SUMMER 2022

Hot Town, Summer in the City

The unexpected joys of staying put

Julio Vincent Gambuto
5 min readJul 30, 2022

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Photo credit: Time Out New York

As the heat of summer hit this year, as inflation wreaked havoc on our day-to-day cashflow, as the nation seemed trapped in a nasty political spiral, and I seemed locked to my laptop writing my first book, my boyfriend and I decided it was not the summer to “get back to life” as we knew it. In fact, we have never actually known summer life together in New York, having met and fallen in love behind the suffocating masks of the pandemic. This summer would be something new to us, because, well, our whole life together is new to us.

While I expected that we would spend the summer discovering beach towns and burbs out of the city, seeing friends and family who fled New York for the swimming pools and finer sands of Long Island, New Jersey, and New England, we made a very intentional choice in early June to simply stay put. We wanted no planes, no Ubers, no rental cars, and no hassle. The last two years — the first two — of our life together have been plagued with the hassle and endless logistics that come with an international relationship, one birthed during a series of worldwide crises. This summer, we wanted to get to know us, and we wanted to get to know our city. New York has been to hell and back since 2020 — as have we — so why not simply spend the summer here at home, recovering?

As a born-and-bred New Yorker, the prospect of summer in the city has always been a bit laughable. It’s hot. It’s sticky. There is little relief. As a kid, Manhattan was not a place to spend the summer. We didn’t come from money, so my family never “summered” (verb) anywhere extravagant. Most summers, my parents would put us in the Pontiac and drive to Florida for a week or two. As I started working in the city as a young professional, June, July, and August were spent running for air-conditioning, checking train schedules, and waiting for the “summer Fridays” clock to strike noon at the office. Needless to say, my expectations were pretty low for this grand plan of ours to “stay put.”

The West Side Highway ages ago | PC: Reddit

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Julio Vincent Gambuto

Author + Moviemaker // Happiness in a fucked-up modern world // New book from Avid Reader Press (Simon & Schuster) // Audie Finalist // SXSW // juliovincent.com