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James writes:

This week I am delighted to write the "In the Know" column for Who knew? What follows is my cross-borough survey:

Could there be anything better than New York City in the summer? The answer is assuredly, yes. Still, the five boroughs are an eden, and the Big Apple has never tasted sweeter, even when fully baked.

From the top, here are some recommendations. I should add that my three-year-old daughter had a hand in this list.

Let’s begin with Wave Hill in the Bronx. This garden estate overlooking the Palisades is Tuscany on the Hudson. On July 6 and 7, Target is offering “Welcome Home Weekend,” with free admission to mark the reopening of the Wave Hill House. It should be said that Wave Hill is perfect to visit anytime, because here is an institution that has bucked the trend of New York nonprofits and continues to offer tickets priced in the single digits. In addition to the gardens, Wave Hill supports an impressive exhibition program, family art projects every weekend, a charming shop — why would you leave, except to …

… visit Arthur Avenue, the Little Italy of the Bronx. This neighborhood just south of Fordham University is where we get our supply of burratahand-cut linguinicoal-fired Italian bread, and street-shucked clams.

Moving inside, enough good things can’t be said about the Metropolitan Museum’s rebooted European Paintings Galleries, 1250–1800. These rethought, reconfigured, reenergized rooms are an unassuming masterpiece. They look like they were always meant to be, familiar but better than you remembered. The Southern Renaissance now has a beginning. The Northern Renaissance now never ends. And while the tourists are getting punked, you have Vermeer, Bruegel, Velazquez, and Fragonard (daughter’s fav) just about all to yourself.  

Finally, a word about The Rockaways. They are back. While the beach at Fort Tilden remains closed, the west end of Jacob Riis Park, rehabilitated after Sandy, seems to have picked up the slack. The sand is freshly sifted. The plovers are nesting. I understand there is a bus. My daughter proclaims this to be the new “hipsah beece." After the year we've all had, it's a great thing to see.