Assuage your guilt by getting a little artsy with your hooky time. Tell yourself that your boss will be getting a more well-rounded employee as a result (just don’t tell your boss).
First, catch the 9:30 a.m. ferry from South Street Seaport to the military ghost town that is Governors Island: The National Park Service is offering free 90-minute tours Tuesdays through Fridays this summer (govisland.com). When you get back downtown, check out River to River—the city’s largest free arts festival, at venues from Battery Park to City Hall—for lunchtime concerts, talks, and screenings on almost every topic you can imagine (rivertorivernyc.org).
Now you’re ready for some history. Discover Alexander Hamilton’s grave, the founding site of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, or “Murderer’s Alley” on an afternoon walking tour led by Big Onion (bigonion.com). After that, you’ll be sweating a little. So cool off with a subway ride to Queens: Hop on the N, switch to the 7, and visit MoMA’s temporary home in Long Island City (33rd Street at Queens Boulevard; moma.org) before it closes this September and moves back to midtown. It’s fun to see MoMA’s masterpieces in a loftlike setting, and the tight installation of the collection means you can take it all in much faster.
Already been to MoMA? Then stop by the newly renovated and reopened Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum for some serene sculpture (both indoors and out) and a quick bite at the café (open Wednesday to Sunday with free tours at 2 p.m. daily; noguchi.org). If it’s a Friday or Saturday, head back to Manhattan for cultural cocktails with a glorious view of Central Park at the Met’s rooftop café (open 5 to 8 p.m.; 212-535-7710). If not, walk just two blocks to the Socrates Sculpture Park (socratessculpturepark.org) for a few more acres of alfresco art, and catch the “On the Waterfront” film series, playing almost every Wednesday this summer on, well, the waterfront.