Cluny at the corner of West 12th and West 4th and watch as the city begins its day. Sip an americano, order a decadent ham-and-gruyère croissant, or elect for the lighter yuzu-spiked avocado-and-poached-egg toast as the morning commute commences around you.” — Compass NYC agents Stephen Ferrara and Clayton Orrigo

Experience Manhattan’s quieter side

SoHo’s crowded sidewalks can feel claustrophobic, but just east of Broadway exists a quieter corner of the neighborhood that has managed to fly under the radar of almost all but those who live there. Compass agent Nick Gavin shares how best to take advantage.

Local café The Smile is a New York classic — and its Bond Street location has the long lines to prove it. What people don’t know is that there’s a second outpost, Smile to Go, on Howard and Crosby, where you can order the same legendary house-made granola and jalapeño cheddar biscuits without the wait.

Rather than fight the lines at Lombardi’s, head for new arrival Scarr’s Pizza on Orchard. Helmed by veterans of the Manhattan pizza scene (Joe’s, L’asso, and Lombardi’s), the retro-inspired spot serves up New York-style pies.

Dodge the throngs at Bloomingdale’s and Crate and Barrel, instead taking refuge in the many cool boutiques along Centre Street and its nearby offshoots. Think both apparel (Reformation, Outdoor Voices, Creatures of Comfort) and housewares (BDDW for design-forward furniture and Clic Gallery, which sells art books, contemporary furnishings, and photographs).

Enjoy the region’s cultural outlets

The East End has long attracted artists and musicians to its shores,” asserts agent Washington Duke. Here’s where to go — and when.

East Hampton’s 16-acre botanical garden LongHouse Reserve features outdoor installations by Willem de Kooning and Dale Chihuly. “Their annual gala on July 22 represents one of the summer’s most magical events. This year’s will honor Guggenheim curator Alexandra Munroe and contemporary painter Cai Guo-Qiang.”

Amagansett’s Innersleeve Records sells vinyl, instruments, and amps. “As a music enthusiast, it’s nice to have an excellent selection in my hometown.” On weekends, they feature in-store performances by local artists. Check the store’s Facebook page for scheduled events.

Looking to invest in artwork of your own? “Southampton’s Tripoli Gallery and East Hampton’s Halsey McKay feature both established and rising talent in the art world.” The Tripoli hosts a public reception for the artist on the first day of each exhibition; peruse their website for dates throughout the summer.

Spend Saturday at Brooklyn Bridge Park

Longtime Brooklynite and Compass agent Lindsay Barrett describes all the trappings of an idyllic day along the borough’s best-known waterfront.

Kids and adults alike will love local artist Tom Fruin’s stained-glass watertower, perched atop the park’s Pier 5 headquarters. Made from salvaged acrylic and illuminated by solar power, it pays homage to one of New York’s most familiar sights.

Skip the lines at Fornino’s Williamsburg and Greenpoint locations, and snag a spicy Calabrese or veggie-laden Ortolana pie at their Pier 6 off shoot. Follow it up with a scoop (or two) of Ample Hills’ famously addictive “Sweet as Honey” ice cream.

Escape into the the Max Family Garden at St. Ann’s Warehouse theater, where the original brick exterior and Manhattan Bridge views lend an urban aesthetic. It’s open to the public during park hours; snag a performance calendar while you’re there.